TV presenter and author, Anthea Turner, 61, shares her top tips for ageing well, the power of saying yes and how to move on in a positive way after divorce…
‘I suddenly felt old when I turned 60. It wasn’t because I looked any different to the day before and I didn’t feel like I had changed, but I noticed that the world had changed towards me.
‘Overnight, I was aware of people in their 60s being categorised in a negative way. For instance, my dad, who is still going strong at the age of 90, sent me a picture of my mum and we were trying to work out what birthday she was celebrating. He said, ‘It was an old one, she must have been in her 60s’.
‘When you age, you do start to feel invisible because you’re categorised. It’s as though you’ve parted from the crowd, from young people, and are now in the “autumn” of your life, or, as the Japanese call it, your “second spring”, which is a description I’m clinging on to!’
Anthea Turner: ‘When I turned 60, I noticed that the world had changed towards me.’
‘I now have an overriding desire to make the best of the years I have left. I have to protect my body, look after my life and savour what I have. These later years are precious.
‘My number one anti-ageing hack is to stand up straight and smile. Youthfulness is all about posture, which I’ve been clued up about since I did ballet at the age of five. In short, don’t walk, like an old person. Most of us are lucky enough to walk every single day of our lives but very few people do it well.
‘You will tone and condition your body if you put your shoulders back, engage your core and stand up straight as you propel yourself forward.
‘Good fitness is more about what you do every day than a two-hour gym session once a week. Yes, I do a bit of Pilates and the odd one-hour run, but by sitting, standing, walking and moving properly I naturally tone my body every day.’
Anthea Turner: ‘My number one anti-ageing hack is to stand up straight and smile.’
‘A few years ago, a scan revealed I had osteopenia, a warning sign for osteoporosis. It’s the curse of the skinny older woman! Historically, I didn’t do many weight-bearing exercises but as I’ve got older, I’ve become stronger and generally use my own body as the weight.
‘Sometimes I put 2kg ankle weights on and go for a walk with my French bulldog, Soho. I walk with proper intent!
‘As well as eating good-for-bones foods such as vitamin A-rich kale and mackerel, which is also high in vitamin D, I’ve halted my osteopenia by taking supplements to improve bone density, including an oral vitamin D spray. It’s never too late to build a stronger body.
‘Therapy helped me relax into my life and become more accepting. If someone annoys me, I let it go. I’ve also let go of people who aren’t good for my life.
‘I’ve never had depression as such, but I’ve had very low points and days where I didn’t want to get up in the morning – a feeling that my life is over and where I wondered “what am I going to do?”.
Anthea Turner: ‘Therapy helped me relax into my life and become more accepting.’
‘Those moments have always been through divorce, and you can only talk so much to friends and family, so I sought professional help. I needed somebody to take all the jumble out my head and put it back in some sort of order. I emerged much more in turn, with myself.
‘My stepdaughters have been a huge asset to my life. I couldn’t have children biologically but I’ve developed an incredibly close bond with my ex-husband Grant’s [Grant Bovey] daughter’s Lily, 29, Amelia 27, and Claudia, 25.
‘I’ve known them since they were two, five and six, and when Grant and I got divorced in 2015, I thought “My goodness, I don’t want to lose the girls!” It’s lovely I’ve been able to continue those relationships, which stand alone, away from outside influence and that is unbreakable.
‘If you need exercise to control your weight then you’re on the wrong diet. As a nation, we have forgotten what the word “treat” means. Growing up, sweets were a treat and I didn’t have a sugary drink until I was 13 – back then, a glass of dandelion and burdock on Sunday was a treat.
Anthea Turner: ‘Although I hated it at the time, I’m now grateful for the five years during which I was single.’
‘Nowadays, nothing will stop me having a biscuit and I don’t feel bad because it’s occasional. My fiancé, Mark, is Italian and loves making pasta dishes, but I’ll have it once a fortnight.
‘I stick to the 80/20 rule: I make the right food choices 80 per cent of the time and eat unprocessed food – lots of meat, fish and vegetables – but I like a glass of wine, a gin and tonic and chocolate every now and then. I believe in a little bit of everything.
‘At 9st, I’m half a stone heavier than I was in my 30s. After my second divorce, I dropped to less than 8st and looked too skinny for my height (5ft6ins) but my weight now is what I call my fighting weight and means I can enjoy clothes, which gives me confidence.
‘I believe in the power of saying yes. We make excuses about why we can’t do things but the elixir of life is not in a pot of cream, it’s from spending time with other people, going to places and putting yourself out there.
Anthea Turner: ‘I believe in the power of saying yes…the elixir of life is from putting yourself out there.’
‘I recently did a bungee jump for a TV show and wasn’t scared because I learned from Ant Middleton’s book The Fear Bubble about recognising fear, understanding it and breaking it down so the fear dissipates. It’s about stepping away from the feeling of fear, viewing it from a distance and being present.
‘I also didn’t learn to swim until I was in my 30s. I’d been frightened to death of water because my mum had hated swimming but my first job at Blue Peter was diving from a high board.
‘Over three days, I trained with ex-silver Olympian high board diver Chris Snow and by the end, I swam! I’m still not the greatest swimmer in the world because I hate my face being in the water, but I have no fear of water now.
‘I have Botox but I don’t go for the overly-frozen look. I’ve got quite strong facial muscles so I go once every five months and also use Profhilo, an injectable hyaluronic acid treatment, which is like having moisturiser in a syringe.
‘But any syringe is only as good as the person holding it, so always do your research before getting anything done. I had a boob job in 2003 and so far I’ve been lucky because I’ve not needed to get them redone.
Anthea Turner: ‘Only when you’re 60 plus do you realise how short life is. I want to make each day count.’
‘Louisa May-Alcott in Little Women said that love is a great beautifier and it’s true. I’ve found true love again. Although I hated it at the time, I’m now grateful for the five years during which I was single because they were years of discovery and learning.
‘I’ve learned the importance of not holding onto pain and bad feeling when moving on from a relationship. I have a very good relationship with both my ex-husbands. We don’t go out for meals or on holidays together but we get together for family events, and being friends makes life easier.
‘Only when you’re 60 plus do you realise how short life is. There’s no time for animosity. I want to make each day count.
How to Age Well: The Secrets, by Anthea Turner (£12.99) is available now with free postage and packaging from splendidpublications.co.uk. There are a limited number of signed copies available, too, for £14.99.