Upper-arm fat that waddles when you wave your arms can lead you to avoid arm-baring shirts or dresses and make you feel self-conscious about your appearance. Unsightly upper-arm waddle is the result of excess fat and lack of muscle tone. You can slim down flabby arms with a healthy, reduced-calorie diet and aerobic exercise, while toning them up with strength training exercises.
Always talk to your doctor first before embarking on a weight loss and exercise program.
Avoid strange or fad diets that promise quick and easy weight loss, suggests Harvard School of Public Health. A safe loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week will help you achieve long-lasting results.
Once you lose weight and tone your upper arm muscles, you must maintain a healthy diet and continue to exercise to prevent upper arm waddle from returning.
Reduce your calorie intake by 250 to 500 calories daily to lose one-half to 1 pound in a week, suggests the University of Arizona. Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day that include fresh fruits and vegetables, lean sources of protein, whole grain products instead of refined white flour products and low-fat dairy. Substitute healthy fats such as olive oil and nut butters for butter, margarine or lard. Losing weight at a slow, steady rate helps rid your body and upper arms of excess fat.
Participate in forms of aerobic exercise that work your upper arms and triceps muscles, suggests Fitness Magazine. Take a kickboxing class, play tennis or go skiing. Vary your workouts by alternating with a day of walking, jogging or biking. Engage in cardiovascular exercise for 30 to 60 minutes each day to burn up to 500 calories and lose an additional one half to 1 pound each week for increased weight loss and slimming of your upper arms.
Use dumbbells or other hand-held weights to tone the backs of your arms, or the triceps muscles. Hold one weight in each hand. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend forward at the waist about 45 degrees. Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle and hold the weights so the ends are facing the ceiling and the floor. Extend your arms back simultaneously without locking your elbows, and then return your arms to the 90-degree position for one full repetition. Do 25 to 30 repetitions of these triceps kickbacks three times each week.
Tone the backs of your arms with a modified pushup. Stand 2 to 3 feet away from a wall, facing the wall. Place your hands on the wall at chest height, with your hands about 2 feet apart. Slowly lean toward the wall using your arm muscles to support your weight. Stop when your arms are at a 90 degree angle. Use your arm muscles to slowly push yourself back to the starting position with your arms fully extended but not locked. Perform 12 wall pushups, and slowly work your way up to 24 repetitions three times each week.
Perform overhead presses to further tone your arm muscles, including the triceps. Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in the knees. Bring your arms to the starting position by bending your arms at a 90-degree angle with your hands pointing toward the ceiling. Your arms should be at shoulder height, with your hands raised above head level. Hold your dumbbells or hand weights so the weights are in a parallel position to the wall or window you're facing. Extend your arms up, toward the ceiling, until almost fully extended. Don't lock your elbows. Hold the extension for a count of two, and then slowly lower to the starting position using your triceps muscles to support the weight. Repeat this exercise for a total of 25 to 30 repetitions three times per week.
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.