Your Fitness Questions Answered: Best exercises for cankles

Question:  What are the best exercises to do to reduce my cankles?

The slang term cankle refers to a combination of the calf and ankle to describe what many women consider a nightmare.  While not an accepted medical term, a cankle is essentially a thickened ankle giving the perception of the calf flowing to the foot.  While undesirable to Capri wearers, it may be more than a matter of slimming down those chubby ankles.

In reality, cankles may be caused by several different factors.  Obesity is often the primary cause of cankle formation.  Excess fat deposited around the ankle may be due to obesity but it could just as well be due to genetic factors that favor fat accumulation around the ankle.  Still other causes may be things such as poor kidney functioning, tendinitis or edema due to other complications.

A few years ago, Gold’s Gym declared the month of July was, “Cankle Awareness Month.”  In celebration of this event, these gyms offered classes which combined a series of leg workouts to help slim cankle girth.  Jump ropes, calf raises, running stairs and jumping squats were used to work lower limbs extra hard to eliminate cankles everywhere.

It may seem like furiously running in place for a few minutes will burn that extra ankle fat right off, however it is much more complicated than that.  When it comes to weight loss, you cannot choose certain areas to fix.  If you are looking to lose weight in a certain part of your body, you will not be successful.  Weight loss is a complete body occurrence.  While you may pump your legs harder in hopes of reducing the weight around your ankles, in reality the energy used to pump your feet may be coming from other places where fat is stored such as the midsection or hips rather than your legs.

Body fat is body fat no matter where it is.  Where your body stores fat and uses fat from are primarily genetic, therefore that stubborn ankle fat may be much more difficult to get rid of than you think.  So combat your cankles with any exercise that works for you, whether it is a sport like Frisbee, interval training or swimming.  The best way to reduce your cankles is to reduce body fat everywhere.  Just remember that your cankles are under genetic control so they may be the last to go when on your journey towards a healthier you.

Thanks for the question!

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