Is it safe to wear wrist and/or ankle weights while walking, running or performing other daily activities?
SparkPeople's fitness experts advise against wearing wrist and ankle weights while doing cardio exercise and other general daily activities. Even though they are lightweight (usually two pounds or less), the risk of injuring yourself by wearing them far exceeds any potential added benefit (muscle strengthening or calorie burning) that you might achieve by wearing them. Wrist and ankle weights can alter your normal movement patterns and gait, increasing the risk of injury. If burning more calories is your concern, try to step up the intensity of your workout by moving faster, longer or on an incline. If you must add weight to your workout, a weighted vest is a better idea because it helps distribute that added weight more evenly and allows you to move more freely and normally than you can with weights attached to your extremities.
However, wrist and ankle weights are far from useless. While we don't recommend wearing them during cardio or walking, you can strap on those ankle weights to perform strength-training exercises such as leg raises, calf raises, or other leg exercises. You can also wear wrist weights and do bicep curls, shoulder raises, or triceps extensions, for example. Just make sure you're exercising in good form and in a slow, controlled manner. These options are especially useful for people who have trouble gripping weights or using their hands.
Written by Nicole Nichols, Certified Fitness Instructor
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