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Rolling Stones: How They Keep Rockin'

Are there health secrets that let these aging rock stars strut across stages year after year?
By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Maybe they're still seeking satisfaction. But time is definitely on their side.

The Rolling Stones are still one of the world's biggest rock and roll bands. They've got the record-setting concert grosses and Super Bowl performance credit to prove it.

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Sure, the band's been around since 1962, and three of its members are in their 60s. But all the jokes about walkers and dentures are getting a bit, well, old. Here are a few post-Super Bowl stats on Mick Jagger for you, courtesy of the British tabloid the Daily Express:

Age: 62. Weight: 140 pounds. Waist size: 28 inches. Distance he struts or sprints in a typical stadium show: about 12 miles.

What's all the more remarkable is that the Stones are not only the longest-running rock group in America but also its some of its most infamous bad boys. Along with some great albums, their legacy includes a long trail of dead or burned-out band members, wives, and groupies who just couldn't keep up with their rock-and-roll lifestyle.

Changing Face of Aging

How does Sir Mick stay in such amazing shape? How does Keith Richards even stay alive -- and doesn't that contradict everything we've been told about how to stay healthy in our senior years? Why haven't the Stones retired to an island somewhere? And what keeps the fans coming out in droves, year after year, to a band that's past its prime?

The answers, it appears, tell us a lot about the changing (but puffy-lipped) face of aging today. To their legions of baby boomer fans, the Stones symbolize their own potential in their later years -- and the possibility of redemption for youthful indiscretions.

"People are being told you can't teach an old dog new tricks, you're over the hill, it's time to lower your expectations of yourself," says Gene Cohen, MD, PhD, a leading aging researcher and author of The Mature Mind. "Now increasingly we're seeing people who still keep their expectations high. It pumps a lot of people up to see that the Stones can still do it."

How Mick Starts It Up

One of the benefits of being in a famous rock band is you can keep a personal trainer on hand as you tour. Jagger's trainer is Torje Eike, a Norwegian whose previous clients include Olympic athletes, national soccer teams, and former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell.

Before a tour, Jagger runs eight miles a day, swims, kickboxes, and works out every other day in the gym, according to a report in the Daily Express. Meanwhile, Eike keeps Jagger on a diet low in fat and high in whole grains. (During the tour, the Stones entourage includes more trainers, dietitians, masseurs, and a physiotherapist, the Daily Express reports.)

Jagger told the Daily Express he reformed himself about 15 years ago and has given up almost all alcohol. But for the other Stones -- the ones who aren't constantly sprinting across the stage -- it's a different story.

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