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Julie Bowen: Modern Mother, Modern Family

The actor’s tricks and tips for balancing TV's No. 1 comedy and family -- including three kids under age 3.

Julie Bowen's Fitness Secrets

It's clear that Bowen is a woman on the run. So it comes as no surprise that she jogs nearly every morning. "You can pick up a pair of sneakers anywhere and you're off," she says. "And 45 minutes later, you've had a great workout."

Anyone who's caught Bowen glammed-up and glowing with good health on recent awards shows can testify she looks downright amazing, considering the woman is in her fourth decade of life and has birthed three babies since 2007. What's her secret?

For starters, she's the first one to tell you that staying in shape takes hard work. It also requires sleep, the aforementioned daily runs, plus the commitment to do both.

"I front-load it," she says of getting a good night's rest, meaning she's typically in bed before 10 p.m., a healthy habit that enables her to rise by 5 a.m. and run a few miles before the kids wake up.

Surprisingly, Bowen has worn a pacemaker since she was diagnosed in her early 20s with a cardiovascular condition where the regular heartbeat can drop to dangerously low levels. The pacemaker "serves as a monitor for me," she explains, kicking in when her heart requires it.

And while she doesn't "hear or feel" the device, she's grateful "to live during a time when the technology exists to treat my condition," and is in "excellent health."

Managing a significant health complication helps her understand the importance of staying fit. But there are emotional benefits, too. "Running puts me in a better mood," she says. "For me, it's brain medicine."

Still, Bowen is fast to repeat her philosophy: "If this doesn't work for people, I don't begrudge them one iota. If you like to work out once a week, or work out after work, great. I like to come home and just be with the kids. So I exercise early ... I'm willing to give up late nights and going out in order to get up early -- and that's fine."

Which seems like a perfectly reasonable position to take for a seriously stretched, almost comically busy modern mother of three.

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