4 anti-ageing exercises to give women a ‘completely new body’
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Looking younger isn’t all skin treatments, makeup and wearing the right clothes – sometimes it’s as simple as exercise on a mat. Pilates instructor Abby McLachlan spoke to Express.co.uk about the best workouts mature women can do to look and feel better fast.
Pilates focuses on spinal alignment and the small muscles around the spine and is also considered a “mind-body practice, matching breath to movement”.
The expert explained that Pilates has both physical and mental benefits – the exercises will make you look and feel “youthful”.
The “low intensity, low impact” aspect of it means that it’s accessible to almost anyone, regardless of ability.
However, it’s always best to consult a qualified Pilates teacher beforehand and be signed off by a health professional, particularly those with any injuries or postural issues, or who are pre or post natal.
Abby recalled a quote by founder Joseph Pilates himself: “If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30 you are old; if it is completely flexible at 60 you are young.”
Practising Pilates regularly can totally a person’s body shape, burning fat and transforming it into lean muscle.
Indeed, Joseph Pilates said: “You will feel better in 10 sessions, look better in 20 sessions, and have a completely new body in 30 sessions.”
Abby shared her top anti-ageing Pilates moves for looking and feeling better in no time.
Anti-aging Pilates workouts
Abby instructed: “Think of your spine as a pearl necklace – you must pick your spine up, bone by bone, by curling your pelvis and pressing up with your bum until your body is in a straight line at the top.
“Then melt back down, ribcage first, still squeezing your glutes until you have landed your pelvis. These are great to do just after waking up, when your spine is still relaxed and malleable.”
The expert explained that glute bridges “strengthen your bum and stretch your lower spine all at once”.
She continued: “Second, try the hip twist. Lay flat on the floor with your arms out wide, palms down. Stabilise your core and bring your legs into table top.
“Keep your back as flat as you can and twist your hips up and over to one side, then up and over to the other side, keeping your knees together.”
Next, Abby recommended thoracic lifts for “building upper and middle back strength”.
She said: “Lay on the floor face down, with one hand on top of the other and your forehead on your hands. With your feet together, stretch your head away from your feet and come into a low hover as you inhale. Exhale to lower back down.
“Try to slide your shoulder blades down to your back pockets and open your collarbones as you lift to engage as many muscles as you can and support your lumbar spine.”
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Abby stressed the importance of engaging the pelvic floor, as the muscles “relax” as we age.
However, it’s super important to keep this area strong as “these muscles are responsible for the stabilisation of the pelvis and its organs”.
Without this strength, it’s difficult to maintain control over the bladder, bowels and, in women, uterus.
Abby explained: “Reduced pelvic floor strength can lead to a number of different issues including incontinence, lower back pain and reduced sexual pleasure.”
The expert advised seeking out a pelvic specialist for any women experiencing issues, however she also gave a few suggestions on how to engage the pelvic floor.
“A simple yet effective way is a Pilates exercise known as Toe taps. Lying on your back, take a deep inhale breath and on the exhale gently draw one leg at a time to a table top position (90 degree angle) focusing on engaging your pelvic floor and puling your belly button towards your spine. Repeat 10X each leg.”
Bone Density and low impact exercise
Exercise does not always have to be a gruelling, high-energy HIIT workout – “regular low impact workouts such as Barre and Pilates have been proven to be very effective in the improvement of cardiovascular health.” Abby explained.
“Low impact workouts allow the joints to remain safe and stable (which is incredibly important as the body ages) whilst still working on muscular endurance and increasing the heart rate. Low impact workouts are especially beneficial for increasing bone density which is vital in preventing osteoporosis.
“Static lunges are my favourite way to get a quick fix workout in – lunges require you to focus on the alignment of the shoulders, engaging your abdominal wall and strengthening your quadriceps and glutes.”
Abby McLachlan is a Pilates teacher and founder of East of Eden.
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