Study after study reveals that muscle tone in the arms is a significant predictor of longevity and a younger RealAge (strong grip strength, pecs, core and upper back help, too) and it’s not something you can gain by hailing taxis or gesturing wildly. Turns out that if your upper arms are too big (and flabby) or too skinny, you’re at increased risk for heart disease and cancer.
So don’t think a busy life will provide you with the upper-arm strength you need to stay healthy. You need those oh-so-important 10,000 steps a day, no excuses—and we suggest making sure you do two-to-three-times a week strength-training sessions that include over-the-head arm raises, triceps toners, using the arm bike at the gym and routines with push-ups like the ones at sharecare.com. (BTW: Carrying weights while walking is the leading cause of rotator cuff damage. Only do it with proper instruction and for 20-30 minutes twice a week.) You’ll decrease your risk for heart disease, obesity, sexual dysfunction, certain cancers…plus, get better posture, a less-congested torso (let those internal organs have some space), better breathing, less shoulder and lower back problems and a better complexion!
Medically reviewed in January 2019.