Firming up flabby arms

Originally Published: March 12, 1999 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: December 29, 2011
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Dear Alice,

What can be done about flabby arms?

Dear Reader,

There are plenty of things you can do to help reduce unwanted flabbiness and be on your way to stronger, well-toned arms. First and foremost, a sound, well balanced eating plan is a great first step toward trimming body fat. If you are uncertain about what to eat, consider meeting with a registered dietitian to find out about proper nutrition and develop your own food plan. If you are a Columbia student, you can find more information about seeing a nutritionist or make an appointment by calling x4-2284 or logging on to Open Communicator. If you are not at Columbia you might check with your health care provider or a local fitness center for a referral.

Once you have planned your eating routine, the next step is to coordinate your exercise. It is generally recommended to have some activity in your life most days of the week. Aim for at least thirty minutes of moderate intensity exercise at least three times a week. If you are not at this level yet, start slowly and work up to it gradually. Examples of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise include walking at a brisk pace, rollerblading, jogging, cycling, etc. You should break a sweat and be able to reasonably hold a conversation.

Both weight training and cardiovascular activity are recommended to improve your fitness level. Positive results are best seen when both are included in training. Remember, though, that strength training will help you tone, but it won't rid your body of excess fat in a specific area, for example, on your arms. For strengthening and toning your arms, there are many exercises you can do. If you don't have access to a gym, you may do the following exercises just about anywhere:

Pushups are a classic exercise which work the triceps (back of the arm which often jiggles when we wave to someone), chest, and shoulders. You may modify the traditional push up by putting one or both knees on the floor rather than straightening them behind you. This exercise may also be performed against a wall. Place your hands on a wall and push your upper body away. Work up to three sets of fifteen repetitions. Challenge yourself, but do only what you can to start.

Bicep curls can strengthen the biceps (front muscle of the upper arm which is the opposing muscle to the triceps). If you're at home, take two 32-ounce bottles (filled with water) and place one in each hand. With your knees slightly bent, tummy tucked, back straight, and elbows kept close to your sides, raise and lower the bottles at a moderate pace. Do three sets of fifteen repetitions, or what you can. Remember to progress slowly, because you don't want to stress your joints or injure your muscles.

Another way to tone arms and build strength is to participate in arm-specific sports, like rowing, racquetball, tennis, or boxing. These activities incorporate cardiovascular work and strength training. There are many other exercises and activities you can do. A varied routine constantly challenges the body. For more arm-specific exercises, consult with a certified personal trainer. Students at Columbia can meet with a Dodge Fitness Center trainer for a small fee. Away from Columbia check with a local gym or ask friends and family for a referral.

Regardless of your approach, it is always a good idea to talk with your health care provider before beginning a new exercise and/or eating plan. The relationship you have with your provider can bring insight into any issues that might impact the ability to reach your goals. Enjoy your efforts and here's to happy waving!

Alice

July 12, 2002

20440

Alice,

I just wanted to say THANK YOU for offering the page on Firming Up Flabby Arms.

I've lost a bit of weight by eating better, walking, and some dance...

Alice,

I just wanted to say THANK YOU for offering the page on Firming Up Flabby Arms.

I've lost a bit of weight by eating better, walking, and some dance aerobics, but I've noticed that my arms still look horrid, so I went to askjeeves.com and asked, "What exercises can I do for my flabby arms?" and your page was the first on the suggested web sites.

I got up right away and did 30 (of the suggested 45) push-ups on my wall and WOW! I can feel it already! :-)

Once again, thank you for offering the page to "us."

Jen
Ontario, Canada