Running, especially long distance running has become wildly popular in the United States. Because running burns so many calories, it’s no wonder why everywhere you look people are running. The health benefits are enormous.
Some people, looking to burn even more calories during their runs are implementing extra weight; ankle weights. But is running with ankle weights safe? Do the potential benefits outweigh the potential consequences .
Running itself is a form of endurance training. For athletes looking to increase their endurance, running is perhaps the most effective means. But adding extra weight does not necessarily equate to increasing endurance as much as it goes towards strength training. This may sound as though it is an awesome ‘two-for-one’ exercise, but some experts and trainers warn that the effect of added weight can come with some very serious consequences, and may even be counterproductive.
It’s agreed upon that ankle weights will strengthen your quadriceps muscles. This is because the added weight requires more force from your quadriceps to bring the lower leg forward. But your hamstrings remain untouched. And without strengthening your hamstrings, there will be an imbalance within your leg muscles that doctors say can increase the risk of injury.
Running with added weight means that certain muscles of the body will require more oxygen for energy. Theoretically, the added weight would result in more gains. More studies are needed to determine the long term effects of running with weights in general.