Paula Abdul stretches twice a day: ‘Stretching is a form of meditation’


Paula Abdul has a new interview with Parade Magazine that my local paper included in an insert called “Spry Living.” I enjoy Paula and she usually gives a good interview. Paula talked to Parade about how much she loves being a judge on The Masked Singer and about her rheumatoid arthritis and how she keeps active. Paula, 58, said that stretching is key and that she tries to stretch in the morning and at night. I’m reporting this to get myself to stretch more, honestly. If I talk about it enough maybe I’ll finally do it. Here’s more of what Paula told Parade:

What do you do for rehabilitation?
I’ve done Pilates. I take ice baths. One of the things that works for me is Voltaren, a pain relief gel. And now that I’ve been able to implement this into my daily routine, it helps prolong my life as a performer. I was used to being in pretty bad pain, but the pain relief is almost instantaneous and gets me through my performances. One of my best friends also gave me a mini Theragun [a handheld deep muscle massager] during the pandemic. I can fit it in my purse and I can massage out my muscles and joints. And for me, that’s just part and parcel to something else that’s good for me.

What does your day-to-health routine look like?
I try to eat anti-inflammatory and alkaline foods [to maintain an optimal pH level in the body]. I’m not crazy with it, but I do everything that I can in moderation and that definitely helps me. And I don’t like saying “diet.” To me, that word sets me up to fail. I just try to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

What are some stretching habits you live by?
It’s very easy to succumb to being a couch potato and watching TV, especially during the pandemic, but not moving is the worst situation for anyone who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. Stretching is critical. I stretch in the morning right when I get up, and I stretch before I go to bed. And that’s a form of meditation. I set a devotion in the morning and meditate on it, same thing before going to sleep. I also stretch while watching TV. During the commercials, I will get up and do a little bit of movement, stretch, take that time to dance it out. Even if it’s five minutes here or there, then all of a sudden, you’re at 15 minutes.

What have you done to keep your excitement and creativity up?
I love to try new things. I recently took an online ballroom dance lesson. It’s pretty funny when you’re doing one part and you see the instructor doing the other part, but you’re dancing by yourself! I’ve also done some cooking lessons online. I’ve been cooking and baking up a storm.

[From Parade]

Paula also talked about losing three of her dogs during lockdown, which sounds heartbreaking, and how she’s not dating because she’s not even hanging out with her friends. I love that she’s taking things seriously. So many people aren’t, particularly celebrities who seem to be hooking up with new partners left and right.

Apart from how much she stretches I could relate to a lot of what she said. I also love baking and cooking now and have taken dancing lessons on Zoom. Dancing is one of my favorite things too. I will gladly do hard cardio like kickboxing and spinning, but it’s hard for me to slow down enough to stretch or do yoga. As a result I’m having muscle soreness and pain now that I’ve upped my workouts, which is ridiculous. I meditate about once a day, but I either want to go full speed when I work out or just rest, there’s no in between. I definitely need it though. Oya teaches tantra yoga once a week and I love that because it’s slow and you get to rest a lot. It’s much more like meditation than typical yoga. Maybe that’s similar to what Paula does when she stretches.

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20 Responses to “Paula Abdul stretches twice a day: ‘Stretching is a form of meditation’”

  1. Ariel says:

    It is just me or does the top picture not look like her?
    Then again, i saw at Paula on screen a lot in the late 80s and 90s, and frankly, i don’t look like i did then either.

  2. Esmom says:

    After a lifetime of not stretching after running or working out, I became a convert when I was almost 50. I was telling a trainer about how much my back would hurt when I was running and he instantly said “you need to stretch your glutes.” I shot back that it was my back that hurt, not my glutes, and he laughed and said maybe I didn’t realize they were connected. He showed me how to stretch them using a tennis or lacrosse ball and seriously, I have not had back pain when I run in the 3+ years since. It was truly life changing to realize how much some simple stretching can do.

    That said, I know I could be better about stretching in general so I have started doing the stretching sessions on the Peloton app. Pilates and yoga, too, but there is a lot to be said for the basic stretching routines they offer. They are great and in two months I think I am less stiff and hobbling in the mornings and recover from my workouts faster for sure.

  3. fani says:

    I love her

  4. Jen says:

    Last time I was in LA, I saw a “stretch studio.” I laughed because, isn’t that yoga?? I find yoga to be very mindful and meditative because it takes concentration to place your body correctly and breathe along with movement (or stillness). There’s not room in my brain for anything else. I tend to take full on vinyasa flow classes, so those eventually replaced cardio for me. Slow or yin classes can feel so good occasionally. Anyhow, I’ve just noticed this “stretching” being brought up more and it just sounds like yoga for people who don’t like yoga. I’d be happy to have someone confirm or deny.

    • Chaine says:

      I think it’s just yoga for people that don’t want to do “yoga.” A lot of my relatives are super-conservative Xians and they won’t do “yoga” because they think it is a portal to “demonic eastern religions” or something but if you call it stretching and there’s no saying of “namaste” or “om” they literally think it’s a totally different Jesus-sanctioned thing.

    • Esmom says:

      I posted above about taking Peloton stretch classes, they are nothing like yoga. Yoga, while it helps my flexibility, it’s still a workout that can make me very sore. Stretching is just all recovery, no work. I’ve also seen a chain called Stretch Lab and i have no idea what they actually do, but in my mind it’s less about working out and more about recovery.

      • Cerise says:

        I love The Peloton app stretching videos! I almost spend as much time stretching as on the bike and it definitely makes a massive difference in recovery and mobility. Their foam rolling videos are great,too.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      It’s funny because I used to see yoga as stretching for people who didn’t want to take time to stretch. It got me to stretch starting more than 40 years ago.

  5. BountyHunter says:

    Good for her. You can read that with a sarcasm quotient or not. It’s up to you. Both ways work for me.
    I admire her hopeful spirit and realistic viewpoint. And it’s always horrible to lose a pet (member of the family). I can only imagine how devastating it would be during COVID lockdown.
    That being said, I work full time, pandemic or no, and I cannot afford, nor do I have the energy for online dancing lessons.

  6. BeanieBean says:

    When I was a runner, I tried yoga, but it was too slow for me. Now that I no longer run, I’m loving yoga. I’m also a couple of decades older than when I last run, so that may have something to do with it. But keep trying CB, yoga (aka ‘stretching’, apparently) is really worth it. What other form of exercise ends with you lying supine, breathing in and out, all nice & relaxed?

  7. Venus says:

    I do three half Sun Salutations in the morning and it helps so much with my hips and legs. I never thought about doing them before bed too, but that’s a great idea. Thanks, Paula Abdul!

  8. Sojaschnitzel says:

    Kids, Yin Yoga has saved my life. I recommend stretching highly, and Yoga even more. I love it so much.

  9. Sarah I says:

    I notice that her cheeks look a little like Demi Moore’s new cheeks. Just not so pronounced.

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