Darcey Bussell has enjoyed the highest level of fitness as a ballerina. The Strictly judge shares how she stays healthy in her day-to-day life
1. Brisk morning walkies at 7.30am for 30–40 minutes with my two spoodles (English Cocker Spaniel and Toy Poodle cross) kickstarts my day and gives me focus. When I was a classical dancer, I had a lot of structure to my day and I still like routine.
2. I love getting out of the house as I get cabin fever quite easily. I go to a lot of meetings in London by public transport and I always walk up escalators. My girls and I also travel around on adult scooters and we ‘walk’ the dogs on our bikes. I don’t go to the gym…
3. Injuries don’t affect me now as long as I keep moving. If I stopped, they would – knees, ankles and back are problems for classical dancers. On the diet front, I know eating healthy fats is good for my bones. I eat a lot of avocados and oily fish and I’ve always taken cod liver oil supplements for my joints. I’m careful about iron and B12 intakes, too, so I don’t get tired.
4. I’m passionate about endorphins! I crave the buzz I used to get when I was a dancer. I’ve created new dance classes called DDMIX with choreographer Nathan Clarke – they’re full body workouts to music, based around two to five-minute segments of seven to nine different dance styles (such as Bollywood, Greek, samba, jive, Charleston) in one fun 45 to 60-minute class. You can do classes at venues or online. I get bored quickly with exercise but this is fun, rather than a chore, and I do a class once or twice a week.
5. I keep my diet varied, and I encourage my two teenage girls to do the same. There are no quick fixes, so I tell them to keep it simple. I never count calories. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for me. I like decent bread – and eat carbs in healthy portions. But if I have an event coming up and want to look good in a dress, I’ll switch to having soup in the evening and stay off bread for a week or two – it helps me get a slightly flatter stomach. I rarely eat red meat because I went right off it when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, who’s now 16. I might fancy a small steak now and then, but mainly it’s chicken and fish.
Learn more about Darcey’s DDMIX, find a class near you or check out online classes at diversedancemix.com.