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Over 60? Add this strengthening exercise to your daily routine

Fitness expert Lucy Charles-Barclay shares the low-impact, full-body routine we need in our sixties and beyond

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Melanie Macleod
Wellness Editor
12 April 2024
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What do JLo, Victoria Beckham and Jennifer Aniston all have in common? As well as stellar careers, amazing hair and impossible fortunes… They all credit their toned physiques to planking.

And it turns out, the super simple bodyweight move isn't just for A-listers who already have killer bodies – it's also the perfect workout more for mere mortals, especially those of us over 60, according to  triathlon champion and fitness expert Lucy Charles-Barclay, who just so happens to be the current world Ironman Champion and is competing in the London T100 Triathlon event this summer - and performs planks every day.

"Planking is an excellent exercise for seniors because it's a low-impact, full-body workout that strengthens the core, which is crucial for balance and stability," Lucy says.

Woman in blue workout gear and sweatband© Instagram
Lucy Charles-Barclay is the current world Ironman Champion

"It also engages multiple muscle groups without putting strain on the joints, making it safe and effective for maintaining overall muscle tone and supporting joint health."

What are the benefits of planking?

"The benefits of planking for older adults include improved core strength and stability, enhanced balance (which can help reduce risk of falls), better posture, and possibly alleviation of lower back pain," Lucy explains.

"Additionally, planking can contribute to a stronger pelvic floor, improved metabolic rate and even had mental health benefits due to the focus and concentration required to maintain the position."

Building your strength

If the idea of planking sounds beyond the realms of possibility, don't fret. There are ways to add it into your routine, as the move can be modified for your fitness level.

 READ: I look better at 70 than I did at 30 – here's how

"You can gradually build your strength for planking by starting with modified versions," Lucy confirms. "Begin by planking on your knees, and remember that consistency is key, so incorporating short planking sessions into your daily routine and gradually increasing the duration as you become stronger will yield significant improvements.

Woman in her 60s doing pilates at home on a yoga mat. She is balancing on her forearms and looking down towards the floor.© Getty
Planking is a great exercise as we get older

"Additionally, incorporating other complementary exercises such as yoga or Pilates can further enhance your core strength and overall planking ability."

Expert reassurance

For anyone wary of adding something new to their routine, Lucy has some solid professional advice.

"Planking is so adaptable to your fitness level," she reassures. "It's important to start with what feels comfortable for you, even if that means beginning with very short durations or modified positions.

Full length of young female with curly hair doing plank in living room. Fit woman wearing sportswear practicing yoga. She is at home.© Getty
Planking has many health benefits

"Success with planking, like any exercise, comes from gradual progression. Your ability to plank will improve over time with patience, persistence and practice.

"It's also beneficial to consult with a fitness professional who can provide personalised guidance and adjustments to ensure safety and effectiveness," she adds.

Introducing HELLO!'s Second Act

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HELLO! wanted to create a space dedicated to sharing incredible stories from midlife; somewhere you can find inspiring stories of like-minded women, living their best life beyond 45.

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For too long, we were expected to fade into the background when we hit 45, but we're here to reframe your Second Act as a celebratory, exciting new chapter with endless possibilities ahead.

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Lucy is competing in T100 Triathlon World Tour, a global eight-stop series featuring the best triathletes in the world competing against each other in iconic locations including Singapore, San Francisco, London, Las Vegas and Dubai during 2024. The races are over 100km triathlons, which include a 2km swim, 80km bike and 18km run. 

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