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- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Healthy Weight -It's Not a Diet, it's a Lifestyle!
- Mayo Clinic: Strength Training: Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier
- Mayo Clinic: Ankle Weights for Fitness Walkers: Good Idea?
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Getting regular exercise is an important component in both losing weight and maintaining weight loss. Knowing where to start can be confusing, as there are many products and programs to choose from. While aerobic exercise is the best way to burn calories to shed those extra pounds, using weights can also help. However, there are some precautions to take in regard to ankle weights and weight loss.
If you are consuming more calories than you are burning, you will gain weight. If you eat the same amount of calories your body burns, then your weight will not change. To lose weight, it is necessary to take in fewer calories than you use, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since 1 lb. is equal to 3,500 calories, to lose 1 lb. per week you must exercise enough to burn 500 extra calories per day through exercise. To lose 2 lbs., you must burn 1,00 extra calories a day The CDC states that it usually takes about 60 to 90 minutes of moderate level exercise on most days of the week to lose weight. Aerobic exercise such as walking, biking, swimming and dancing burn the most amount of calories, but using weights can help as well. In addition, cutting calories while exercising will help to speed weight loss even more.
While it may seem to make sense to stay away from using weights when trying to lose weight to prevent bulking up, weight training is an important addition to a weight-loss program. Muscle requires more calories to survive than fat does. This means as the muscles get stronger and percentage of fat decreases, your metabolism gets faster. Those stronger muscles will burn more calories even at rest, according to the Mayo Clinic. This does not mean it is necessary to bulk up, it just means making the muscles stronger. It is also good to remember that in order to bulk up, it is necessary to spend hours in the gym. Bodybuilders work out five to six days a week for hours at a time, with very heavy weights and machines. Using ankle weights two to three times a week and doing a few sets of each exercise will not be enough exercise to create bulk.
It is important to choose ankle weights that are heavy enough to fatigue the muscles within 10 to 12 repetitions. Using lighter weights and doing a lot of repetitions will not be as effective in building strength. Building strength is what raises the metabolism. Weight training the muscles to fatigue causes the muscle fibers to tear slightly so that they can heal and become stronger. This is a natural process; however, it means that it is important to rest in between workouts. Use ankle weights every other day and incorporate some aerobic exercises or upper-body exercises on other days to balance out the workout.
You can use ankle weights for exercises such as squats, lunges and standing leg lifts. You can wear them while sitting in a chair and slowly marching or extending the leg or when on all fours on the floor doing leg lifts. When lying on the side or back on the floor, you can use ankle weights to add resistance to leg exercises. However, it is important to take care of the knees. It is better for the joints to place the ankle weights closer to the knee when doing exercises while lying on the side. If the weights are around your ankles when you are lying on your side, as you lift your leg, the weights may pull on the knees. If you are new to exercise, it is best to work with a trainer or physical therapist, to make sure you are doing the exercises correctly and in the most efficient manner.
Whenever you are a using weights, it is important to move slowly and with control and never bounce or swing the weights. It may be tempting to wear ankle weights while walking, in an attempt to strengthen the legs and burn more calories. However, this can do more harm than good, warns the Mayo Clinic. Walking with weights places excessive force on your feet, ankles, knees and hips with each foot strike. If you are walking fast enough to get your heart rate up, your legs will be swinging fast, and the extra weight can pull too much on the knee and hip joints. Strength -training exercises should always be done separately from aerobic exercises. When walking, just try picking up the pace, walking up hill, walking on sand or using walking poles to make it more challenging. Leave the ankle weights home for the strength-training exercises.
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