Step up your workout with ankle weights
When used correctly, ankle weights can confer both strength and aerobic benefits while walking or running. Some doctors and coaches, however, warn of ligament strains for those who are weak or untrained. (If that’s you, start with very light weights; most are adjustable.) Ankle weights are ideal for at-home exercises, such as calf raises, hip extensions and some leg raises. You can use them while you’re walking the dog, going shopping or doing yoga or Pilates.
Small is beautiful
Altus Athletic Batwing: Attractive, stretch-to-fit light weights.
Likes: These 2-pound weights (1 pound per ankle) stay snug and comfortable around your ankle even while running, thanks to the use of conforming neoprene and a wide Velcro-closure strap.
Dislikes: Doesn’t have adjustable weight. Though lightweight enough for beginners or runners, it may not be enough weight for some. If so, try the 5-pound model.
Price: $13; (800) 654-3955; www.altusathletic.com.
Cool in the pool
AllPro Aqua Power Swim Ankle Weights: Waterproof, 5-pound weights made for water-running and swimming, though they work well on land too.
Likes: Provides more challenge for those who like to run in the shallow end. Very comfortable during dry-land walking and running. Neoprene is soft against skin. Avoids rubbing Achilles tendon and fits naturally over front of ankle. Easy Velcro closure strap. Five-pound weight (2.5 pounds each) adjusts via slide-in weight bars. Plastic-covered bars can’t rust.
Price: $44.99; (800) 735-9287; www.allproweights.com.
Just the basics
Valeo Adjustable Ankle/Wrist Weights: Simple, design best used for strength exercises.
Likes: Adjustable in 0.5-pound increments up to 2.5 pounds per ankle. Each weight includes five, sand-filled plastic bags that easily slide in and out.
Dislikes: Velcro strap with metal D-ring rubs against the skin while in motion. Can also be worn on your wrists, but the nylon surface gets sweaty against your forearm.
Price: $14.99 (10-pound model, $19.99); www.valeoinc.com; (800) 634-2704.
AquaBells Ankle Weights: Luggage-friendly design uses water for weight.
Likes: Great for travel; weighs only 8 ounces when collapsed; adjust the weight by filling with water, as much as 8 pounds (4 pounds each); secures easily with Velcro straps; soft vinyl material is comfortable.
Price: $24.95; (800) 987-6892; www.aquabells.com.
-- Roy M. Wallack