Say Goodbye to Bat Wings

Photo Credit: Sergio Savarese CC-BY-2.0 2004

Rapid weight-loss and aging can often result in loose skin. One of the most difficult areas to firm up is the back of the arm. Exercising the triceps muscle on the back of the arm can help get rid of those flabby upper arms that many people call “bat wings.” Start now with regular triceps exercises to rid yourself of flabby arms in time for short sleeve spring clothing. You will need some elastic exercise bands and a set of 2 pound to 5 pound dumbbells. See a doctor before beginning arm exercises if you have joint problems, such as arthritis, hand injury or an injured rotator cuff in the shoulder. Start slowly and rest a full day between exercising your arms. You may experience some muscle soreness after the first day or two of exercise, but this is normal. Stop exercising if you experience pain or notice any swelling and see a doctor. Pain is an indication of injury. To avoid injury and excess muscle soreness, seek the guidance of a personal fitness trainer and start slowly. 
Dumbbell tricep extensions can be done while sitting or standing. Grasp a dumbbell with both hands. Raise your arms over your head and then bend your elbows to lower the dumbbell behind your head. Lower the dumbbell until you feel your triceps muscle begin to stretch. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then bring the dumbbell up over your head again. Hold it for 3 seconds and then repeat the exercise by lowering the dumbbell behind your head again. Do a set of 5 to 10 repetitions. Stop when your arms begin to feel weak. 
Use a chair or a bench to perform triceps dips. Stand in front of a sturdy chair or an exercise bench. Turn your back to the chair and lower your body to place your hands, palms down on the seat of the chair or bench. Your fingers should be facing forward. Bend your knees until your legs are perpendicular to the floor at a 90 degree angle. Keep your elbows close to your body and bend your elbows as you lower your body.. You should feel your tricep muscles tighten. Hold the position for a 5 to 10 seconds. Straighten your elbows to raise your body up and hold for another 5 to 10 seconds. 
The traditional push-up is one of the most effective exercises for the tricep muscles. It also works your abdominal muscles, your chest, back, shoulders, legs and glutes. Beginners should do push-ups with their knees on the floor instead of stretching out their legs. Rest your weight on your knees and hands. Straighten your body so that your head, neck and back form a straight line. Place your palms under your shoulders with your fingers pointing forward. Slowly lower your upper body toward the floor by bending your elbows. Lower your body until your face is about 2 to 3 inches off the floor or as low as you can comfortably go. Hold the position for 2 seconds and then straighten your elbows to push your body back up. 

Strengthen Your Knees

Photo Credit: AKha CC-BY-SA-3.0 2011
Everyone needs strong knees. A knee injury can interfere with your normal activities and even prevent you from walking without a crutch or a walker. The time to think about your knees is before you experience an injury or knee pain. The knee joint is connected to and surrounded by several leg muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstring and calf muscle.. Strengthening these muscles can help you avoid a painful knee injury. Perform knee strengthening exercises 3 times each week with a day of rest between exercises.
Strengthen the quadriceps to help avoid knee injury by performing some squats. Stand up straight with your feet spread a few inches wider than your hips. Keep your hands at your sides with your palms facing your hips. Lower your shoulders and pull them back  Squeeze your abdominal muscles and look straight ahead. Inhale and bend your hips and knees at the same time while lowering your body to a sitting position. Keep your knees from going forward past your toes as you lower your body to a squatting position. Stop lowering your body and hold the position for a few seconds just as your heels begin to lift off the floor. Try to keep your feet from shifting and keep your knees and hips close together. Exhale and move your body back to a standing position by pushing up using your feet. Repeat this exercise 5 times and increase the number of repetitions when you feel stronger.
Calf raises strengthen the muscles in your lower leg. Strong calf and shin muscles can help prevent knee injury. Add a barbell weight to increase the effectiveness of the calf raise exercise. Beginners should perform calf raises without using a barbell or under the supervision of a personal trainer. Place a barbell with 10 to 20 pounds of weight on top of your shoulders, behind your head on your shoulders at the base of your neck. Breathe in and tighten your abdominal muscles. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and flat on the floor. Shift some of the weight to your heels for stability. Exhale and lift your heels off the floor in a rolling motion from heel to the ball of your foot. Your body weight will shift to the balls of your feet. Lean forward slightly to maintain your balance if necessary. Hold this position for a few seconds. Exhale and roll back until your feet are flat on the floor again and your body weight is on your heels.
Sit up tall on chair with your feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your thigh muscles and hold for 10 seconds. Relax for 5 seconds and repeat the 10 second squeeze. This exercise will help strengthen the quadriceps. Strengthen the hamstring by sitting on the chair with your feet flat on the floor. Pull your heels back toward the chair seat while keeping your feet on the floor. Stop when you feel the hamstring pull slightly. Hold the position for 10 seconds and then slide your feet back toward the front of the chair. Try to do 10 repetitions of this exercise. 

Sore Muscles

Photo Credit: Public Domain
When you begin an exercise program, or change your regular routine by adding new or more strenuous exercise, you may experience some muscle soreness. Muscle soreness occurs when muscles are exerted more than usual, which causes tiny tears in the muscle tissue. The muscle tissue that is torn becomes inflamed and sore. Mild muscle soreness is not unusual. Muscle tissue will normally heal quickly and soreness should go away in a couple of days.You can avoid some muscle soreness by stretching before trying a new exercise. Stretch the muscles that a new exercise will target for about 10 to 15 minutes before beginning the exercise. After exercise, take a few minutes to cool down by stretching again  for 10 to 15 minutes. See a doctor if soreness is accompanied by swelling or discoloration.
Treat sore muscles by alternating ice and heat therapy directly on the affected. Begin with an ice compress directly on the sore area to reduce inflammation. Follow-up with heat to increase the blood flow to the tissues. Increased blood flow brings more nutrients and oxygen to the cells and speeds up removal of cellular waste products that cause pain. Soreness that interferes with your normal activities can be treated with over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory pain medications, such as ibuprofen, naproxen or an aspirin. Acetaminophen will relieve pain as well. Do not exceed the maximum recommended dosage for these medications, and do not take them for more than one or two days. Check with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter pain reliever if you have any medical conditions.
Increase your daily intake of vitamin C and protein to help prepare your muscles for strenuous exercise. Extra protein after a workout will nourish your muscles and aid in more rapid repair of tiny tears that cause soreness. Take it easy for a few days while your muscles are sore, but don’t stop exercising. Concentrate your activity on other muscle groups while your sore muscles repair. If your arms are sore from lifting, focus on exercising your legs or back muscles. The affected muscles will be stronger and less prone to soreness from the same level of exertion once your muscles repair and the soreness subsides.