Anti-Aging Pilates Hits NYC

We can't run from the truth, in fact, we should sprint towards it—a sedentary life not only leads to excess weight, but premature wrinkles. Studies have proven time and time again that regular exercise benefits the skin similar to the way it improves bone and muscle quality.

Still not off of the couch yet? Then let this fact marinate: When the skin of competitive athletes is examined under a microscope, their skin is thicker and has more, and healthier, collagen due to their high fitness levels. And since we now have your attention, that's not all you need to know about exercise's affect on the skin. Most forms of working out are good for fighting wrinkles, but some are better than others.

"Exercise in general will improve the quality and appearance of one's skin," says Ashley Deleon, fitness expert and owner of Ashley Deleon Pilates in New York, a studio that specializes in anti-aging pilates. "That being said, there are some moves and exercises that are better than others when it comes to anti-aging."

The main tenants of pilates—to improve blood circulation and muscle tone in the body along with increased flexibility—will help keep your skin firm and taught, she says. And science agrees. Meriden, CT, dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, MD, says a holistic approach to aging is the best approach. He has found through extensive research that increasing circulation, flexibility and muscle tone through resistance training, like pilates, can help to release growth hormone and reduce cortisol. This means increased bone density, skin thickness, cell growth and repaired and restored collagen fibers.

Flip through this gallery of the five best and easiest pilates moves you can do in the comfort of your own home, which Deleon says if done everyday, will help slow the aging process and improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

1/5

Standing Roll Down

This move increases flexibility of the spine while increasing circulation to the face. This exercise is considered an inversion.

1. Stand tall with your heels together, toes slightly apart.

2. Look down at the floor and round your upper body down until your hands are at the height of your shins.

3. Stay here for one full breath, allowing your head to hang heavily so that your blood can rush to your face.

4. Draw your abdominals in toward your spine and slowly roll back up to standing.

Repeat 3 times.

2/5

Resistance Band Arm Press

Builds muscle tone in the shoulders and arms while increasing the heart rate.

1. Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.

2. Extend your arms straight up to the ceiling with the resistance band in your hands.

3. Take a deep breath in. As you exhale pull the band apart, keeping your elbows straight and your collarbones wide.

Repeat 10 times.

3/5

Shoulder Bridge

Builds muscle tone in the lower back, abdominals, glutes and legs while circulating blood flow to the face. This exercise is considered a gentle inversion.

1. Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.

2. Press your feet down into the floor and lift your hips up off the mat, bringing your heart higher than your face.

3. Stay here for one full breath, squeezing your glutes and drawing your abdominals in toward your spine.

4. Slowly lower your hips to the mat.

Repeat 3 times.

4/5

Swan

Builds muscle tone in the back while rushing blood flow to the face.

1. Lay flat on your stomach. Allow your legs to be apart and resting on the mat.

2. Place the palm of your right hand on top of your left hand. Rest your forehead on your hands.

3. As your inhale, lift your upper body off the mat, keeping your forehead and hands connected.

4. Exhale as you lower your chest to the mat.

Repeat 5 times.  

5/5

Hamstring Stretch

Stretches the hamstring muscles while increasing circulation throughout the entire body.

1. Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat.

2. Wrap the resistance band around the arch of your left foot, holding on to the ends of the band with your hands.

3. Extend your leg up to the ceiling. 

4. Pull the leg in toward your chest while keeping your knee straight.

5. Hold the stretch for 5 deep breaths.

Switch legs.

4 Comments
  • Dori at Hydroxatone
    Posted on

    We'd LOVE to get our team together to try Ashley's class. Anything to keep us looking and feeling young!

  • Helen
    Posted on

    We need you in Toronto, Ashley! - Helen, theskiny.com

  • Karen
    Posted on

    Thanks for the great ideas that I can do at home! The article has inspired me.

  • Marylin
    Posted on

    You rock..Miss Ashley!!! And your class of "ladies of a certain age" is proof of everything you write about. Well done