How Paula Abdul Alleviates Stress Through Movement

By Lindsey O'Connell

Straight up, now tell us…when was the last time you saw Paula Abdul? Perhaps it was reminiscing while dancing to one of her 80s music videos (currently playing Opposites Attract on repeat), or as a judge on American Idol.  Maybe, you caught her Las Vegas residency, “Paula Abdul: Forever Your Girl” at the Flamingo Hotel. One thing is clear… At the age of 58, Paula Abdul brings as much energy to her life now as she did when she started dancing at eight years old. 

The actress, dancer, singer, and TV personality is looking (and feeling) her best amidst the challenges of the pandemic. In fact, she has taken this time to really tune in to what helps her to thrive. “Finding new ways to move has helped me remember that every movement matters, even the smallest,” she tells Nutritious Life, “especially in the uncertain times we’re living through.”

She sat down with us to share how dance gives her that much-needed boost of happiness (and confidence), and the ways she is staying focused and calm. Plus, she gave us her motivating playlist that is guaranteed to get you up and moving yourself! 

How Paula Abdul Lives a Nutritious Life

How have things changed for you since COVID-19 hit? Because I’m so used to being out and about and spending hours each day rehearsing at the studio with my dancers, one of the biggest challenges for me has been finding ways to stay active while spending more time at home. It’s so important to me to keep my body moving. I’ve been finding new ways to move, like taking regular walks around my neighborhood, stretching at home, and taking dance classes on Zoom. 

What are some of your tips to stay focused…especially now? I wrapped up my Las Vegas residency, Forever Your Girl, in January, and was preparing to go back for another round of performances later this year before the pandemic hit the U.S. While I’m sad the show is on hold for the time being, the prospect of getting back on stage to perform in the future has been keeping me motivated and excited now more than ever! Since we’ve been at home for awhile, it has given me time to find joy in both the little and big things in life. With so much going on around us, I’ve been finding myself enjoying meditation in the morning before I begin my day. It has really helped me clear my mind, and has allowed me to be present and in the moment.  And, of course dancing—a go-to for me when I’m feeling overwhelmed or stressed. I’ve found myself dancing more during quarantine. Dance allows me to get out of my head and have fun—it’s just me, the music, and the living room floor. 

How do you motivate yourself to work out? I make sure I’m prioritizing movement in new ways while still staying safe and healthy. I tell myself that exercise has to be fun; otherwise, it’s easy to talk myself out of it. I LOVE to dance–dancing, jumping, flipping–it’s my heart and soul (I’ve put my joints through a lot over the years). Taking my dogs for walks throughout the day, and taking stretching and dance breaks when I feel I’ve been sedentary for too long are all ways I keep moving and keep my joints warmed up. I was diagnosed with arthritis… I knew I couldn’t let joint pain stop me from doing what I love. To help keep me moving, I have relied on my doctor’s prescription of Voltaren Arthritis Pain which is a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory gel for arthritis pain.  It has made a huge difference in relieving my pain and helps  me to move with ease. 

I’m also always incorporating music into my day to keep me moving without even thinking about it. Check out my curated Pandora playlist, “Music That Moves Me.”

If you had to name your healthy diet, what would you call it? I don’t like the word diet – I believe in everything in moderation. I do try to eat low-alkaline foods which helps lower the acidity in my body to reduce inflammation. I stick to mostly plant-based foods, and try to be mindful about what I put into my body.

Has it been hard to stay on track with your nutrition while in quarantine?  I know that when I eat healthy, I feel better, and I’m able to move better. So, similar to sticking with a fitness routine, I’ve been trying to keep on track with my nutrition the best I can to maintain a sense of normalcy. I have been cooking a lot more which is something I haven’t always had time for, and I’m really enjoying.

What’s the one food you always have in your fridge? Raw Vegetables

Your favorite food indulgence? Tacos

What causes you stress? It’s a difficult time, and we’re all feeling it. There are so many things that can cause stress right now. One of the ways I manage stress is with meditation. Sometimes, I meditate several times a day to clear my head. It’s so important to keep a positive headspace as much as possible.

How do you pamper yourself when you need it? Fragrant bath salts and a lit candle while soaking in a tub with a great face mask

How do you express and spread love?  I have always loved hugging people ever since I was a toddler, and that makes things so hard during this pandemic. I still give virtual hugs to let them know they are loved and cared for.

What is your evening routine to wind down at the end of the day? Stretching and meditation

Lightning Round

Meditation or massage? Massage

A hot shower or a soothing bath? Soothing Bath

Almond butter or peanut butter? Almond Butter

Coffee or tea? Coffee in the morning, and tea throughout the day 

A long run outside or a dark spin class? A long, fast-paced walk

(photo credit: Getty Images)

About Lindsey O'Connell
Former Editorial Director, Nutritious Life

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