A low-intensity and low-impact exercise can help you to appear more 'youthful'

A low-intensity and low-impact exercise can help you to appear more 'youthful'
Diana Moran takes the GB News panel through her morning exercise routine
Anna Barry

By Anna Barry

Published: 13/01/2024

- 10:00

A Pilates instructor shared her ultimate anti-ageing workout

Pilates is a low-intensity, low-impact type of exercise that works to strengthen the muscles and improve posture.

Pilates Teacher Abby McLachlan claimed that practicing this form of exercise can make the body more “youthful” and can correct “a lifetime of poor posture”.

She warned: “Hunching over your computer or phone, carrying children and heavy bags on one side can lead the muscles in your back to become weak and strained, leading to joint and disc issues.”

But certain Pilates movements can reverse such issues that go hand in hand with ageing.

Pilates in the park

'Pilates concentrates on strengthening the deep postural muscles'


She said: “Pilates concentrates on strengthening the deep postural muscles, raising awareness of how one stands and the general alignment of hips, spine and head.

“This awareness alone can go a long way to improving posture, but the strength built with highly targeted, specific exercises will support the spinal column, in effect future-proofing your body.”

Pilates also works to relieve back pain, as it focuses on supporting the muscles around your spine and cultivating strong muscles around other joints.

It can also make the body appear more toned and younger and called it an "anti-ageing" exercise regime.

Pilates guru Abby shared her top exercises for anti-ageing.

Back Health

Abby said: "The first move is a glute bridge. This strengthens your bum and stretches your lower spine all at once. 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.

"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.

"Thoracic lifts are good for building upper and middle back strength and go a long way to reversing the damage modern life extols. 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."

Pilates class

'The strength built with highly targeted, specific exercises will support the spinal column'


Pelvic Floor

The expert stated: "Many women will have heard about the importance of keeping their pelvic floor strong but perhaps questioned why. It is normal as part of the ageing process for the pelvic floor muscles to 'relax', but as these muscles are responsible for the stabilisation of the pelvis and its organs it’s important to keep the area strong in order to maintain control over the bladder, bowels and, in women, uterus.

"Reduced pelvic floor strength can lead to a number of different issues including incontinence, lower back pain and reduced sexual pleasure. There are many fantastic pelvic specialists so if you would like to know more or think you may have any issues do consult a physio first.

"There are a number of different ways to engage your 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 10 times on each leg."

Bone Density & Low impact exercise

Abby continued: "We all know exercise is good for us but it can be hard to motivate yourself to do a gruelling HIIT workout at the end of a long day at work. Regular Low Impact workouts such as Barre and Pilates have been proven to be very effective in the improvement of cardiovascular health and therefore help maintain a healthy metabolism.

"Low impact workouts allow the joints to remain safe and stable (which is incredibly important as the body ages) whilst still working on muscular and 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."

The Pilates guru concluded: “Anyone can do the exercises and benefit from them, whatever their age or level of physical fitness although if you have any injuries or postural issues, or you are post natal, please always seek advice from a qualified Pilates teacher, and ensure you have the sign off from your health professional before starting.

”Similarly in pregnancy, please always go to a pre-natal trained teacher, as there are exercises that are not suitable in pregnancy.”

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