Angie Best's quick guide to keeping fit and healthy as you age
Model, fitness instructor and mum of Calum, Angie Best reveals her secrets to being a young 60-something to Gabrielle Fagan
AT 64, Angie Best is still glamorous and strutting her stuff as a model, but even she doesn't pull her punches when talking about ageing: "Getting older is an absolute b**** and not for the faint-hearted! Your brain's still young, but your body is doing something alien. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I just don't recognise myself."
But the years have been kind, with her appearing to be just a more mature and sophisticated version of the bubbly, blonde bombshell who was a fitness instructor, model and Playboy Bunny, when she met Belfast footballer George Best in Los Angeles, in 1975, and found fame. Their son Calum is now 36.
Drawing on her 40-year career in health and fitness – she has coached celebrities from Sharon Stone to Daryl Hannah and toured with Cher as her personal trainer – Angie has devised her own winning strategy for staying fit and youthful.
"Most days I still feel in my fifties. Of course, we all have difficult days – sometimes I look in the mirror and feel 90 – but we can all improve our look and feel different. All it takes is a change of outlook and a little effort."
Here's Angie's guide to getting fit and looking young...
1. Change your attitude
"You've got to say to yourself, 'I'm going to improve my health and the way I look at life. Every day, tell yourself, 'This is the first day of the rest of my life and I'm going to make it positive and give my health priority.' That puts you on the path to working on yourself."
"Believe me, I know what that feels like. Coming back to the UK in 2005 after George died, because Calum needed me, he was struggling with his demons, was the toughest thing I've ever done.
"I'd been away for 30 years living happily in America, but I had to tell myself when I arrived, 'This is the first day of the rest of your new life.' I managed to recreate myself here, so know it's possible to look at life differently and change things if you're determined enough."
2. Shake your stuff
"In my mind, the best anti-ageing thing in the world is exercise, because it promotes circulation, helps tone muscles and promotes endorphins in the brain, which boost your mood. I'd suggest a gym class and include weight-bearing exercises for your bones, and maybe some walking or gentle jogging. I teach at my gym, play tennis and ride my horse."
3. Drink more water
"None of us drink enough water. Every morning I start the day with a glass of room temperature water and fresh lemon juice. I drink water throughout the day and avoid alcohol (apart from the odd glass of Champagne on special occasions) because it contains chemicals which dry out the skin. I regard it as a friend of wrinkles."
4. Stay organic
"I'm an organic girl and try to avoid anything I think may have been sprayed, treated or processed. I also limit my intake of dairy and animal products, and stick to white meat – fish, turkey and chicken – and eat lots of fruit. For lunch, my largest meal of the day, I'll have potatoes, brown rice or beans and vegetables. In the evening, I'll have protein such as fish or white meat, chickpeas and avocado. I'm 5' 7" and weight 8st 6lbs – that's only about five pounds more than when I was young."
5. Keep it real
"I had a face lift at 44, but I've had nothing since apart from Botox between my eyes, which got rid of a ridiculous frown line. I won't touch filler – it doesn't work. I have facials regularly to refresh my skin. I refuse to let people airbrush or change photos of me to make me look younger than I am. That's not fair on the women who see them, and I believe you've got to keep it real as you age and not end up with some artificial 'look'.
"Be prepared to ignore so-called 'rules' about how you should look and what you should wear at a certain age. You don't have to change your style. I still wear my hair long and look for clothes I love rather than age-appropriate ones. I've just modelled some great outfits for the Silver Line Edit collection for JD Williams."
6. Stay busy, stay sociable
"Get out as much as you can and talk to people and join groups if you can – talking to people is energising and often helps you realise how lucky you are. I don't do lonely because I'm always busy with my gym business, events, and my family. My partner of 19 years is my rock [former hockey player, Mark Miller] and we work together.
"Family is key of course. My son, Calum and I are very close and I'm thrilled about that. He lost his dad and as far as he's concerned, I'm all he's got. He holds on to me with a tight grip, bless him. He's in a very good place these days and it makes me so happy seeing him. He's wonderful to me, keeps me up to date by telling me about everything modern and young that's going on and also gives me advice on what to wear. He'll buy clothes for me that he thinks I'll like."
7. Have no regrets
"If you have regrets then you're going to be sad and that's going to age you quicker than anything in the world. I've got no regrets about any of my choices because everything I've done has brought me where I am today, and I'm a very lucky girl. I learnt so much from working for Cher in LA; she's still a friend and her brilliant piece of advice was, 'When things get tough, put your knickers on and get on with it'."
:: Angie Best models JD Williams' Silver Line Edit collection (www.jdwilliams.co.uk).