You’re so vain. You probably think this post is about you. You’re not alone. Both men and women are concerned about flab. We all want to banish bingo wings. Sagging skin happens to all of us eventually. The ageing process just works that way. With a few lifestyle tweaks and the right toning exercises, however, the march of time can be delayed. We’d like to set you on the right path so that you can say ‘sayonara’ to your saddlebags and other saggy bits. Read on…
Reduced to the very basics, you can blame flabby arms and legs on a lack of physical activity. When you’re too sedentary, muscles atrophy. If they’re not being used, they lose strength and tone. This often results in loose skin that sags – but it’s never too late to turn it round. You just need a bit of motivation and a few simple exercises. Of course, the elasticity of the skin takes time to recover. In addition to movement, you’ll want to consider a few other things:
- Crash diets are unsustainable. In the long run, they’re unhealthy. When you drop pounds rapidly, you’re more likely to gain it back – often with a few extra added pounds. The skin begins to sag because it’s been stretched, shrunk and stretched again.
- Practise safe sun. UV rays are cause free radical damage that affects the fibres of the dermis.
- Ditch the cigarettes. They’re one of the main culprits of premature ageing.
- Eat whole foods that are nutrient dense. Get plenty of dietary fibre and eliminate trans fats. Choose unsaturated and omega 3 fats, instead. Fat is not the enemy. You just need to make sure it’s the healthy kind.
- Get into the habit of exercising at least three times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes at a time. You don’t have to always do the same thing. Switch it up. Swim, hike, bike, walk, roller skate. Weight training is perfect for overall toning.
- Stay hydrated. Water is your friend. Back away – quickly – from the energy drinks.
Popular ways to lose the loose skin
- Rub a good dollop of aloe vera gel on baggy skin. Warm it up a bit in your hands and smooth it on in circular motions. This should be a weekly treat. You’ll soon feel much firmer.
- Scoop the flesh from two figs and blend it with the juice of a lemon until you have a smooth paste. At night, near bedtime, massage into your problem areas and leave it on the skin for 20 minutes. Rinse off with cold water and dry thoroughly.
- Add half a cup of apple juice to the juice of half a melon. Gently massage the mixture into those areas that you’d like to be firmer. After a few minutes, wash off the residue. To get the most from this remedy, do it twice weekly.
- Chop a small melon into chunks and remove the rind. Put the melon into a blender with half a cup of water and the juice of one lemon. Blitz well. Saturate gauze with the mixture and wrap it round the saggy areas.
- Add two tablespoons of ground flaxseed to four tablespoons of hot water. Stir it into a paste. Blend in two drops of cypress essential oil and spread the paste onto a cloth. Fold the cloth in half and cover area, then wrap with plastic to contain the mess. Let it rest for at least 20 minutes, then unwrap and rinse away any residue. You can enjoy this treatment at least twice a week.
- Chuck a handful of kombu seaweed into a glass of water to rehydrate it. Leave it for three hours, then use the liquid to massage into legs. Be gentle and sweep on in circles – especially in places where you desire firmer skin.
A call to (tighter, more toned) arms
If your arms are feeling a bit floppier than you’d like them to be, you can do something about it. Toning exercises can put things right. They’re easy to do at home, so there’s no need to pay over the odds to join a gym or leisure centre – and that means no excuses! Here’s what to do:
- Press-ups are a classic for getting your guns in order. Just lie on the floor and support the weight of your body with your arms. Been a while? You can bend your knees and use them to bear your weight for stability. This method will also reduce the strain on your back. If you’re in doubt, start on your knees and build your strength. Then, you can straighten your legs and do your press-ups whilst putting all the weight on your toes.
- If you’ve lost your free weights in the loft, don’t despair. Fill empty water bottle with sand or water to approximate dumbbells. You can start out with lighter bottles and fill them fuller as you gain strength. Now, stand with legs slightly apart. Lift your weight or bottle with your left hand straight above your head. Use your right hand to support your elbow. Raise and lower the bottle behind you as you stretch your arm without touching your head. Do 10 repetitions, then alternate sides and do another 10 reps. Repeat so that you do two sets of 10 on each side.
- For this exercise, you’ll need a small ball made of foam rubber. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart. Place the ball between your right hand and the side of the same leg. With the palm of your hand, press into the ball as hard as you can. Do 20 repetitions and switch sides to do another 20.
Learn to love your legs
No matter how you feel about your legs, if you’ve got ’em…flaunt ’em. After all, they get you from A to B pretty well, don’t they? Love them! One of the best ways you can show your appreciation is to keep them firm and fit. One you establish a routine and make a commitment to exercise, it won’t take long to see results. Choose activities that you enjoy – and mix it up, too. You can cycle, use a climbing machine, jog, walk or skate. Snub the lift. Take the stairs, instead. Every little helps! Four days a week for 30-60 minutes is all it takes.
Squats are also a brilliant way to tighten and tone your legs and thighs. Just put your back against a wall and raise and lower your body by bending your knees. When you’ve finished your squats, do lunges whilst holding light hand weights. Four sets of twelve reps ought to do it! Soon, you’ll see a sleek, new you!