If you’ve noticed an unwelcome jiggle in your
arms or bulge in your midsection, you’re not
alone. As we age, our metabolism slows, the
ratio of fat to muscle grows and fat gets deposited
higher on the body. Fortunately, simple exercises can
target these trouble spots.
Tone Your Belly
We automatically think “crunches.” Instead, Sherry
says the more efficient route is exercises where your
hands and feet are on the floor; this way you’re
working the transversus abdominis (abdominal)
muscle. Things like pushups or yoga poses such as
“downward-facing dog,” “upward-facing dog” or “plank”
(photo to the right) all achieve this.
Place hands or elbows on the floor and toes on the
floor at hip width apart, as if you’re doing a pushup.
Keeping back straight, lift your body off the floor,
pulling your belly button toward your spine
Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Keep breath smooth and
steady, back straight and parallel to floor.
Slowly lower to the floor and then repeat four more
“When your hands are on the floor and
your feet are on the floor, the force
goes to the middle – the weak spot in
that structure,” explains Sherry. “The
other thing you can do is interval work,
changing your pace or changing the
type of exercise – on a bike, walking,
running or swimming. For example, jog
a minute, then walk a minute. Those
little pickups in intensity will ultimately
flatten your belly.”
Tone Your Arms
“A lot of women pick a 3- or 5-pound weight and do bicep
curls,” says Sherry. “For this to work, you need to do three
sets of 12 to 20 repetitions, and number 20 has to feel
really hard. If you could have done 10 more, that weight
was too light, and you should increase it for the same
number of repetitions next time.”
Tone Both at Once
“You don’t need a separate arm and core workout,” Sherry
points out. “Try yoga – you’re always putting your hands on
the ground and holding them up in the air in a way that’s
more intense than picking up a 3-pound weight. Or try
exercises that rapidly alternate arm and leg movement, like
the Prone Leg Flutter.”
Prone Leg Flutter:
Lie on your stomach with forearms and toes on the
Lift your pelvis off the floor, keeping your body
Alternate lifting your right and left legs.
Perform two sets of 10 to 12 repetitions each.
View DVD video previews of additional exercises in the
“Performance Programs” section of the Michigan Institute
for Human Performance website at www.mihp.net.
A Case of the Jiggles
Sherry McLaughlin, physical therapist and president and founder of Michigan Institute for
Human Performance, Inc. (MIHP), provides quick and easy exercises to tone the arms and middle.