• Gemma Corby

How to prevent ageing legs in eight easy steps*

[*pun intended]

Your guide to younger and healthier looking legs.

The other day, when practising yoga, I saw my bare legs up close and from a different angle to usual.

I was surprised; they looked less toned than I remembered.

Usually, I wear leggings when exercising but it was hot, so I was in shorts.

I could see creases above my knees, where there hadn’t been creases before, and generally my skin looked…well…more squidgy (for want of a better word).

Gemma Corby's legs with tan lines
My legs, complete with dodgy tan lines!

It got me thinking…

If you’re like me, you probably spend considerable time (and money!) trying to hold back the ageing process on your face and neck. But do you ever give your legs a second thought?

I hadn’t.

Normally they’re too far away to worry about – however, it turns out that a downward dog changes your perspective, in more ways than one.

So, how can we keep our legs looking as youthful as possible?

1. Exercise

There’s no getting away from it! Being as mobile as possible is always a positive thing for your health and therefore your appearance.

Too much sitting or standing is not good for you – movement is key.

It’s a no-brainer that exercises targeting your legs are going to be beneficial, including:

· Walking

· Running

· Lunges

· Squats

· Yoga

· Pilates

· Step ups

· Dancing

· Using machines at the gym which target legs

Downwards facing dog yoga pose
Doing a downward facing dog changes your perspective.

2. Put your legs up

You don’t have to tell me twice.

Seriously, elevating your legs above heart level for 15 minutes or more per day, boosts circulation, removes pressure from your heart and veins and reduces swelling.

This simple (and much more appealing than a load of lunges) exercise can help prevent burst capillaries (aka spider veins) and, the more painful, varicose veins.

I try to do this when reading my book before bed, as it has the added bonus of being relaxing.

put feet up, young healthy legs
You can find a more comfortable way to put your feet up.

3. Sunblock

UV rays are ageing. FACT.

A 2016 study revealed that people who applied sunscreen to their face daily, showed reduced signs of ageing.

Every day I slap a SPF on my face and neck until I am satisfied that I look like Casper the Friendly Ghost. But unless it is super-hot (i.e., I’m abroad), I tend to forget about my legs.

I will amend my ways…

sunblock on legs, prevent legs ageing
Don't forget your legs, when applying sunblock

4. Moisturise

Another no-brainer. But who else is often in a hurry after jumping out of the shower, and forgets to moisturise?

I know I do all the time.

But a good moisturiser can make all the difference. Heidi A. Waldorf, MD, recommends products with glycerin or hyaluronic acid, as they attract and retain moisture, keeping your skin hydrated and plump.

5. Vitamin C

Regularly eating foods containing vitamin C is one way to improve your collagen production.

Great sources include:

· Kiwis

· Blueberries

· Peppers

· Citrus fruits

· Blackcurrants

· Strawberries

· Broccoli

vitamin c anti ageing legs
Eating vitamin C boosts collagen producation

6. Retinol

If you already use retinol as part of your evening facial skincare routine, then whack some on your legs while you’re at it.

An effective and affordable brand is The Ordinary, available online and from Boots.

Please note, you have to gradually build up your skin’s tolerance to retinoids, over time.

They also make your skin more sensitive to UV rays, so make sure you definitely wear a sunblock!

7. Body brushing or tapping

Dry body brushing stimulates your lymphatic system, exfoliates your skin and increases your circulation.

Dry body brush first thing in the morning as it ‘wakes’ you up for the day.

Tapping (aka pai sha) is an ancient Chinese therapy, which also stimulates your lymphatic system and boosts circulation. It can be done using your hands or with a bamboo tapper.

To learn more about tapping watch this video by Katie Brindle, founder of Hayo’u. She demonstrates how you can do it while waiting for the kettle to boil! You’ve got to love someone who knows how to multitask!

body brushing for younger looking legs
There's no time for peek-a-boo, get body brushing!

8. Disguise

If like me, you find that some of the damage has already been done, there’s always camouflage.

Fake tan or body makeup can hide a multitude of sins.

And the good news about waving farewell to summer – we can wear tights and trousers again. Hurrah!

But remember, it’s never too late to start new, good habits.

The big guns…

If you’ve got the cash, you can also try these celebrity endorsed methods:

· Knee lift. Apparently, it leaves a scar, although that did not deter Demi Moore (allegedly).

· Knee threading. A bit like the threading that makes your eyes look more upswept (hello Bella Hadid – again allegedly) – it basically hoicks up the loose skin around your knees.

· Sclerotherapy/laser treatment. This is not as expensive as the other treatments and it rids you of spider veins/burst capillaries. It must be carried out by a qualified medical practitioner (e.g., dermatologist, nurse or doctor) – not a beauty therapist.

I’m hoping that if I follow these eight steps, I will be able to confidently do yoga in my shorts once more.

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