Award-winning actress Edie Falco, who plays drug-addicted nurse on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, stays active and energized in her real life with smart food picks and regular workouts. Yet for her, the flab-firming effects of sweat sessions are simply an added perk. It's the mood-boosting benefits that motivate her to carve out time for cardio.
Falco shares her top tips for creating a healthy, happier you.
By Meryl Davids Landau
When you were in your 20s and 30s, you probably ignored random aches or other minor physical annoyances, and they usually went away. But now those symptoms can come back — often with a different cause, and calling for more serious attention.
Score “me” time on the move. As an Emmy-winning actress and a single mom, finding time to exercise or sneak in alone time isn’t always easy. Her solution? Combine the two: “I’ll have the nanny watch the kids, and I’ll do an exercise of some kind and listen to music,” Falco says. “It’s very quiet time, very private time.”
Gym more to grin more. To Falco, exercise is far more than staying trim and toned. “It always clears my head,” says Falco, who was running up to 5 miles a day until knee pain caused her to cut back. “You feel better all day because of the endorphins running through your system. I do it more for my brain than anything else.”
Plan post-lunch lounges. Early wake-up calls with her kids and endless to-do lists often keep Falco from scoring 8 hours of shut-eye at night. How she pays back the debt: Midday snooze fests. “I love to nap in the afternoon,” Falco says. “I’ll grab my dog, and we’ll go up in my bedroom and sleep for a few hours. It’s not consistent, but it seems like the greatest luxury in the world.”
Snack smartly. Forget chocolate, cookies, or cake. Falco’s must-have treat is popcorn. “There’s something about watching TV and eating popcorn that’s so deeply satisfying,” Falco says. “It’s got all the perfect flavors."
Boycott boredom. Besides running, Falco stays active with Pilates, yoga, and the elliptical machine. “I’m always switching it up to stay interested,” Falco says. Bonus: Varying your routine will help you avoid plateaus and help prevent overuse injuries, too.