Plenty of celebrities age gracefully over time (with help from their personal trainers, dietitians, and dermatologists, of course), but one celeb’s transformation over the decades has left us truly in awe. Yep, we’re talking about the Southern queen herself: Reese Witherspoon, who turns 43 today.
Witherspoon has changed very little appearance-wise since her early days in Hollywood. For one, she’s gearing up to reprise her role as bubbly Harvard grad Elle Woods in Legally Blonde 3 next year-and the first movie came out almost two decades ago. Plus, she and her 19-year-old daughter are practically twins. So what’s her secret?
The Big Little Lies actress has been open about many aspects of her healthy lifestyle, and she’s clearly doing something right. Here’s what we know about Witherspoon’s age-defying habits that keep her looking and feeling so youthful at 43.
She combines strength training with high-intensity cardio
Like many celebs, Witherspoon is a major fan of Body by Simone, a workout method founded by trainer Simone de la Rue that combines high-intensity dance cardio with body weight and resistance training.
According to Popsugar, she told Women’s Health she and her group of girlfriends get together to work out to Body by Simone a couple of times a week. “Physical strength is important,” she said, adding that she also enjoys running, yoga, and indoor cycling.
Witherspoon is also known to attend Burn 60 classes in Los Angeles, according to People. Burn 60 consists of 45- to 60-minute HIIT workouts that focus on training the upper body, lower body, or full body in one session. “It’s a smart way to get the most bang out of your buck if you have limited time, because you spend half of your time doing strength training work with resistance bands and dumbbells and barbells and body weight, and half of the time on the treadmill getting your cardio in,” Burn 60 trainer Keith Anthony told People.
She also takes her workouts outside
Witherspoon doesn’t just limit her workouts to the gym. When she’s not jogging around her neighborhood or taking her dogs for a walk, she goes on long hikes to improve her general fitness. Former trainer Michael George told Shape that he and Witherspoon went on hikes while she was preparing for her film This Means War, and they’d take light dumbbells along for added strength work. A workout with an amazing view of nature? Sign us up.
But she doesn’t skimp on the sunscreen
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Sunscreen is your no. 1 guard against not only skin cancer, but also signs of aging on your face. Clearly, Reese Witherspoon is on the same page. In an interview with People, she revealed her one beauty product to have on a deserted island would be sunscreen, which explains why her skin is smooth, free of dark spots, and downright radiant at 43 years old. In fact, some research suggests sunscreen can even help reverse signs of sun damage and improve skin texture and brightness, so it’s in your best interest to apply it daily.
She doesn’t believe in fad diets, but eats plenty of greens
You won’t find Witherspoon jumping on the latest fad diet anytime soon. “I work out all the time anyway just to stay healthy. I don’t believe in crash dieting or anything like that,” she told Us Weekly. Trainer Michael George told Shape that Witherspoon eats clean, sticks to small meals and snacks, and doesn’t overdo it on the alcohol.
She also takes water with her everywhere she goes
Witherspoon’s best anti-aging secret is perhaps the simplest of all: She and her water bottle are practically attached at the hip. Seriously, look at almost any paparazzi photo of her on the street, and you’ll see her clutching her water bottle.
Staying hydrated doesn’t just help you maintain a healthy weight, boost physical and mental performance, lubricate and cushion your joints, help filter waste out of your body, and keep your temperature at a normal level-it’s also excellent for your skin. Many people find that drinking more water leaves their skin extra radiant.
“One of the most important things I remind my patients is that your skin really is an outward sign of your internal health. The best anti-aging trick is to be healthy (and sun protect, of course). Hydration is just one, but important, part of that,” says Tara Rao, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York.” Water is important for healthy function of all vital organs and to maintain proper blood pressure. So drinking water, eat hydrating fruits and veggies, and keeping dehydrating things like coffee and alcohol at the minimum are great.”
She sets aside time for self-care
Like a growing number of women, Witherspoon recognizes that her mental wellbeing is just as important as her physical health. She gave her Instagram followers a peek at her self-care routine earlier this year, sharing a photo of herself relaxing on the couch in a cozy robe. “Self-care is… locking yourself in a room, hiding from the kids, and re-reading your favorite book for the 372398731th time,” she captioned the photo.
Taking time for yourself to recuperate from your busy schedule can prevent you from getting burned out and boost your mental clarity and productivity. So it’s no wonder Witherspoon reportedly has the energy for waking up early-we’re talking 4 a.m.-to read her emails and chat with people at her company before she starts her day (her well-documented love of coffee probably helps too). She also counts her morning workout as a form of personal therapy. “I try to squeeze in exercise because it changes my brain, and I’m a nicer person when I exercise,” she told Apartment Therapy.
At the heart of self-care is the willingness to love yourself and allow yourself to rest before taking care of everyone else. And that’s a principle Witherspoon lives by every day. “I don’t think I realized [in my 20s] that no one else makes you whole,” she told TIME. “You have to take responsibility for your own happiness. That took me until I was about 31 to know… Every day you have to choose to find and cultivate your own happiness.”
('You Might Also Like',)