In this post, you will learn about ankle weights. How to use use them and what considerations you need to make to pick the best ankle weights for seniors.
I write a lot about the importance of strength training for seniors on this website, especially for the legs. The truth is that most seniors and in fact most people these days have less than ideal leg strength.
Leg strength is very important for independent movement, balance, mobility of the legs, overall health and to just about any everyday movement.
If you have weak and frail legs, your life becomes a lot more restricted and difficult. Something most people don’t think about until it has already happened.
The most effective way to fight against old age frailty is strength training. Performing a simple exercise routine a few times a week is all it takes to keep your legs strong and mobile.
While bodyweight training and going to the gym are effective forms of strength training, there are a lot of other ways to do resistance training.
One of the ways is to do strength training exercises with ankle weights, that add enough resistance the help you improve your strength.
Let’s look at what ankle weights are and what they are good for.
What Are Ankle Weights
Ankle weights are small weights that go around the ankle, just like the weight suggests. They typically have either a velcro tightening strap or they just have an elastic band construction that slips around your ankle.
They are usually some form of durable synthetic cloth pouch filled with sand or other heavy substance. The weight is usually evenly distributed, so there is no bulky and pointy metal weight on one side of the ankle.
Ankle weights aren’t very heavy. They range from about 0.5lbs to 8lbs. But this doesn’t mean they don’t offer significant resistance.
Without going too much into the mechanics of lever arms, the farther a weight is from the point of support (your joint) the higher the force (momentum) it produces at the joint.
This means that if your leg is lifted straight in front of you – you will naturally have to support the whole weight of your leg – and we add a 1lbs weight on your knee the force to hold up your leg will be significantly smaller than if we add the 1lbs at your ankle, farther away from your hip joint.
This is why both ankle and wrist weights are so effective even though they are seemingly very light. They add significant moment of force to the movement of your limbs.
This will make regular exercises like walking more strenuous and force your muscles to work harder.
Ankle weights can also be used for physiotherapy to strengthen a recovering limb for example, but this should always be done under the supervision of a professional of course.
How To Use Ankle Weights
Ankle weights can be used to perform strength training movements that affect large muscles of the legs.
Movements that involve the knee joint will target the quadriceps and the hamstrings. These movements are leg extensions and leg curls.
The ankle weights can also be used to improve hip strength with movements like donkey kicks, side-lying leg raises, and forwards leg raises.
Ankle weight can also be used while walking to add resistance and this is actually one of the most common ways to use them.
They add significant resistance to your leg muscles when doing this because moving even little weight at the very tip of your legs is very energy-consuming.
When you get used to walking around with leg weights, taking them off will feel like you’ve taken off the brake!
This is also one of the dangers of ankle weights for seniors. You need to listen to your body and if you for example start to experience any form of discomfort or pain in your joints while walking with the weights you should call it a day and take the weights off.
This is one great thing about ankle weights, even though they are heavy when they are at your ankles they don’t weigh much when you take them off and put them in your pocket and walk back home.
What To Look For In Ankle Weights
So how do you choose the right kind of ankle weights for seniors? Well, there are a couple of things I recommend you look for.
First are the material and the securing mechanism. I recommend you choose weights that are made out of soft fabric with an adjustable fastening mechanism.
This way you can avoid any discomfort or abrasion from the weights and more importantly too tight ankle weights can affect the circulation of your feet.
This is usually not an issue if you wear the weights above your socks and trousers.
The second is the weight. While it might be tempting to get a heavier weight right away, wight ankle weights it’s wise to start as light as possible.
It depends on your own body weight and strength levels which will be the perfect starting point for you. It’s important to realize that even small ankle weights can add significant resistance to a regular walk, so it’s better to start off light.
This is true especially if you use the ankle weights while walking more than for strength training. It’s easy to underestimate the effect of the weight while going for a walk with them on.
With any form of strength training, progression is important. Once you get used to a weight, you increase slightly until you get used to it again. This is how strength adaptations happen.
That’s why the perfect option a set of adjustable ankle weights. You can start light and add resistance over time to build up your strength.
My Recommendation For The Best Ankle Weights
My recommendation for ankle weights is the Sportneer Adjustable Ankle weights. I will add an affiliate link below, if you buy through it, I will earn a short commission that helps me run this site. It doesn’t cost you any extra of course.
They are comfortable and adjustable ankle weights with top ratings. The weights can be adjusted from 1lbs to 5lbs per side so it’s easy to increase the weight over time.
They have a one-size-fits-all adjustable velcro fastening system and they are made out of durable and comfortable neoprene that’s easy to keep clean.
They have a rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 at Amazon with over 2000 ratings. They are also the most affordable set of ankle weights with adjustable weights available as of writing this.
Always remember to check the size information, especially if you are not of average build.
I hope you found this guide about ankle weights for seniors useful. If you have any questions, you can leave them in the comments section below and I’ll get back to you.
Ankle weights are a great and affordable way to strengthen your legs as long as they are not your only way of strength training.
They can help you build strength and stamina in your leg muscles while walking or by performing strength training exercises.
You should still include some functional strength exercises, like the squat for your legs since ankle weights aren’t optimal for improving mobility and full leg strength.
That said, ankle weights are a simple and affordable way to improve leg strength while doing your daily activities or walking.
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Thanks for reading and see you next time!
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