Helen Mirren Works Out for 12 Minutes a Day, Says She's Retired Her Bikini

07/24/2014 at 02:41 PM ET

Helen Mirren turns 68 Saturday, and she’s making a conscious decision to pick up her exercise routine. The actress, who looks stunning in a gorgeous red carpet gown and a swimsuit, reveals that, despite her killer shape, she currently isn’t really in shape — and she wants to change that.

Helen Mirren Diet TipsFlynet

“I’m not very fit at all actually,” she told told reporters at an international junket for The Hundred Foot Journey. “Just this morning I started my exercises, which I haven’t been doing for months, maybe years. I do a thing that leads me into exercise. It is the Royal Canadian Air Force exercise plan — it is 12 minutes and they have charts you follow. Each day, you have to do the exercises within the 12 minutes and until you can [finish them in the allotted time], you can’t move up. 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.'”

The fitness plan became very popular in the ’50s and consists of a series of planks, toe-touches, knee raises and more isometric exercises. Curious? Here’s a YouTube video you might be interested in.

RELATED PHOTOS: Stars in Swimsuits: From Teeny Bikinis to Bold One-Pieces

But despite her daily aerobic routine, don’t expect to see Mirren in a bikini again anytime soon. The star reveals that she’s still trying to move past that famous 2008 swimsuit shot.

“I don’t actually look like that, and I know that that is going to follow me forever and I’ll be forever trying to bury it unsuccessfully,” she said. “The truth is I don’t really look that good, it was just a flattering picture. I am beyond the bikini-wearing age, really. I wouldn’t normally wear one. I look like a woman in her 60s. I’ve always looked awful in a bikini, even when I was young.”

We say she’s just being modest — the actress has always been a proponent of healthy eating and moderation, which may explain her incredibly graceful aging process. “I’ve never done anything in excess,” she told PEOPLE. “I’ve never drunk or eaten too much. It helps to stay balanced.”

–Brittany Talarico

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Showing 23 comments

Suzanne on

Where is this red bikini because all I see is a red swimsuit, anyone?

noisefrom1981 on

Suzanne..follow the link in the article. ‘famous 2008 swimsuit shot’

Guest on

Nice to see a woman her age accept the fact she is no longer 20. I love when older celebrities embrace their age & natural aging instead of pumping their faces with botox & fillers where they look frozen & unnatural. Not sure who told those women that’s attractive but whoever did, lied.

Mamagirl31 on

Love her!

mrs. gram on

Writer of this article needs a math refresher class-Helen was born in 1945 and she is turning 69 not 68!!!

Gemini on

Great lady and awesome actress. Naturally beautiful!!! Nothing worse than a mature woman with fake everything these days.

Carlin on

I thought she looked great in her bikini. I think a woman should wear waht makes her feel beautiful and confident at any age. I dont think age should dictate what you decide makes you feel pretty. Its not my business or anyone elses if a woman of 60 wants to wear a mini skirt for example. Life is to short to be decided by others whats appropriate for you and your mental physical and piece of mind health. If she now feels its time to retire the two piece swimsuit, then thats a decision she made for her. Either way, I love this woman and how she changing the status quo if you will of what age and beauty really are.

Brooke on

More like her, please! She’s terrific!

Guest with 3 Names on

The exercise program is called XBX (Ten-B-X). Interesting because my uncle was in the Royal Canadian Air Force. I know exactly what she is referring to and in fact still have a copy of the booklet for women. Interesting that it is still around. It works too. Hard to do with two dogs concerned that you are on the floor (LOL)!

Barbara on

What is “sexy” about Helen Mirrin? or even attractive? Shes just a 60 y.o.. movies star that still looks good – and there have been quite afew of those!

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