Health and Wellness

78-year-old Paul McCartney's fitness routine includes headstands and yoga with Alec Baldwin

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LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 16: Sir Paul McCartney performs live on stage at the O2 Arena during his 'Freshen Up' tour, on December 16, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)
Jim Dyson | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

At 78, Beatles co-founder Paul McCartney is still working, writing new music and, until the Covid-19 pandemic hit, performing in concerts. In 2019, McCartney grossed just over $100 million on solo shows, according to Forbes.

One strategy that helps the septuagenarian stay active as he ages? A fitness routine. McCartney described his approach to wellness on a recent episode of the podcast "Smartless," hosted by Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett.

"I have a very definite routine," McCartney explained on the podcast. But he doesn't have a personal trainer, "it's just me," he said.

First, "I get on the mat, and I do a bunch of stuff there," McCartney said. For example, he said he stretches his legs and uses a foam roller.

"Then, I move over to a cross-trainer," also known as an elliptical machine, McCartney said. Sometimes he will "do a bit of running" for added cardio.

In total, McCartney said he spends about five or ten minutes on each segment of his workout. "It's not a huge workout, but it's good. I like it," he said.

McCartney's "favorite bit" of his workout is a headstand that he does to finish his circuit. The musician regularly practices yoga with a group of friends, including actor Alec Baldwin, that he calls "The Yoga Boys," he said. (A representative for Baldwin did respond to CNBC Make It's request for comment.)

"If I'm in a gym and all the big guys have got big weights and they're doing all the big stuff, at the end I do a headstand," he said. "And they come over to me [and say], 'That's pretty impressive man.'"

Yoga and meditation have been part of McCartney's routine since his Beatles days. In the '60s, The Beatles famously helped popularize Transcendental Meditation, a form of meditation that involves sitting for 20 minutes twice a day and repeating a mantra.

As the story goes, George Harrison's wife, Patti Harrison, suggested that the band meet with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an Indian spiritual guru who was known for introducing Transcendental Meditation to the West. McCartney has referred to meditation as "a lifelong gift."

"Whenever I have a chance in a busy schedule, I'll do it, if I'm not rushing out the door with some crazy stuff to do," he wrote in a 2015 blog post.

Today, Transcendental Meditation is a proprietary practice taught by certified teachers. Hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio took up Transcendental Meditation after hearing about the benefits from The Beatles. And fellow billionaire Oprah Winfrey is also a fan of the practice.

McCartney said on the podcast that his vegetarian diet is another way he stays in shape.

McCartney has been a vegetarian since the late '70s, long before plant-based diets were trendy. "You can get loads of vegetarian options these days, so it's not like it was like in the old days when you just got the boiled sprout," he said in an interview with Wired published in September 2018. 

In addition to going to the gym and eating well, McCartney said on the podcast that he enjoys riding horses, a hobby he developed with his first wife, Linda McCartney.

Check out: Bill Gates on his WFH schedule during the pandemic, including what he likes about it

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