Last month while contemplating the topic of my next magazine article, I received the following question from a loyal Kalon reader:
‘For heaven’s sake, will you please write something about what causes and how to get rid of these darn bat wings under my arms that seem to have sprouted overnight?! Signed, Georgia Peach.’
The question made me smile and clap my hands when I read it. Several seconds later, the backs of my arms finally stopped wiggling.
What’s that old adage… ‘Write what you know…?’ EGAD. So, Georgia Peach, I will say ‘This one’s for you’ but Truth be told, I’ll also be taking notes!
We all know exercise is important. We also know going through Menopause can be one of the biggest shocks to the female system in any woman’s life. As a matter of fact, next to childbirth, it’s THE biggest.
After Menopause, declining hormones impact A LOT and if you’ve been reading my articles over these past many years, you know these hormonal shifts can negatively impact our skin, hair, nails, weight, libido and mood. They also impact muscle mass and fat storage. This means that after Menopause, declining hormones can impact YOUR bottom line if you’re not careful – and your underarms too.
Let’s take a closer look:
It’s been proven that as we age, we tend to lose lean muscle and gain fat, especially around the waist, thighs and behind. The underarms are another area that gets hit with this less-than-perfect storm. Muscle mass is lost, fat accumulates and voila: arm flab or more lovingly called “Bat Wings” appear as if by cruel magic. The fact that a lot of us tend to become less active as we age doesn’t help matters.
Menopause can be an exhausting process and often brings with it rather deep and profound fatigue; Physical fatigue, Emotional fatigue, Mental fatigue. As estrogen declines, so does not only muscle and bone mass – but muscle and bone strength.
Giving in to inactivity occasionally is one thing. Giving in to it and embracing it as the New Normal is a very, very bad idea, especially for the long-term.
Hospitals and nursing homes are filled with withered women -not all of them old- unable to walk or stand on their own, and muscle wasting is the chief culprit. And while there can be many reasons for this condition, (known as Sarcopenia) lifestyle is first and foremost, closely followed by hormone and metabolic decline.
With declining hormones comes slowing metabolism and resultant thyroid and adrenal issues. Losing muscle mass causes a struggling metabolism to slow even further and before you know it, you’re caught in a vicious cycle, growing weaker and weaker and fatter and flabbier.
Add to this, oxidative stressors from poor diet, smoking, drug use (prescription and recreational) and the damaging effects of stress-induced increased cortisol levels and it just gets worse. Sounds pretty discouraging doesn’t it?
Don’t despair! As with most things, there’s lots we can do to help ourselves and our resultant outcome… some easier than others….
Certain forms of hormone replacement therapy have been shown to work absolute wonders, especially where metabolism/muscle health and strength and cognition/mood enhancement are concerned, but again this requires a lot of research and tweaking and is something that demands you be your own best advocate; sourcing a medical doctor and/or Naturopath well-schooled in bio identical hormone replacement therapy. Keeping your hormones balanced helps everything. Difficult – but so worth it.
Additionally, it’s believed that Vitamin D3 supplementation can be a very powerful tool to help fight Sarcopenia in post-Menopausal women. So much so, that a newer study out of Brazil has shown amazing muscle strengthening and preservation benefits even after women have been in Menopause for almost 12 full years. That’s pretty potent and significant.
Full spectrum mineral supplementation, adequate protein intake and assimilation, and even just mild forms of exercise have all been shown to have significantly favorable impact on the post-Menopausal body.
Not up to power lifting in the gym 20 hours a week to get rid of that arm flab? Not necessary. Even moderate activity like moving furniture and vacuuming, gardening, going up and down stairs regularly or walking around the block for 30 minutes a few days a week provides benefit to an aging musculature.
Another point of interest:
Several studies are showing benefit to bone health, blood sugar maintenance and cognition by consuming a few alcoholic drinks per week – in moderation. With that said however, other studies are showing that heavy alcohol consumption -in post Menopausal women especially- actually accelerates muscle loss. So just what’s a Girl to do??
Remember the mantra ‘Moderation in all things’, keep a sharp eye out for all the latest studies, listen to your body, feed yourself well – small meals often so blood sugar levels stay consistent, get your hormones checked and pursue bio identical HRT if your physician feels that’s a wise option for you, be sure to have your thyroid hormones/cortisol and DHEA levels checked too because they have direct bearing on bone, muscle and metabolic health, get enough quality sleep each night, and hightail it over to Hadley Sorensen’s article: The Truth About Arm Fat and Exercises to Help Improve It! She’s got some powerful exercises mapped out for you and your dawdling underarms and many additional tips and hints that will be of great help to you regarding this pesky issue.
After all Ladies, it’s true: Bat wings only look really good on Bats!
Copyright 2018 Carrie E. Pierce all rights reserved
Health and Beauty has been Carrie E. Pierce’s career focus for over 28 years.
Throughout her career, Carrie has served as: Guest and Corporate Makeup Artist for numerous major, international cosmetic companies and as a Hollywood film, TV and special effects makeup artist.
She’s provided skin care and makeup services for the fashion industry, as well as restorative make up procedures for burn and scar patients, cancer patients, domestic violence survivors and women suffering with self-esteem issues.
Carrie is a licensed Aesthetician, Certified Color Analyst, Menopause Skin Care Specialist, Author and Co Host of a nationally syndicated radio show.
Together with Life Coach Kris Cavanaugh Castro, Carrie has co created a coaching program created especially for Midlife women- and the men who love them. Called ‘Making Peace With Menopause’ this program covers the myriad health, beauty, emotional, spiritual and mental aspects of the Menopause journey.
It’s Carrie’s mission and her passion to help women be the best they can be – especially as they move through Midlife!