Some time during the last decade that dreaded upper arm fat has crept up and caused women over 50 to shy away from sleeveless tops and secretly long for the triceps they had when they were 35. Part of the natural process of aging is that around age 40 we begin losing muscle mass; the bad news about upper arms is that we also tend to gain fat around the triceps area at the same time.
The good news is that there’s hope for our upper arms and in following a routine of toning exercises we can have beautiful non-flabby arms at any age.
A recent study by the American Council on Exercise, a certification agency for pro fitness trainers, has shown that the triangle push-up is the number one exercise for toning the triceps and reducing upper arm flab. The triangle push-up is done like a regular push-up but rather than having your hands below your shoulders, place your hands directly below your chest.
Point fingers and thumbs outward forming a triangle and keep a rigid torso and back. Keep your head in alignment with your spine and raise and lower your body, as you would in regular push-ups. If the extended leg push-up position is too tough at first, knee push-up can be done; push-ups against the wall are also an option if you’re just starting with push-ups.
The reason that triangle push-ups are so effective at strengthening and toning the upper arms is that your body weight is used for resistance; the reason that they’re the number one exercise for toning the triceps is that along with the resistance, no additional equipment is required and it doesn’t take a lot of time in a day. If you’re doing push-ups alone, it’s fine to do them daily but the frequency that you do them also depends on the rest of your workout routine.
The advice of trainers is to listen to your body, start by doing a few sets and gauging how your joints and muscles feel after each set, taking a day off push-ups in between will allow the muscles to rebuild. Start slow doing a few sets and aim to do them four times per week. Listen to your body and don’t work to the point of feeling pain. If you’re exercising regularly, you’ll be able to judge how many sets are right for you; if you’re starting an exercise routine, discuss it with a trainer to be sure you’re making the most of the time you spend exercising.
As we age the benefit of exercise and strength training is more than just for weight control; it helps strengthen bones. Dedication and a little knowledge plus advice from a personal trainer will help women over 60 benefit by incorporating strength exercises into a fitness routine.
Communities for older adults, retirement residences, independent living and seniors’ centres, tend to be more equipped with fitness programs and trainers today than ever before. With the high priority on fitness from the baby boomer generation and the demand for facilities that cater to all age groups, whether aging at home or relocating to a seniors’ community, there’s no lack of access to fitness.
On the topic of toning the triceps, whether you incorporate push-ups or strength training with weights, if you’ve accomplished toned upper arms at age 60+ you may find yourself being asked to divulge your fitness secrets to women half your age!