LIFESTYLE

Revealed: The Fitness Plan Keeping Dame Helen Mirren Looking Great In Her 60s

24/07/2014 11:05 BST | Updated 24/07/2014 11:59 BST

We don't understand people who don't have a crush on Dame Helen Mirren - she's talented, classy and boy does she look amazing.

What we want to know, is how on earth the actress continues to look so fabulous when she's about to turn 69?

The answer could lie in Dame Helen's 12-minute military fitness plan, which she has recently credited as the elixir of her youth.

We may be a long way off 70, but we're seriously considering taking up the regime today.

helen mirren

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) programme - developed in the late Fifties - was originally published in booklet form and was once an international best seller.

The stretching and toning regime was designed to improve fitness in RAF pilots who did not have access to gym facilities. The programme is called 5BX for men and XBX for women.

The men’s plan includes five simple activities: stretching, sit-ups, back extensions, push-ups and running on the spot.

Military women participating in the training (and Dame Helen of course) are instructed to complete 10 exercises, including side leg raising and arm circling.

The exercises become increasingly difficult as fitness improves, but the time remains at 12-minutes. This 1950s programme is much like the fashionable high-intensity interval training, making it perfect for busy Servicemen and women and Hollywood actresses alike.

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Dame Helen is reported to revert to the regime whenever she feels her fitness slipping.

In this week's Hello! magazine, she says: "It is the exercise I have done off and on my whole life. It just very gently gets you fit. Two weeks of doing that and you think, 'Yeah, I could go to the gym now'."

Professor James Timmons is leading the UK research programme into high-intensity training that’s due to report in two years' time.

He previously told the Radio Times: “The science is developing on High-Intensity Interval training. Yes, it is really good at improving glucose uptake into the muscles in a very, very short time.

“With really intense exercise, you release hormones that can help break down fat. This may help burn that fat over time, after HIT is done. Also, we think, but don’t know, that HIT will subdue appetite, while traditional exercise (jogging etc) will stimulate appetite."

No wonder Dame Helen looks so amazing.