Ankle strength is something most people take for granted until they encounter an injury or balance issues. Over time, due to the vast array of physical tasks we rely on them to do, our ankles can become strained. This strain can lead to weakness, limiting our abilities and potentially causing painful injury. What many aren’t aware of, however, is that with simple exercise and the right equipment, we can fortify our ankles, making them stronger and more resilient. In this article, we delve into the importance of healthy, strong ankles and how exactly one can strengthen them using specialised exercise equipment.
Understanding Your Ankles
The ankle plays a crucible role in maintaining balance and enabling movement. Comprised of various bones, ligaments and tendons, the ankles are responsible not only for bearing our body weight but also for assisting us in movement, from walking and running to jumping and kicking. Despite their crucial role, the ankles are often overlooked in typical workout routines, which predominantly focus on more prominent muscle groups. However, neglecting the ankle can lead to weakness over time, and subsequently, an increased risk of injury.
The Need For Ankle Exercisers
Ankle exercisers serve multiple purposes from enhancing athletic performance and aiding rehabilitation after injuries, to preventing falls common in older adults. They are designed to target and fortify the muscles in the ankle and the lower leg. This helps increase flexibility, improve balance, build strength and ultimately, decrease the risk of injury. Regardless of age, activity level, or fitness goals, everyone can derive benefits from using ankle exercisers.
Decoding Ankle Exercisers
Ankle exercisers are diverse in their design but unified in their objective: to optimise ankle strength and mobility. They range from ankle weights and balance boards to resistance bands and ankle exercise machines. These devices work either by providing resistance against which the ankle muscles must work, by creating unstable surfaces to challenge balance and engage stabilising muscles, or by guiding the ankles through specific motion paths to facilitate strength and flexibility. The targeted use of these devices can yield significant benefits such as enhanced coordination, reduced risk of injury, improved performance in sports requiring sudden changes in direction and of course, stronger ankles.
How To Choose The Right Ankle Exerciser
The selection of the right ankle exerciser relies on various factors that include fitness goals, level of fitness, any potential health concerns, the materials of the product, its durability and features aiding usability. Beginners may benefit from simple yet effective devices like resistance bands, while more advanced users may opt for multifunctional ankle exercise machines that offer higher resistance levels and diverse workout options. It is also advisable to consult with medical professionals or fitness experts prior to purchasing, to ensure the selected exerciser aligns with individual health conditions and objectives.
Reviews And Recommendations
Given the diversity of the market, finding the right exerciser can be daunting. Here we provide a list of top-rated ankle exercisers currently popular in the Australian market along with their features, pros and cons.
PhysioRoom Balance Board: Its simple design helps improve balance, coordination and strength. However, it may not offer a sufficient challenge for advanced users.
Reehut Durable Ankle/Wrist Weights: This versatile option can add resistance to a variety of exercises. Keep in mind, however, that the added weight may not be suitable for those with ankle injuries or weak ankles.
Usage Tips And Safeguards
Regardless of your choice, using these devices safely is paramount. Suitable footwear, preferably athletic shoes that offer good support to the ankles, is essential. Maintaining correct posture and adhering to recommended usage instructions can help avoid strain or injury. Start slow and gradually increase intensity, remember never to sacrifice form for intensity to avoid injury.
We have also gathered some pointers from Australian fitness professionals, physiotherapists, and sports doctors. Alex McKenzie, a renowned sports physiotherapist in Melbourne, underscores the importance of patience and consistency in ankle exercises. According to him, “It’s not about how much weight you can carry or how fast you can perform the exercises. What really matters is how consistently you perform these exercises and the accuracy with which you perform them.”
Ankle Exercises For Beginners
Try The Following Exercises Using Your New Ankle Exerciser:
- Ankle Pumps: With a resistance band around your foot, move your ankle up and down. Start with two sets of ten and gradually increase.
- Ankle Circles: This exercise improves range of motion. Keeping your heel on the ground, move your toes in a circular motion.
Take Claire, for example, a Sydney-based long-distance runner, who struggled with continuous ankle sprains. Once she incorporated ankle exercises into her routine with the help of ankle weights, she significantly reduced her injury frequency and improved her running time.
Conclusion and Call to Action
Taking proper care of your ankles should not be an afterthought but a priority in a holistic health and fitness regimen. More often than not, small changes can bring about significant benefits. So why wait? Start your journey towards stronger, more flexible ankles today!
We encourage you to share this guide with anyone who would benefit from this information. Let’s work together towards healthier, stronger ankles and a healthier, more balance-filled life.