Fly me home – what to do about those ‘angel wings’

upper arm elasticity in menopause

Author: Carolyne Anthony

Fitness expert Carolyne Anthony explains why we lose upper arm elasticity in menopause and shares some useful tips to help strengthen them. 

I don’t know about you but I first realized my upper arms were, well, a little loose, during some very enthusiastic clapping at a concert a few years ago. I very quickly brought my elbows to my waist to prevent lift off. Ever wonder why Queen Elizabeth waves the way she does?

Why does this happen?
It’s that pesky estrogen again. Estrogen builds the female shape by depositing pockets of fat on certain areas of our bodies. One of these areas is the backs of our arms. When estrogen decreases during menopause, this fat disappears and leaves in its place a whole load of loose skin which many call “ bat wings”. I prefer to call them my angel wings. They begin to grow around this time in preparation for our flight home. Now tell me that isn’t a better way of looking at it?

But if you still don’t like looking at it, there are a number of things that could help.

1. Have surgery. Yes someone has jumped on that bandwagon. Sure, cut that skin off but understand you may have lovely arms that don’t function very well.

2. Wear long sleeves. Until you have to wear a bathing suit. Then never lift your arms.


3. Get in the pool. Swimming is a great arm exercise. It doesn’t matter what stroke you use, the resistance and buoyancy of the water will work on any movement. You could even just stand in chest deep water and move your arms around to get the benefits. The resistance of water is 12X that of land. That’s some serious stuff. You could also haul yourself out of the pool several times rather than using the steps. I said several times.

4.Take up a throwing sport or just go out and throw balls around. Or things. Throw your unwanted stuff in the bin, from afar, using overhead or underhand arm movements. Tennis is good for this too, though is not in the throwing category unless you’re John MacEnroe. Holding something in your hands is beneficial for increasing hand grip strength too which seems to decrease as we get older. It’s important to be able to hold on!

5. My favorite though has been going back to ballet class. I have forgotten how much strength is needed in those arms. And they are held in a way that work the back muscles as well as the arms themselves. And you get to be creative and beautiful and ethereal while doing it.

6. You could also go to the gym and lift the weights but try something new. You’ll be so glad you did.

These tips will certainly tone and strengthen your arms but sometimes that skin will not tighten the way you want. But that’s ok. They’re our wings. We need them.

About the Author
Carolyne Anthony is the Founder/Director of the Center for Women’s Fitness. Carolyne has been in the Dance, Fitness and Pilates world for over 35 years. She has a Diploma in Dance from The Stella Mann College, UK as well as Pilates Certifications through Polestar, BASI, PhysicalMind and The PMA. Carolyne is an author, Birth Doula, Reiki practitioner, Myofascial release practitioner and an Esoteric Healer. Her company-The Center for Women’s Fitness, is a continuing education organization for women’s health courses, with more than 2000 certified teachers in 40 countries. You can contact Carolyne via email at info@thecenterforwomensfitness.com or visit her website at www.thecenterforwomensfitness.com

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