A lot of women over 50 (and yes some men too) develop the cursed “flabby arm” syndrome. Why? It could be one of or a combination of two things. Loss of muscle mass and/or increase of fatty mass.
As I’ve mentioned in previous articles the aging process naturally involves loss of muscle mass beginning around the age of 40 and increases as we get older. This is called sarcopenia. Because of this it is very important for older people to include resistance or weight-bearing exercise to their fitness routines as well as cardio for the heart and lungs.
One of the areas of the body that seems to lose muscle mass the quickest in a lot of women (and paradoxically add fat at the same time) is the arms, more specifically the triceps muscle area.
One really effective exercise to fight the loss of muscle and tone up this underside of the upper arm is the “triangle push up”. The American Council on Exercise, one of the leading certification agencies for Professional Fitness Trainers, rate the triangle push up as the number one exercise to combat flabby arms!
Triangle push ups are performed just like regular push ups except instead of placing your hands beneath the shoulders you form a triangle with your pointing fingers and thumbs in front of your chest . Be sure to keep your back and torso rigid and your head aligned with your spine while lowering and raising your body in a normal push up motion. This exercise has a medium to high level of difficulty so it can be done from your knees or even from the wall push up position.
Follow this link to read the ACE study on the Three Best Triceps Exercises. This is a PDF file so if you’d prefer to download it and read later you can simply right-click on the link and chose to save it to your computer.
Sore and aching joints can be the bane of good intentions. This time of year the gyms and fitness centers are all packed with men and women over 50 that have made one of their New Year’s resolutions to be fitter and more active in the coming months. As a long time member of various gyms I’ve seen it all before, fast start out the gate and then the crowds seem to start to dwindle beginning in March and I’d say more than half of those that started will not be around regularly by the beginning of summer. Is the culprit lack of motivation or laziness? Well sometimes but often not.
Beware Sports Injury
Often by the end of January the talk amongst a lot of us “baby boomers” in the gym is how much this or that hurts or is starting to bother us. Sometimes it starts with a little nagging injury that before you know it ends up knocking us out of the game completely and not only setting us back a few weeks but for many putting an end to our intentions to become more active all together.
Some of the biggest complaints I’ve heard over the years is sore or aching joints.
Avoid Over Exercising
If you’ve been fairly inactive for months don’t attempt to make up for it all in one month. Too much exercise CAN cause major damage to the body of a person over 50 and especially to women over 50 who are more at risk for osteoporosis if they over exerecise and cut back on their calorie consumption. Osteoporosis affects over 20,000,000 people and usually starts after age 50 in women and age 45 in men.
Fit Muscles help Aching Joints
Joint pain is often caused by the lessening or lack of cartilage between the bones. Cartilage serves as a kind of shock absorber inthe body preventing the bones from bumping and grinding against each other. As the body ages and starts to lose some of this cartilage more of the weight bearing chores and activities you perform during the day are placed on the bones. To compensate for the decrease in cartilage it’s recommended that you maintain as much strong, healthy muscle as possible to do the lifting and moving, thus relieving some of the pressure from your joints and bones.
Multiple and Individual Joint Exercises
The excellent website Womenfitness.net has a list of the best 10 exercises for healthy joints. This list includes exercises for multiple and single joints and aims to make the muscles surrounding these joints stronger and longer enduring while also placing less stress on the joints while performing the activity. Double bonus!
Did you know that you should have sex twice a week to help prevent a cold?
And just how many women are finding their sex life more enjoyable now that they’re over 50 anyway?
These and over 20 other questions are asked in Dr. Oz’s Women Over 50 Prevention Quiz.
The good doctor’s quizzes his readers on things like the best supplement to boost your energy level, a good natural treatment for hot flashes, and what ingredient you must have in your lotion to keep your skin from drying out as you age.
I’m not giving away any of the answers here (okay twice a week), but for the rest of them you have to click on the link above to visit the Dr. Oz website.
Flabby Upper Arms? Try Chair Dips
Toning upper arms is one of the quickest and easiest ways to reverse the appearance of aging . One of the best exercises to tighten up those flabby upper arms is the bench dip. Because this series of exercises are for beginners and one of the requirements was to find work out routines that can be done in the comfort of your own home with little or no additional equipment other than what can be found around the house we have substituted using a bench with a simple straight back chair.
Here are the steps:
- Begin by sitting on the edge of a chair.
- Lay your hands on the chair next to your bottom and grab the edge.
- Feet flat on the floor 2 feet in front of you knees bent.
- Lift off the chair so you are supported by your arms and hands.
- Bend elbows, dropping (dipping) your body towards the floor. Dip as far as you feel comfortable.
- Push back up, squeezing the muscles in the back of the arms.
- You want to maintain a position with your back as close to the chair as possible to reduce shoulder strain.
My suggestion is to start out doing as many as you can in one minute. Try to work yourself up to 3 one minute repetitions 3 times a week, you’ll be amazed at the results in a month or so, the triceps respond to resistance training fairly fast.
High Fiber intake reduces death risk by 23 percent.
A scientific analysis of a nine year study conducted by the National Institutes of Health and AARP has found a meaningful link between high fiber intake and longevity.
The analysis studied the results of over 400,000 people over fifty. The participants between 50 and 71 years old had fiber intake that ranged from 12.6 to 29.4 grams per day in men and from 10.8 to 25.8 grams per day in women.
The average dietary fiber for most Americans is about 12 grams a day, current US dietary guidelines recommend 28 grams for the average person eating a 2,000 calorie a day diet. This would suggest that the people in this study of people over 50 with the highest fiber intake are simply in line with the recommendations. The study excluded people with extremely high fiber intake.
Men with the highest fiber intakes had a 23% reduction in the risk of dying while women experienced a 10% reduction when compared to those eating the least amount of fiber.
It’s important to point out that the greatest benefits came from particular sources of fiber, whole grains and beans. While vegetable fiber had a small impact on longevity fruits showed no effect at all.
Fiber is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory
Most researchers believe that the anti-inflammatory effects of eating more fiber is possibly part of the reason for lower numbers in cardiovascular, respiratory, and infectious disease death.