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Cynthia Nixon on Love, Sex, and Women's Health

The Sex and the City star talks about playing Miranda, her battle with breast cancer, her fabulous 40s, and her next role.

On Life As Miranda continued...

Instead of getting excited about a to-die-for designer suit or drop-dead gorgeous jewelry, Nixon gets excited talking about the stack of boxes where she stores all her family's holiday supplies -- like the birthday box with the crown, noisemakers, and balloons.

As otherworldly as the SATC wardrobes might be -- the stars never wear the same outfit twice -- Nixon says neither the clothes nor the number of easy-on-the-eyes New York City bachelors is the most unbelievable part of the show. She says it's the fact that hard-charging, big-city professionals Miranda, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) manage to schedule lunches or brunches two to three times a week. "It's like, come on, who are we kidding?"

Cynthia's Support Network

Nixon, who grew up in the same neighborhood where she now lives, close to her mother, does have a tight group of girlfriends from grade school days. They have had regular meals together for the last 30 years, but a little less often than the SATC crew -- it's every New Year's Eve at a Chinese restaurant. As for presenting her personal issues to a table of friends for a vote, she's not that kind of girl either. "I get advice one-on-one, not by committee," she says. "There are friends you turn to for different things -- advice dealing with work, or your mother, or your kid, or decorating your home. And then there are friends I have a meal with and [find I] didn't even know what was bothering me until I talked to them about it."

On Exercise Strategy

Nixon has a similar approach to her physical well-being, calling on experts for various needs. For strength training, she works with a trainer on weight machines, using a slow-burn method called Serious Strength. Nixon calls this the "PowerBar of exercise," because she says it's so effective in totally exhausting her muscles in just 20 minutes. She did it right after her son was born, when she had less than two months to get in shape for the Golden Globe Awards, and it worked wonders.

At least once a week she takes a yoga class and trains on machines at a gyrotonics studio, both of which she says helps her with core strength, balance, and flexibility. She says gyrotonics (a stretching and strengthening exercise in which users work with a trainer on equipment that moves limbs in circular motions) also helps her realign her posture and her gait. She gets a massage and visits her chiropractor once a week for tightness in her back and has been seeing an acupuncturist regularly since she was treated for breast cancer three and a half years ago. The acupuncturist, Nixon says, is like a friend who helps her figure out what's wrong when all she knows beforehand is that she's feeling a little "off."

Nixon is doing everything right. Marianne J. Legato, MD, professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University in New York, says regular exercise is critical for women in their 40s, and three days a week for 40 minutes is enough to do the trick. "Walk fast to work, two miles a day," say Legato, who is also adjunct professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. "Use the stairs instead of the elevator and walk instead of driving your car as often as you can."  

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