We have all caught ourselves gazing enviously at a great set of arms and shoulders. They just give the body such beautiful shape and poise. Toned arms and strong shoulders are not only fabulous for short sleeves and tight tops, they help give the rest of your daily activities the extra boost you need.
A strong upper body helps counteract a lot of our daily activities such as sitting at a desk, looking down at our phones or simply slothing in front of the TV. As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass – called sarcopenia. This starts as early as our 20’s and can be as much as 40% of our muscle mass by the time we are in our 60’s. As your upper body strength deteriorates through aging, you are more prone to injuries, disease and a diminished quality of life.
Distance runners benefit from a strong upper body, as shoulders tend to slump forward as runners get fatigued, this droopy posture will ultimately slow runners down. Cyclists riding for speed bend the top half of their body toward their handlebars, with arms and shoulders taking a good chunk of the impact and force of the ride so we definitely need upper body strength for that.`Hobbies such as bush walking and croquet are much more enjoyable and sustainable with a strong upper body also. Backpacks filled with picnic supplies and sports bags loaded up with mallets and balls can get quite heavy, fatigue can set in quickly and shorten the length of time you are able to engage in these types of activities.
In this video our Pilates instructor Elisa demonstrates four versatile exercises aimed at building toned arms and strong shoulders. These exercises engage a range of upper body muscles including: triceps, biceps, supraspinatus, teres minor and our deltoid muscles. Our core muscles are keenly engaged to maintain posture through the full range of motion of each of these exercises as are our obliques during rotation. Pilates always gives more than you expect and as you can see you are exercising a much larger group of muscles than you might consider.
Did you know that having greater muscle tissue gives the body a much better opportunity to burn calories? Who needs any more motivation than that to invest some time in building muscle mass!