Leg weights make your workout more challenging, especially if you are doing floor exercises, like side leg lifts. Start light and build up slowly when you exercise with ankle weights, recommend “Stepping On” authors Lindy Clemson and Megan Swann. Also, use caution if you have knee, hip or ankle problems. Skip such weights altogether when walking, as this is more likely to lead to injury. The leg weights you buy in stores or online range from 1 to 20 lbs. You also can make them yourself.
Reusable Leg Weight
Weigh out 1 to 1 1/2 lbs. of beans on a food scale. This amount of beans will fit best into your tube sock. Save the beans in a bowl. Weigh out a second, equal weight of beans.
Tie a knot about one-fourth the way up a long tube sock. Pour the beans into the sock. Tie a second knot in the sock above the beans. The second knot will be placed about one-fourth the way down from the top of the sock, says Linda Rellergert, nutrition specialist for the University of Missouri Extension. The beans will be secured in the center of your sock, and the ends of the sock will be empty.
Tie the sock in place around your ankle or thigh. Or, attach stick-on hook-and-loop fastener strips, such as Velcro, to the sock to fasten it.
Disposable Leg Weight
Fill two sealable plastic bags with sand. Weigh the bags on a food scale and adjust until they are of equal weight.
Hold the bag on your ankle. Wrap a first-aid bandage around it to secure it in place, says Julia Sweet in “365 Activities for Fitness, Food and Fun For the Whole Family.” Ensure that the sand bag will stay in place, but take care not to wrap too tightly because this can cause your foot to go numb, Sweet advises.
Unwrap the bandage partway, if it is too bulky, and cut it to fit your preference.
Secure the end of the bandage with first-aid tape, Sweet recommends.