Shirley MacLaine health: Actress, 88, has the ‘perfect’ diet

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Shirley MacLaine may be well into her 80s but the Hollywood great is still full of vim and vigour. You can catch her in the new season of the hit Hulu comedy Only Murders in the Building. Longevity-seekers are no doubt keen to unravel the mystery of MacLaine’s sprightliness at the age of 88. Thankfully, MacLaine has provided some nuggets.

In an interview with People, MacLaine suggested the key is to lead a stress-free life.

“I think attitudes are a choice. Anger is a choice, peace is a choice, sarcasm — which is what I’m good at — is a choice.”

Her approach to diet and sleep – key pillars of rude health – is certainly refreshing.

“I have what I consider just a perfect life… I eat what I want, I sleep when I want.”

She went on to emphasise the importance of leisure time. MacLaine spends most of her time at her ranch in New Mexico where she resides for some of the year.

“I have someone who comes in a couple of times a week, but otherwise I’m totally alone,” she added, talking about her home.

“I sometimes go to Santa Fe, which is one of the artistic and restaurant and new age capitals in the country.

“Give it up and learn to amalgamate with nature.

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“I have all the animals around me [in New Mexico]. It’s everything I need to be happy.”

MacLaine is certainly on to something. Research suggests that leisure time physical activity can add years to one’s life.

According to a study by a team of researchers led by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, leisure-time physical activity is associated with longer life expectancy, even at relatively low levels of activity and regardless of body weight.

The study, which found that people who engaged in leisure-time physical activity had life expectancy gains of as much as 4.5 years, appeared in the journal PLoS Medicine.

In order to determine the number of years of life gained from leisure-time physical activity in adulthood, which translates directly to an increase in life expectancy, researchers examined data on more than 650,000 adults.

These people, mostly age 40 and older, took part in one of six population-based studies that were designed to evaluate various aspects of cancer risk.

After accounting for other factors that could affect life expectancy, the researchers found that life expectancy was 3.4 years longer for people who reported they got the recommended level of physical activity.

People who reported leisure-time physical activity at twice the recommended level gained 4.2 years of life.

In general, more physical activity corresponded to longer life expectancy.

The researchers even saw benefits at low levels of activity. For example, people who said they got half of the recommended amount of physical activity still added 1.8 years to their life.

“Our findings highlight the important contribution that leisure-time physical activity in adulthood can make to longevity,” said study author Steven Moore, Ph.D., of NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, and lead author of the study. “Regular exercise extended the lives in every group that we examined in our study — normal weight, overweight, or obese.”

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