While it may still be sweater weather in many parts of the country mid-April, in no time steamy summer days will have us shedding layers of clothing trying to get cool. And fewer clothes means it’s time to pay a little more attention to diet, exercise and skin care.
Starting at 30, adults begin losing as much as 3 to 5 percent of their muscle mass each decade and in order to prevent loss of function, balance and strength it’s important to incorporate weight training into a regular exercise program. Women in particular often feel their upper arms aren’t quite ready to bare in the summer, but by starting a regular routine now, stronger, more toned arms are achievable by swimsuit or sundress season.
Upper arms can also become bumpy with keratosis pilaris which can cause the skin to resemble goose flesh and become like sandpaper. Using a gentle exfoliant to unblock the openings of hair follicles can help smooth skin; follow with a gentle moisturizer to keep arms looking and feeling their best.
As with any new exercise program, it’s important to talk first with your doctor and start off slowly, gradually increasing weight, repetitions and number of sets as strength and endurance improves. Diet also plays an important role in building muscle; lean chicken, salmon, plain Greek yogurt, skim milk or cooked beans are all good sources of protein to help build muscle. Processed and red meats are high in saturated fat and additives that are less healthy.
To start toning up those arms, not only to feel better about going sleeveless but to also to continue being able to perform daily tasks such as lifting and carrying laundry, vacuuming or putting a heavy pot back on a high shelf, start by investing in a set of light dumbbells and a resistance band. While a slow, steady push-up is probably the best exercise for toning jiggly arms and bat wings, some older adults may be more comfortable using weights and resistance bands in a seated or standing position.
Check out this Fabulous 50s YouTube video for five exercises that will help tone your arms, improve mobility and increase function.