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sarah jessica parker split with women doing barre© Getty

Sarah Jessica Parker's obsession with 'toning and strengthening' is perfect for over 50s

We break down the And Just Like That star's Barre workout secret

Katie Daly
Lifestyle Writer
May 17, 2024
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Sarah Jessica Parker seems to be aging in reverse. The Sex and the City icon, 59, was seen treading the Met Gala red carpet earlier this month with the executive producer of The Real Housewives franchise, Andy Cohen, looking as youthful as ever.

But how does she stay so fit? Every A-lister has their go-to workout routine, preferred mode of fitness, or sporty obsession but the And Just Like That... star's may not be what you would expect. 

Sarah Jessica Parker attends The 2024 Met Gala Celebrating "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)© Getty
Sarah Jessica Parker attended The 2024 Met Gala

SJP famously wore tulle ballet skirts as Carrie Bradshaw so it is hardly a stretch (pun intended) to say that the actress would love a Barre workout. The Hocus Pocus actress reportedly loves to take part in a regular Barre workout at Physique 57 in New York. So what makes this such an effective workout?

Sarah Jessica Parker wearing a hoodie in New York City© Getty
Sarah Jessica Parker has maintained a youthful glow

HELLO! spoke to two Barre experts to get the full-low down on the Here and Now actress' fitness obsession…

What is a Barre workout?

You may have visions of young children in tutus when you think of Barre, but it is a serious workout. Lottie Anderson, founder of Bondi Rise, explains what it actually involves. "Barre is a dynamic fusion of Pilates, ballet, and fitness, using the classic ballet Barre and small equipment," she says.

Why have Barre workouts have increased in popularity in recent years?

As with yoga and Pilates, Barre has seen a rise in popularity in recent years and has even gone TikTok-viral. Lottie explains why novices are turning to the Barre for a full-body burn. "With an emphasis on mindfulness and breath control, Barre classes offer participants improved flexibility, posture, and mental focus," the expert explains. 

"Additionally, the accessibility of Barre workouts has made them appealing to a wide range of individuals looking for a challenging yet inclusive fitness option."

 group of young women do barre  workout together at modern gym© Getty
Barre is favoured by A-listers like Sarah Jessica Parker

Barre isn't just an excuse to invest in some cute yoga leggings - it offers a range of bodily benefits. Paola di Lanzo, founder of Paola's Body Barre, explains that the benefits of Barre workouts are six-fold: muscle-toning, improved flexibility, improved posture, increased endurance, enhanced balance, it is low impact making it safer on joints. 

Side view photo of a woman practicing with a barre in the studio© Getty
Barre increases flexibility

Why is Barre a great workout for over the 50s?

Despite Barre's popularity amongst Gen Z TikTok users, it is an exceptionally effective workout for women over 50, like SJP. "I, for one, am going through perimenopause at present and the benefits for me extend beyond the physical," admits Paola. 

"It is well known that women over 50 suffer from muscle deterioration and lower bone density, which Barre can help counteract, but at the same time, it's the mental clarity that Barre provides that helps those going through things such as menopause."

Barre fit exercise class. Group of people in a row at a barre workout class© Getty
Barre is popular among Gen Z but is great for women over 50

Lottie concurs. "It targets multiple muscle groups simultaneously, promoting stability, balance, and flexibility," she says. "Its emphasis on mindfulness fosters a strong mind-body connection, while the cardiovascular component boosts heart health and endurance."

Getting into Barre as a beginner

The safest way to get into Barre, our experts say, is to find a local class where you can be led by a qualified instructor. Paola does, however, say that beginners can start by buying a resistance band, a set of light hand weights and ankle weights, and a Pilates ball. 

woman stands at the ballet bar and does some warm-up exercises on toes© Getty
Join a barre class to see the benefits for yourself

Complete novices may struggle to spot the signs of a safe and effective Barre class - but Lottie is on hand to help. "A good Barre class effectively challenges participants while emphasising proper form and technique," the Barre instructor explains. "I always recommend finding friendly instructors who are hands-on so they can ensure your form is correct, and therefore getting the most out of your workout. 

group of young women do a barre workout together at a modern gym. They are facing the wall, gripping the bar with both hands, and doing repetitions of squats, with one foot crossed over the opposite thigh.© Getty
Barre increases strength

"With motivating cues, upbeat music, and a supportive atmosphere, participants leave feeling energized, accomplished, and with improved strength, flexibility, and overall wellbeing."

Sarah Jessica Parker looked stunning at the gala performance after party for "Plaza Suite" at The Savoy Hotel© Getty
Sarah Jessica Parker maintains a toned figure through barre workouts

Paola recommends a class lasting between 45 and 60 minutes. "The more rigorous, cardio classes tend to be set at 45 minutes," she tells us. "Barre workouts are an excellent form of exercise to introduce to your weekly routine, whether you combine it with strength classes, running, spinning or any other form of exercise. If it’s combined with other style workouts one to two classes a week would be a great complement."

When will you start to see results?

Lottie reminds us that the timeframe for seeing results with a Barre workout can vary depending on factors such as individual fitness level, a balanced diet, consistency of practice, and specific goals. 

Actress Sarah Jessica Parker arrives for HBO's Emmy party at Spago's September 10, 2000 in Beverly Hills, CA.© Getty
Sarah Jessica Parker's noughties balletic vibes carry through to her workout routine

However, she does say that "many people may start to notice improvements in strength, flexibility, and muscle tone within a few weeks of regular practice, typically 3 to 4 times per week."

She adds: "It's important to remember that progress is gradual and may vary from person to person, so staying committed to your Barre practice and maintaining a balanced lifestyle are key to achieving long-lasting results."

 Sarah Jessica Parker attends the ATG Summer Party © Getty
Here is how Sarah Jessica Parker maintains her strong look

DISCOVER: Jennifer Aniston's viral 15-15-15 workout builds 'strength and endurance' for over 50s 

Paola keeps it simple - "After one session, you will feel the difference mentally, and after 10 sessions you will notice the difference physically."

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