Weights are used in exercise all the time, in dumbbells, on weight training benches and much more. Carrying out cardio exercises using ankle weights, however, is a far more risky business than training on a bench.
If you're wondering what exactly a cardio exercise is then it's any exercise that works the cardiovascular system (both respiratory and circulatory systems. These include arteries, veins, blood vessels, lungs and heart). Examples of cardio exercises include running, swimming, aerobics and rock climbing amongst others. Someone who wants to lose weight fast or train for a specific event in a short space of time might consider doing cardio exercises using ankle weights to speed up the process, but what they don't realize is that this often does more harm than good.
The greatest degree of harm lies with people who are overweight. Cardio exercises using ankle weights tend not to burn fat burn instead burn carbohydrate as it is a richer source of energy and ankle weights cause a level of exercise that demands it. As a result the goodness is being stripped from these people's bodies, leaving just the 'bad stuff' (fat) there. People with healthy cardiovascular systems are more likely to benefit from cardio exercises using ankle weights, but even then there are considerable risks.
For example, people who run on a regular basis and have done from their early teenage years will have a body that has grown to support the strain that running puts on itself. In particular, the discs within the spine will have grown to absorb shock relative to what the body exerts. Add ankle weights to the mix and you're suddenly putting far more pressure on those discs and you risk one of the becoming herniated. Why runners perform cardio exercises using ankle weights in the first place is unknown, because adding weight to yourself slows you down. Even when these weights are removed for the actual event they will not have made you learn to run any faster.
The most common injuries obtained from cardio exercises using ankle weights are torn ligaments in the thighs, calves or ankles. Women have more delicate ankle tissue and are therefore more at risk, and yet they are the group who tend to use them most in aerobics where not only do ligaments get torn, but sprains too. The one form of exercises that makes cardio exercises using ankle weight safe is those done under water, i.e. aqua aerobics. In water you move slowly and there is very little risk of a harsh impact upon the swimming pool floor. In this case a person with a healthy cardiovascular system would get the benefits of cardio exercises using ankle weights without the negatives, but it's important to remember that overweight people may not benefit.
If you are considering doing cardio exercises using ankle weights then consider where and how you are doing them. Under water during aqua aerobics is the best choice and you should steer clear of this type of exercise if you are overweight. Risks including herniated discs in the back and torn ligaments in your feet could cause lifetime recurring problems and ones that render you out of action for weeks.