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The Rolling Stones

Drink and drugs? We’d rather do yoga

Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts and Keith Richards. Dave Benett/Getty Images

Despite a combined age of 309, the four remaining members of the Rolling Stones are fitter than ever, says Guy Kelly in The Telegraph. The rock stars have weathered a lifetime of hell-raising and are touring the US this autumn. So what’s their secret?

For Mick Jagger, it’s exercise – the 78-year-old still has a 28in waist. On tour he walks 12 miles a night, “tottering from one side of the stage to another”. Off stage he’s just as sprightly. Jagger trains for up to five hours a day, running eight miles and eating like an athlete – high protein, low carbs.

Charlie Watts, 80, and Keith Richards, 77, settled for going cold turkey. The former quit smoking, booze and drugs in middle age. The latter clung on longer, giving up drugs in 2006 and cigarettes in 2019. “Quitting heroin is like hell, but it’s a short hell,” said Richards. “Cigarettes are just always there.” His one remaining vice is shepherd’s pie, which he orders before every gig. “Pure fuel.”

That leaves Ronnie Wood, 74, who has survived cancer twice. He smoked more than 30 cigarettes a day for 50 years and was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2017. He had part of his lung removed, but made a full recovery – only to find out he had small cell cancer. He has beaten that too, and these days swears by meditation and yoga. But mostly it’s good luck, said Wood. “Somebody up there likes us.”

❤️ 🐴 💣 ⚡️ 🌴 During their 59 years together, Jagger and Richards have displayed an uncanny ability to dodge near-death experiences. The Stones frontman has survived an assassination attempt, a car crash, heart surgery and almost falling off a galloping stallion. He thumped the horse’s forehead to make it slow down – he had never ridden before. Richards is even jammier. In 1944 he and his mother were evacuated from London. When they returned, they found a V-1 bomb had dropped on his cot. In 1965 he was electrocuted on stage: he was saved by his rubber-soled boots. In 1971 he fell asleep with a lit cigarette, sending his bed up in flames. In the 1990s he was crushed by falling books, breaking three ribs. And in 2006 he had brain surgery after falling 7ft from a palm tree. Well, said Richards: “All part of life’s rich pageant.”