Building strong calf muscles is an important part in maintaining a healthy stance. The calf muscles play a significant part in controlling body sway and posture. Another reason to build strong calf muscles is to show a more shapely and attractive leg. Also, muscles in the leg are plentiful - so the more muscle you have, the more fat is burned.
Several cardiovascular exercises can help build both your heart and your calf muscles. Yoga works to build strength and stamina through stretching and holding positions aerobically. Proper breathing is important in delivering oxygen to the thick fibrous tissue called muscle.
Pilates also uses similar techniques. It focuses on balance, which forces the muscles to tone through concentration on certain positions.
Another great exercise to build calf muscles is running. It's free and lets you enjoy the outdoors and in some cases indoors, if you know of an indoor track.
If running is too high impact, walking uphill is an excellent way to strengthen your calves. The incline makes the muscle stretch and work hard at the same time. Treadmills offer the incline without worrying about weather conditions.
Walking up stairs is also a healthy way to shape your calves. Instead of elevators, take the stairway. This is another way to really work the muscles. Stair steppers can provide a low impact workout as well.
Another option is the standing leg raise. It's really simple and tones the calves. Just push off the balls of your feet to rise on the tips of your toes. Then try doing one leg at a time when you have reached peak performance with both legs. Weights can also be added to work the muscle even more. Another way to add even more work potential to this exercise is to stand halfway on a raised platform - a large book will do. When you come down, allow the heels to fall below the height of the platform. The extension exercises the calf even more, making it stronger. You can also sit and place weights on the thighs and do the same exercise.
Tennis is another great calf exercise. Tennis involves a lot of running and stopping; this forces the calf muscles to contract and expand.
Jumping rope targets the calf muscles. The short bursts of energy provide blood flow, building the calf muscles and burning fat.
Any of the above exercises can be enhanced by adding ankle weights or weighted shoes. Even in day-to-day activities you can build your calves without having to think too hard about it.