Exercises to Firm Up the Arms as People Get Older

by Nina K. Hauptman, Demand Media
    Exercises can tone arm muscles, but they won't affect loose skin.

    Exercises can tone arm muscles, but they won't affect loose skin.

    If you're gearing up for tank-top season or just want to reduce some of the jiggle from your arms, targeted toning moves can help to some degree. However, the only way to trim arm fat is to embark on a comprehensive weight-loss program, as even the most intensive moves don't remove fat from specific regions. In addition, losing weight won't affect loose skin, so you may need to learn to love your body even as it changes with age.

    Firmness and Aging

    Getting older packs a one-two punch to arm firmness: Not only does your skin lose elasticity, but most people begin to shed muscle mass after turning 25, according to MayoClinic.com. Unfortunately, no magic bullet exists to fully restore suppleness -- skin quality inevitably changes as collagen production ebbs and elastin degrades. Luckily, muscle loss is easier to tackle.

    How Exercise Helps

    Exercise is an effective anti-aging tool, helping your arms stay firm and sculpted. Weight-training moves build muscle tissue, making them appear more defined. What's more, weight training helps build bone density, which may actually improve skin tightness somewhat. That's because you naturally lose bone matter with age, which causes bones to recede from the skin and contribute to sagging. And all types of exercise burn calories to help remove excess fat -- although you still need to keep portion sizes in check for significant weight loss.

    Arm Exercises

    At home, pump up the triceps on the backs of your arms with pushups; at the gym, hit the incline or overhead triceps extension machines, use the pushdown machine or perform dips. For the biceps on the front of your arms, perform isometric chest presses at home -- which simply involve clasping your hands in front of you and pushing -- or use dumbbells, a barbell or a weight machine to perform curls. Aim for one to three sets of 12 repetitions for each exercise.

    Other Exercises

    Arms are important, but the rest of your body needs weight training, too; this includes legs, back, chest, buttocks and abs. Fit two to three weight-training sessions into your schedule each week, allowing at least two recovery days before working the same area again. For maximum calorie burning, also perform cardio exercises such as cycling, jogging, swimming, basketball or tennis for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. If you don't currently work out or you have any health conditions, consult a doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

    About the Author

    Nina K. Hauptman is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, "Healthy Living Magazine," "Organic Authority" and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.

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