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Get Great Looking Arms Without Surgery with These Three Exercises

fitness, workout, exercise, arm exercises, toned arms

According to a new report released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a rising trend in plastic surgery is the upper arm lift with more than 15,000 surgeries performed last year. However, to get thinner, more toned arms, you do not need to resort to surgery, which generally costs between $6,000 and $8,000. Just try these three exercises designed by fitness expert Denise Austin.

Dr. David Reath, a plastic surgeon in Knoxville, Tennessee, suggests that the increase in patients seeking upper arm lifts may be related to successful weight loss. "When people are successful with weight loss — either through surgery, or with diet and exercise — they can end up with excess skin on their arms," Reath said.

Rapid weight loss in particular can result in loose, excess skin in many areas of the body. While skin cells on the outer layer of skin – the epidermis – are constantly being lost and replaced, the cells under the epidermis, within the dermis and the subdermis, are a bit more permanent. They also contain elastic connective tissues and fibers that can stretch or contract. Skin stretches to accommodate weight gain, whether it is through normal growth, excess calorie intake or pregnancy. However, when you lose weight, these elastic components of your skin not only lose the layers of fat that keep them stretched out over your body, but they also don’t have much time for their elasticity to adapt to your new shape, resulting in loose skin.

Several other factors also affect skin elasticity, including age, nutrition, dehydration, excessive sun exposure and smoking. Staying properly hydrated, eating the right foods, and caring for your skin can all have a positive impact on keeping your skin healthy and strong. In addition, adding strength training exercises to your weight loss program can help the skin tighten more quickly.

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Denise Austin, an American fitness instructor and former member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, has designed an upper body workout for Prevention magazine that focuses on the arms, shoulders and chest. Do two 30-second sets of each exercise. Work up to 1-minute sets. Keep the movements slow and controlled; rest for 30 to 60 seconds between sets. Do two or three sessions a week. (For best results, you can do daily sessions; this is safe because you're only lifting your body weight.)

1. Low Hover - Kneel on a mat with your hands under your shoulders. Extend your legs, and press into the balls of your feet so you're balancing in a push-up position. Pull your abs up and in. Keeping your tummy tight, bend your elbows back, and lower your body until you are just a few inches off the floor. Keep your elbows and arms close to your torso. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds. If you have back problems, try the easier version.

2. Chair Dip - Sit with the heels of your hands on the edge of a sturdy chair seat. Slide your butt off the seat, and support your weight with your hands. Straighten your right leg; your left leg should be bent at about a 90-degree angle. Bend your elbows back, and slowly lower your butt toward the floor. Keep your elbows tucked in. Your body should just clear the seat. Push back up until your arms are straight; don't use your feet for help. Do one set of 8 to 15 repetitions. Repeat with your left leg extended.

3. Triceps Stretch - Raise your left arm straight overhead, then bend it behind your head toward your right shoulder blade. Grabbing your left elbow with your right hand, gently pull the elbow toward your right shoulder to increase the stretch. Hold for 20 seconds, then repeat with your right arm.

When to Consider Surgery for Loose Skin
Skin can only be stretched so far before it loses some of its ability to snap back. If you’ve had a 9-month pregnancy, then you’ll likely be able to easily tighten your loose skin. But if you’ve carried a hundred or more extra pounds for many years, you may be a candidate for plastic surgery to tighten and lift loose skin. Talk with your doctor about a referral to a qualified plastic surgeon.