Dennis Quaid health: Actor uses cycling and yoga to stay fit – ‘I feel like I’m 12 again!’

Happy Merry Whatever: Official trailer starring Dennis Quaid

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Although the star has never been nominated for an Academy Award, he still keeps incredibly busy both on and off screen. Most recently, the star depicts president Ronald Reagan in the upcoming biopic Reagan, which is set for release this year. During a 2018 interview, the actor revealed how he kept busy off screen, some of which involves regular trips to the gym, getting a solid breakfast and getting up early in the morning.

For many years, Quaid admitted that he was “obsessed” about what he was eating, how many calories he was intaking and how much exercise he would have to do, but in the mid-1990s, things took a turn for the worst, when Quaid said he battled anorexia.

After shedding 40Ibs for his role in the film Wyatt Earp, where he was portraying Doc Holiday, a gaunt looking man dying of tuberculosis, Quaid became dangerously skinny, something that he “couldn’t pull [himself] out of.”

Reflecting on his struggle with what he coined “manorexia”, Quaid said: “My arms were so skinny that I couldn’t pull myself out of a pool.

“I wasn’t bulimic, but I could understand what people go through with that. I’d look in the mirror and still see a 180Ib. guy, even though I was 138Ib.”

Having overcome his eating disorder and remaining a far healthier weight, Quaid said that his fitness mentality has stuck with him, as well as a crucial piece of advice he once got from a fellow gym goer.

“I used to box when I was in my 20s,” Quaid explained.

“There was this guy at the time at the Hollywood Y, who was in incredible shape in his 50s. I asked him that same question. ‘How do you do that?’ He told me, ‘You take care of yourself in your 20s and 30s and the rest will take care of itself.’

“He was right. It doesn’t mean you have to be there every day, but you do have to live your life with that in mind.

“Because if you let it go, every time it gets a little harder to get back. So I’ve always stayed with it.”

Having maintained a dedication to fitness over the years, Quaid did admit that the types of exercises he prioritises have changed as he naturally ages. After being a runner for about 35 years, the activity became “hard” on his knees and joints, meaning the actor had to find another sport to enjoy.

He said: “I turned to cycling, which I’m currently doing. That and yoga. Along with that, you got to still get into the gym and lift. Do the sit-ups. I genuinely enjoy it. Every time I get on a bike, I feel like I’m 12 years old again.”

As host of his own podcast titled The Dennissance, Quaid also revealed that his love of all things healthy also translates into his diet. The star exclaimed that he “always starts [the day] with a solid breakfast,” before having a nutritious dinner as well.

In addition to his diet and exercise, Quaid said that his favourite time of the day is early morning, which he and fiancee Laura Savoie both try to enjoy. “Try to keep an even schedule,” the star added.

“My advice would be to do something every day that is proactive. There’s always something you can do. Be proactive.”

As an older adult, physical activity is one of the most “important” things you can do for your health, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Keeping fit in older age can prevent or delay numerous health problems and keep you more independent.

In line with this, medical advice for those aged 65 and older includes:

  • At least 150 minutes a week (for example, 30 minutes a day, five days a week) of moderate intensity activity such as brisk walking. Or they need 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity such as hiking, jogging, or running.
  • At least two days a week of activities that strengthen muscles.
  • Activities to improve balance such as standing on one foot about three days a week.

The NHS adds that those who exercise regularly in their older age can reduce their risk of early death by illnesses such as coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 30 percent.

A 2001 article that examined the impact of ageing on eating behaviours and an individual’s health status concluded that people tend to eat less and make different food choices as they get older. Lower food intake among the elderly has been associated with lower intakes of calcium, iron, zinc, B vitamins and vitamin E, putting them at risk of diet-related illnesses.

Reasons for this vary from physiological changes, socioeconomic status such as altered taste, and diet-related attitudes, so it is crucial that individuals aged 60 and over still get all the vitamins, nutrients and fluids that they need.

Nutritionist Jo Lewin recommends that individuals over the age of 60 make sure their diets consist of the following:

  • Fibre – Make sure that your diet includes lots of fibre-rich foods such as wholegrains, oats, fruits, vegetables, beans and lentils. A small glass of prune juice in the morning may alleviate constipation.
  • Vitamin B12 – Ensure that you include plenty of foods rich in B12 such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy products and fortified breakfast cereals.
  • Vitamin D – Small amounts of vitamin D are found in foods such as eggs and oil-rich fish as well as fortified foods such as spreads. Vitamin D can also be made by the action of sunlight on the skin so when the weather is warm, expose your arms and face to the sun for at least 20 minutes a day. During the autumn and winter months, your diet becomes an important source of vitamin D because the sun isn’t strong enough for the body to make vitamin D. As it is difficult to achieve adequate vitamin D from food, most people would benefit from a supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during these months.

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