Sometimes it takes a small adjustment to gain big results, and ankle weights are an excellent start. Adding these weights to a daily walk or speed walk can give you a comparable workout to jogging or running. Large muscle groups, such as your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves, will tighten and tone. A cardiovascular workout is also experienced. Ankle weights are an easy addition in a world of many simple workout gear choices.
A simple velcro locking cuff is all you need to add three, five or even ten pounds to your ankles. Some designs work with sand, others with metal and even others offer removable miniature plates or bars. The removable version is great for increasing or decreasing your weight load according to specific workouts. There are also waterproof ankle weights for enhancing your swimming workout. If you want to tone your legs but cannot even fit time in for a workout there are Body Togs. These are slip-on weights that can be worn under everyday clothing. The Body Tog manufacturer claims that wearing their weights for ten hours is equivalent to a two-hour run. Ankle weights can range from approximately $20 to $60 a pair.
Similar to ankle weights, wrist weights can tone your forearms, biceps and triceps. Designs are identical to ankle weights with minor adjustments for smaller circumference and thumb attachment. Wrist weights can be used when running, hanging around the house, doing yoga or other balancing exercises.
Core strength is the most popular target for reducing all kinds of muscle weakness including lower back, hip and abdominal. An exercise ball is an excellent way to keep the core strong. The way it works is that when you lie on an exercise ball your body immediately contracts to prevent you from falling. This means that as you balance your leg and abdominal muscles you get a workout from all angles, not just one which is what happens in specific exercises like sit-ups. The ball can be used in place of a chair when working on a computer or watching television as the muscles will engage giving you that extra toning opportunity.
Proprioceptors are the body’s sensors to avoid injury when balance is challenged. These sensors can be strengthened and improved with the use of a wobble board. This piece of equipment is a hard round plastic disk with a protruding rubber center that connects with the floor. When you step on the board you must immediately use the other foot to balance as the disk begins to wobble. Leg, glute, abdominal and some upper body muscles all come into play on this board.
The foam roller is a piece of hard foam that is about two to four feet in length. It can enhance core strength as well as flexibility and decrease muscle soreness. By lying on a roller in different positions you can perform such exercises as enhanced push-ups, back and hip extensions, iliotibial band (outside side of the leg) massage/stretch and a hamstring stretch to name a few.