Felicity Kendal health: Star works out 3 times a week to avoid ‘silent killer’

Yoga instructor shows off incredible hand stand skills at gym

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Her first big break on television came in BBC sitcom The Good Life, which she appeared in all 30 episodes of and two specials from 1975 and 1978. Since then she has appeared in numerous television programmes, films and stage shows, most recently a revival of Anything Goes in 2021 which played at the Barbican Theatre. In the past, the star admitted that she would “never retire” as she finds work relaxing, but in order to keep up with hectic work schedules the star has to follow some drastic lifestyle changes.

“I work out three times a week, a mixture of stretching, yoga and weights. I’ve also mastered press-ups. I’m so pleased. Now, if I could only stand on my head,” she said back in 2021.

Having worked professionally since she was the age of 17, the star is more than used to the pressures and requirements of the industry that can be “quite stressful”.

She went on to say: “When you’re younger the competition is much greater. That’s quite stressful. When you get to my age there aren’t so many people left, so there’s less pressure.

“You’ve passed from ingenue to leading lady and beyond. If you can be working at 17 and still working at 70-something, you’ve made it through. You’re looking back from the other side of the finishing line.”

Taking her health “seriously” but not becoming too obsessed with diets, the one thing that the star does “swear by” is exercise.

She added: “It can really change the way you feel and it doesn’t cost anything. That and sleep – and lots of body lotion.”

Getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night, the star said that if she gets any less it has “extraordinary” affects, partly down to her older age.

In addition to loving exercise, the star has always been strongly against drugs, and at most only smoked four to five cigarettes a day during the 1970s.

Speaking about her attitude on drugs and smoking she added: “I smoked all through the 70s, on and off, but to me it’s like having a piece of chewing gum, it’s absolutely not addictive.

“In this job, I have to smoke four or five cigarettes a day, and when I’ve done that before I’ve managed to stop with no trouble whatsoever.

“I’m not incredibly against cigarettes, but I am incredibly against drugs, and I know everybody will say they’re the same, but cigarettes don’t rot your brain.

“They might kill you or damage your lungs, but they will not change your personality, and I’ve seen how drugs can destroy people.”

Her choices to avoid not only drugs but heavy smoking too have contributed to the star’s “shameful” happiness. That along with the health of all her family too.

Yoga has been recommended by numerous health bodies as a way for older individuals to incorporate physical activity into their daily routines.

Not only does regular exercise keep individuals independent for longer, research has found that it can also reduce the risk of major illnesses such as coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

In fact, those who aim to do at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week, through a variety of activities have a 30 percent lower risk of early death.

Perhaps even more shockingly, inactivity is described by the Department of Health and Social Care as a “silent killer”. With evidence emerging that sedentary behaviour, such as sitting or lying down for long periods, is bad for your health.

The numerous health benefits of yoga, particularly for older individuals include:

  • Better sleeping habits
  • Improving strength and protects joints
  • Controlling type 2 diabetes
  • Reduce hypertension
  • Lose weight
  • Improving mood and reducing anxiety
  • Help with chronic pain
  • Relieve breathing and lung issues
  • Strengthened bones.

For those who have never tried yoga before, older participants are advised to start gradually, especially if they have pre-existing joint conditions. This is because some yoga practices do require extremely strenuous stretching and movements that might not be appropriate if you have certain joint conditions or are just a beginner.

One tip for beginners is to keep the mind focussed by pressing your hands or feet into the floor, lengthening your spine, and relaxing your hips.

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