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Do Ankle Weights Stunt Your Growth?

author image Kathleen Clohessy
Kathleen Clohessy is a professional nurse with more than 25 years experience helping children and families cope with serious illness and its consequences. Disabled by illness in 1997, Clohessy retired from nursing and began a consulting firm, where she focuses on the use of therapeutic journaling as a medium for healing and personal growth.
Do Ankle Weights Stunt Your Growth?
Running in sand increases aerobic intensity without the risk of injury associated with ankle weights. Photo Credit: kicsiicsi/iStock/Getty Images

Ankle weights have a number of uses in strength-training regimens. Doctors recommend light ankle weights for patients who are undergoing rehabilitation after knee surgery, and they are useful adjuncts in the gym when you are trying to build lower body strength. However, wearing ankle weights while running or during any aerobic activity increases the impact on joints and may lead to sprains, dislocations and ligament tears. Moreover, wearing weights on your ankles while you run or walk may burn more calories, but it provides very little benefit in the way of improved muscle strength.

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Exercise and Normal Growth

The belief that resistance training stunts growth is a popular one. However, according to a 2001 article in the "Journal of Endocrinological Investigation," it simply is not true in most cases. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics notes that strength training for children can be beneficial, with the caveat that they avoid competitive weightlifting, powerlifting, bodybuilding and maximal lifts until they reach physical and skeletal maturity at about age 16. Children as young as 7 or 8 may participate in body-weight resistance training, adding light weights when they can complete 15 repetitions easily and with good form. Children should not use ankle weights during aerobic activities for the same reasons that using them is not advisable for adults.

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