Cankles is the slang name for thick ankles and this odd-sounding  nickname, popularised in the 2001 movie “Shallow Hal”, was intended as an insult and unfortunately the term stuck.

If you feel you would like to show off slimmer and shapelier ankles this summer then there are things you can do! But first it’s important to know what causes them.

So what causes ‘cankles’? There are 4 main reasons that people develop them.

  1. Genetic predisposition – everyone gains and loses weight according to their genetics, and while you can eat healthily and exercise, you ultimately have little power over which areas drop the fat first.
  2. Being overweight. If you’re storing excess fat all over then some of it will settle around your ankles.
  3. Fluid retention. If your diet is heavy in sodium, your body may be retaining water.
  4. Pregnancy. Especially later into pregnancy, women start to notice swelling of the ankles due to poor circulation. Generally, this is normal and will reverse itself after pregnancy. Don’t expect an overnight difference, but returning to your pre-pregnancy activities (when cleared by a doctor) can help return your ankles.

How to Slim Down Cankles

Even though you can’t spot reduce for instantly slimmer ankles (sorry), there are things you can do to reduce body fat all over, which should eventually make its way to your ankles. In addition to this there are some simple exercises that you can do to focus on toning your lower leg muscles.

 

1. Step Calf Raise

Stand on the edge of a step with your feet hip-width apart, holding onto the banister. Slowly raise your heel several inches from the top of the step so that you’re on your tip toes. Hold this position for a second, and then slowly lower your heel back down past the edge of the step. Repeat ten times.

2. Single-Leg Calf Raise

Stand on the floor and balance on one leg. To improve balance you can put your hands on your hips or brace yourself against a wall. Lift your heel off the floor a few inches, balancing on your tip toe. Slowly lower back down and repeat.

3. Single-Leg Pillow Balance

Stand on a throw pillow or cushion while balancing on one leg. The instability will force the tendons and muscles in your ankle to help keep your body balanced. Hold for 30 seconds or for as long as you can and then switch legs.

4. Wide Squat With Heel Raise

Start with your feet wider than hip-distance apart. Squat down and at the bottom of the squat, lift your heels several inches off the floor. Hold for a second before lowering your heels then stand back up.

5. Narrow Squat With Heel Raise

Start with your feet a little narrower than shoulder-distance apart. Squat down and at the bottom of the squat, lift your heels several inches off the floor. Hold for a second before lowering your heels then stand back up.

6. Walking

It seems so simple, but the more you walk throughout the day, the more calories you burn. Plus, it’s a low-impact way of toning your lower body.