When ankles and calves seem to meld together, they’re called cankles — and no one wants them. So how do cankles form (fat ankles), and what can be done to get rid of them?
The three typical reasons people get cankles is:
1. Genetics: If your mom or dad had cankles, you may get them, too.
2. Weight gain: Some people store fat in their lower legs (thank genetics!). If you’ve gained weight, you may be asking yourself, “Where the *bleep* did my ankles go, and how do I get them back?”
3. Water retention: According to fitness and nutrition expert Jay Cardiello, fluid buildup in the ankle generally comes from a heavy sodium intake; it’s a pure reflection of one’s dietary habits. Other causes include excessive consumption of alcohol, long periods of inactivity, hormone fluctuations (e.g., during the menstrual cycle) and pregnancy.
Fighting back against cankles
The most effective way to lose the cankles is exercise. Losing weight will reduce the appearance or get rid of cankles all together. Be sure to mix cardio and strength training for a well-rounded fitness program. Strengthening your calves will help you build definition between the ankles and calves (not to mention stronger ankles, which can prevent injury). Check out this extensive list of exercises you can do to build muscle in this area.
Swimming is a great way to help prevent water retention. Just 30 minutes is enough for the water pressure to dissipate the fluid gathered around your ankles, says Trainelite.com. It’s also a great workout for the entire body.
After a workout — or if you’re beat from a long day at the office — put your feet up. This allows the fluid to drain from the ankles and be expelled by the body.
Cardiello says that 80% of your overall wellness is based on what you eat, not what you do physically, so if you suspect that you’re consuming way too much sodium, talk to a registered dietitian. They can recommend a nutritious and balanced diet that’s low in sodium.