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If I wore them when I'm not exercising, like if I wore them at work (I work in an office), or at home, all day, would it be like a passive form of exercise?

To estimate how much I walk: I guess I walk to the bus stop, probably about 100-200 metres. Get off bus, maybe 100 metres. Then I sit around all day. But maybe go and talk to somebody two or three times - average distance maybe 5-10 metres (?). Go to kitchen or toilet maybe three times (i drink a lot of water), so that's probably about 50 metres away? Maybe I'll take the stairs too, that's 5 floors up and down. Probably its barely half a km in total.

Would wearing ankle weights help me get fitter or will it not be enough to make any sort of difference?

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Too bad I can't really test it as I sit down all day and don't have any ankle weights. But could you provide an estimate of how many steps you take each day? –  Ivo Flipse May 29 '11 at 9:12
    
@Ivo : I added some details –  stickman May 29 '11 at 13:57
    
well other people's opinion is, wearing ankle weights, it prevents you from growing taller...you will grow hops(you can jump higher)... –  user3043 Feb 29 '12 at 5:19
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5 Answers 5

up vote 9 down vote accepted

About.com has a nice article about ankle/walking weights. They estimated the following:

Adding weight will allow you to burn more calories per mile, but only about 5-8 calories more per mile for every 10 pounds added. Compare that to walking a quarter of a mile - a 100 pound person burns 15 calories in a quarter mile at an easy pace, while a 200 pound person burns 30 calories. That takes only 5 more minutes and you aren't increasing your risk of injury.

This is similar to the question about walking up stairs, where I calculated that the additional calories are simply not worth it. This isn't an excuse to stop taking the stairs, instead you need to realize that walking only a 1000 steps per day simply isn't enough exercise.

Increasing the workload with even 20% would still only be the equivalent of 1200 steps, while you probably should be targeting 10.000 steps. As you can see you're almost an order of magnitude behind on the amount of exercise you should be getting and just adding the weights isn't going to cut it.

So my advice would be to not use weights, but find more 'excuses' to walk more during the day.

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My sensei used to work out with ankle weights and wrist weights when he was younger. This was against his sensei's advice. He would keep doing it until they wore out (and shot the metal bars out the bottom when he was kicking a target), and then replace the weights.

The bottom line is that the body is not meant to deal with those additional stress of that weight at the extremities. He ended up having to get both hips replaced later in life due to the unnatural stresses the ankle/wrist weights put on his body.

If you do add weight, use something like a weighted vest. It provides a more natural balance of weight and doesn't interfere with the normal motion of your legs and arms. Additionally, you can add more weight when it is close to your body than you can at your ankles and wrists, providing a better advantage.

That said, I agree with Ivo's advice: find more excuses to walk more during the day.

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+1 - It's totally unnatural to carry weight on one's extremities for any sustained period of time. Ankle weights ruin one's stride and otherwise create a horrible imbalance on natural movement. –  wdypdx22 May 31 '11 at 18:32
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Yes. A negative one. You will destroy your knees and hips if you wear ankle weights all day long. Your body was not made to handle excess weight at your extremities for that length of time.

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That's a rather bold claim, if the weights are small there's no more risk than when wearing heavy duty army boots. Besides, this would imply our body also isn't made to carry excess fat at our extremities... –  Ivo Flipse Feb 29 '12 at 15:34
    
Yea I'll agree that the amount of weight makes a difference. But also fat is a different story. It is "natural" weight in the sense that it is internal, has a different distribution and more support than and external weight would have. And coincidentally, people store most of their excess fat near the core, not extremities. So our bodies are really not made to store fat at the extremities. –  moesef Feb 29 '12 at 21:48
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Some of the replies claim that the difference in calories is negligible because you are only adding 10 lbs of weight, but it is important to remember that ankle weights are not passively carried near your center of gravity, but are taking advantage of the physics of rotational motion meaning that a small weight a long distance (about a meter) from the center of gravity increases the moment of inertia SIGNIFICANTLY, thus requiring much more work and burning many more calories. The number of calories burned will be dependent on the length of your leg.

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Do you have any credible sources to back up your claims? –  Baarn Jul 9 '13 at 1:29
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I work for a hospital and I wear ankle weights my full shift sometimes 4, 5, 6 days in a row. I take the stairs and I walk fast. I lost 12 pounds in 3 months just adding the ankle weights without even dieting. I also drink a lot of coke (two cans a day) and ya I know it's not healthy but I don't drink alcohol or eat junk food and I am a vegetarian.

But, I also ride horses and jump on a trampoline and use wrist weights. I have never had one single problem wearing them as long as I wear very good tennis shoes. I wear the black sketchers high top so the weights actually rest on my tennis shoes not on my ankles. The weights never even touch my ankles.

I rode horses and jumped on a trampoline years before using ankle weights so I know for a fact the ankle weights are what worked. I only wear them at work and if my legs start to feel tired I just take them off. I probably walk 5 to 10 miles during my shift around the whole entire hospital.

I actually have very firm legs and no muffin top anymore. I love wearing them and if I don't wear them I feel off balance now.

They hide under my scrubs so no one knows I'm wearing them. Anyway, ankle weights have been a success for me. I'm 47 and had my only child at 40 and I have a better body now than I did before I had a child. My stomach is flat and I have more curves than I have ever had in my life and I actually have a waist.

These are my own personal results. I also have a friend who is a hair dresser that wears them every day and I started wearing them because she started looking so much firmer and leaner in her leg and butt area.

I think they can work for some people. They definitely work for me. I love love love them.

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