Angela Rippon’s health and fitness tips

Nina Myskow / 26 April 2016

The TV star shares her secrets for a youthful, energetic life.



Eat purple

Anything purple is good for you – from red cabbage to aubergines, blackcurrants and blueberries. In Okinawa, Japan, people habitually live to 90 and, instead of rice, they eat purple sweet potato. Such foods contain a chemical that can help to prevent clogged arteries.

Related: Understanding antioxidants

Keep dancing

Dancing is better than just going to the gym - which tends to use only one set of muscles at a time. Dance uses every part of your body, it’s aerobic, uses spatial awareness, helps with balance, is good for flexibility and uses your brain, because you have to remember your steps. I’m so grateful my mum sent me to ballet when I was six for my knock knees.

Related: Get started with dancing

Learn a foreign language

Learning a language keeps brain cells strong and challenged. While filming a programme about dementia, I went to university for a day to study Chinese because it’s one of the best things you can do to combat the condition.

Related: Your brain - what you need to know

Get mixing

Research has shown that the more social life you have – talking, laughing, going out – the longer you live. I’m lucky that I have a very full life. If you’re on your own, get a dog. Taking it for a walk gives you exercise, helps overcome stress and you’ll meet other dog owners.

Related: Eight tips for making friends and building friendships

Try veggie

In Loma Linda, California there’s a community that is renowned for longevity. They’re vegan, and eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and nuts and seeds. Dr Chris van Tulleken, with whom I made the recent BBC1 series How to Stay Young, met an amazing man there, a centenarian who is still fit and active. He was performing heart surgery until the age of 95 and still has a driving licence! Chris, a dedicated carnivore, is going meat-free once a week now.

Related: The health benefits of a vegetarian diet

Everyone for tennis

I love it! It uses every muscle and is great for eye-hand coordination.

Related: Which exercise is best for you?

Know your body

Be as alert about yourself as you can be. I am strong, slim and supple, but I was shocked to discover that I actually hold fat around my internal organs. I eat sensibly and exercise all the time, so it’s a complete puzzle. It’s linked to all sorts of diseases, so a bit of a wake-up call. Now I take a spoonful of Inulin every day, a supplement that was suggested to me.

Related: Eight ways to reduce stomach fat

Take responsibility

Stop looking for the elixir of youth! Regardless of whatever may be available pharmaceutically or chemically, the best things you can do if you want to live a long and healthy life are the things you can do for yourself. Take charge of what you eat, drink and do! It doesn’t have to cost a fortune and can be fun. Try new things, keep active, have fun with your mates, keep involved with young people. A long and healthy life? It’s in your own hands.

Related: The five most important lifestyle changes you can make for a healthier life

Sit-to-rise test

If you can get fit enough to do this, you can add years to your life. Stand barefoot, cross one leg in front of the other and lower yourself to sit cross-legged on the ground without using any other part of your body. Stand up the same way. Start with a score of ten and deduct one point for every time you have to use a hand, knee, side of leg on the ground, hand on knee etc. I score 9. Be careful, but keep practising.

Read our full fantastic interview with Angela Rippon in the May issue of Saga Magazine.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.