If you tend to store fat in your arms, you're more likely to develop hypertension, heart disease and type 2 diabetes than someone who usually gains fat in their legs and hips. Upper body fat is characteristic of the apple body type, as opposed to a pear body type, which leads more to fat gain in the legs and hips. If you have an apple shape, you'll find it more challenging to develop arms like First Lady Michelle Obama, but it's not impossible.
Causes of Arm Fat
Genetics play a role in determining your body type and where you'll gain and lose weight. Some of the genes involved in body fat distribution also play a role in regulating cholesterol, insulin, insulin resistance and triglyceride levels, according to a study conducted by a group of international scientists that was published in the journal "Nature Genetics" in 2010. During menopause, hormonal activity also shifts weight from your lower body to your abdomen and upper body. Beyond biology, there's also a social component. From an early age, young girls are discouraged from performing traditional pushups, which increases loss of muscle mass and flabbiness in the upper body.
Exercise and Fat Burning
Both high-intensity and low-intensity exercise increases fat-burning and weight loss. High-intensity exercises such as running or cycling in a group cycle class will help you burn calories and lose weight more quickly than low-intensity exercises such as walking. However low-intensity exercises more effectively burn fat as they do not use up glycogen stores as quickly as more vigorous activity.
Exercising for Weight Loss
While some people can lose weight by doing 150 minutes of aerobic exercises weekly, others may need to exercise for as long as 300 minutes, which is equivalent to 60 minutes, five days a week. To ensure that you're exercising at a pace to lose weight efficiently, you need to work out within your target heart rate zone, which is about 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, according to the American Heart Association. Subtract your age from 220 to determine your maximum heart rate.
Muscle-building exercises should also be part of your weight loss plan to lose overall body fat and arm fat. Muscles burn more calories than body fat, so the more you have of it, the more quickly you'll lose weight. Upper-body strength training is essential for toning your arm muscles. However, you should focus on all your large muscles groups during your workout -- not just your arms. Do strength training at three days a week.
To lose arm fat more quickly, combine your exercise plan with a slimming, well-balanced diet that includes foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. Reduce or eliminate fattening foods such as refined carbohydrates and those rich in saturated and trans fat. Do not skip meals because your metabolism will slow down, and you'll burn calories and fat more slowly as a result.
- Wellcome Trust: New Insights Into The Genetics Of Body Shape
- Nature Genetics: Meta-analysis Identifies 13 New Loci Associated with Waist-Hip Ratio and Reveals Sexual Dimorphism in the Genetic Basis of Fat Distribution
- Moms Today: Reveal Yourself – Fit Arms and Shoulders for Summer
- American Heart Association: Target Heart Rates
- Weight-control Information Network: Physical Activity and Weight Control