Yesterday I received a question about how to tone the arms. The person mentioned they have been carrying 2 1/2 pound weights while walking. Here is my response:
I actually don't recommend carrying any weight when you are walking - it can throw off your alignment and cause lower back pain. It was a big deal for a few years back in the 80's or 90's, but it's really not a good idea at all. If you want to carry weight while walking (which isn't necessary), buy a weighted vest. You can get one specifically designed for walking for about $20.
If you do the indoor Leslie Sansone walking videos, she uses weights sometimes, but I haven't seen them so I don't know what to say about that. Honestly, that's more marching than walking, so it's probably okay.
However, it is usually more effective to do your walking, do some HIIT during it, and keep your weight lifting seperate.
As far as upper arm exercises, I would recommend investing in some 5 and 7 or 8 pound dumbbells for bicep curls, hammer curls, and Cohen curls. You want to be fatigued between 6-8 reps. Start with 2-3 sets of any one exercise.
For triceps, do skullcrushers (lying overhead tricep extensions), standing tricep extensions, and chair dips (you use your body weight for chair dips). Most likely you will use a lower weight for triceps than you do with biceps, but you still want to be fatigued around 6-8 reps.
You can do up to 12-15 reps, but you don't want to do any more than that. The key is to make sure the weight is heavy enough that you can NOT do more than that. For some of my exercises I do 8 reps, for some I do 12. But that's pretty much the most I do, as far as weight lifting goes.
You should also do shoulder raises to the side, at a 45-degree angle, and straight forward. These can be done with 2.5-3 pound weights. I like to do 15, with a total of 5 at each of the angles. So I do side, 45, straight, 45, side, etc, until I've hit them all. I only do this once as my shoulders pop easier than any other muscle. If yours don't, 2 sets may be helpful.
All of these exercises can be googled, and there will be videos of them. You need to lift the heaviest weights you can to get results. This is the ONLY thing that will give people the "toned" look they want. There are also some examples of these and other exercises here:
Check under Exercise Schedule for a great beginner's program!
Of course you will eventually have to address all of the upper body to get a great physique, and include exercises for the chest and back. But this question specifically addressed the arms. :)