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Prince Charles famously joked that keeping his weight in check is a “never ending battle”.
The 71 year old heir to the throne made the comments to his tailor, Emma Willis, admitting that it’s been “something of a struggle”’ to remain the same shirt size for the past six years.
His wife the Duchess of Cornwall is full of praise for Charles and in particular his speedy recovery from coronavirus back in March. She told BBC Radio 5’s The Emma Barnett Show: “he is probably the fittest man of his age I know.” Camilla, 73, added: “he’ll walk and walk and walk. He’s like a mountain goat, he leaves everybody miles behind.”
So, what’s the secret to Charles’ robust health? Well, apparently, he performs a 12-minute Royal Canadian Air Force exercise plan every day , something his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, and sons, Princes William, and Harry, are also said to do.
The plan was developed by Dr Bill Oban in the late 1950s and is known as the 5BX Plan (Five Basic Exercises). It includes stretching, sit-ups, back extensions, push-ups and running on the spot. Prince Charles’s continued fitness into his 70s is a good example of how it’s possible to slow down the body’s ageing process, says Stuart Roberts, author of Get Strong, Get Fit, Get Happy: A Life Manual for 40+.
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“I think one of the main problems with people when they view fitness at any age past 50 is there’s this mental block,” Stuart says. “People tend to think that because they’re a certain age they just can’t do things anymore. Unfortunately, if you think like that, your body tends to follow your mind.”
Dame Helen Mirren , 75, is another famous face who swears by the technique, which has been adopted and adapted by BX.Plans. She once revealed: “it’s the exercise I’ve done on and off my whole life. It just very gently gets you fit.”
According to Sammy Margo, leading physiotherapist and spokesperson for family healthcare specialist Mentholatum: “little and often is ideal” when it comes to sustaining a high level of fitness throughout your life.
So what other sporty activities do the senior royals enjoy?
Her Majesty the Queen – At the age of 94, the Queen is still riding her beloved fell ponies and goes for long walks on the estates at Balmoral and Sandringham.
The Duke of Edinburgh – Philip, now 99, has been carriage driving well into his 90s. He used to be an avid polo player, a great dancer and a keen sailor too.
Prince Charles – As well as his daily 12-minute routines, Charles was a keen polo player in his younger days, only giving up after 40 years in the game. He also used to partake in scuba diving, cycling, skiing, racing and sailing but these days he prefers to keep fit by gardening and in particular enjoys hedgelaying.
Prince William and Kate Middleton
Princess Anne – The Queen’s only daughter picked up her love of sailing from her father and older brother and to this day sets to sea every August around the North East coast of Scotland with her husband. A keen equestrian she took part in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games riding the Queen’s Horse, Goodwill, having previously become the first royal to be named Sports Personality of the year in 1971.
The Duchess of Cornwall – Camilla takes ballet lessons to keep fit and has enjoyed classes with her group the Silver Swans which are specifically aimed at the over-55s.
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