For ace supermodel and TV anchor Malaika Arora, walking into the gym with athleisure bodysuits is a breeze. But when cameras caught her entering the gym while wearing ankle weights, that too effortlessly, they popped. That’s because she was not making a style statement but focussing on the most neglected part of our body in fitness regimes — our legs.
Your legs carry the entire load of your body, so they ought to be stronger in order to improve the quality of your life.
Very often you hear the doctor say “lose your weight so that your knees don’t get strained and damaged.” How many of you actually focus on this advice and work on it? The answer is maybe very few.
So how can you work on strengthening, toning and building the muscles of the legs and maintain an ideal weight?
I would say start using ankle weights as an added tool in your fitness regime. When used in the right manner and of the right weight, they can help you achieve your fitness and weight management goals. Always remember, just the right way and under the expert’s guidance. Never try working out solo to get the desired results.
Although ankle weights can increase the energy you burn while walking, do not walk with them briskly. These are great pieces of equipment that can help you combine strength training and cardio into one workout.
If you are facing any discomfort in your legs, such as pain, tingling sensation, poor blood circulation, swollen feet (edema), it is best to avoid exercising while you are recouping.
Ankle weights work the best when used with strength training and aerobic exercises. Simple leg exercises using ankle weights such as intermittent leg lifts, leg swing from side-to-side or in a clockwise manner, intermittent leg lifts while lying on the stomach and so on, with absolute ease and without putting pressure on your back or your ankles, can work wonders for toning and strengthening the muscles. Wearable ones, like the ones worn by Malaika, are helpful for exercises that target the leg and hip muscles, like leg lifts. As the weights put a greater load on the muscle group being targetted, the latter has to work harder to move this increased load against gravity. This increases strength.
Strength training is all about building the strength of the muscles and legs, be it that of calves, thighs or the different muscles of the legs in general. Toned and strong legs can take you places both in health and in life.
As is the case of overindulgence in food, we should not overindulge in exercising. Wearing ankle weights for just ten minutes twice a week while exercising will be good enough. You can manage weight healthily and get those perfectly toned legs to walk that extra mile of success.
(Dr Mehta has trained Bollywood superstars Akshay Kumar, Preity Zinta, billionaires, politicians, Miss World/Miss Universe candidates and the Maharashtra Police. A best-selling author, he has been appointed FIT India Movement Champion by the Sports Authority of India).