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Top Gun Star Jennifer Connelly Reveals Fitness Secrets

Here’s how the star of Top Gun: Maverick keeps healthy and happy.

Jennifer Connelly turned up fit and toned in her return to the big screen alongside Tom Cruise in this summer's blockbuster sequel film, Top Gun: Maverick. The Oscar-winning 51-year-old actor looks incredible and is all about aging naturally. She has shared her secrets to a healthy and happy life over the years; here's how she does it. Read on for seven ways Jennifer Connelly stays in shape and the photos that prove they work.



She Has a Positive Outlook on Aging

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"We equate beauty for women with youth, and that's sad," Connelly told People magazine. "It's a shame it's so hard for so many of us to appreciate the beauty of an older woman and to accept it in ourselves. I don't want to erase my history on my face." 

Research showed that people with positive perceptions of aging live 7.5 years longer than those without them, North Dakota State University said. People with positive perceptions of aging can expect the following benefits, the university said.

  • "Higher rates of recovery from illness and injury.
  • Better brain performance and improved memory.
  • A greater sense of control over their lives and a greater will to live.
  • Greater likelihood that they will talk to a doctor about health problems, get preventive care such as blood pressure screenings and flu shots and pursue health promotion programs."


She Loves Running

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"Running is my favorite workout," Connelly said, according to Parade. But, she added,  "I tried doing jumping lunges for a while. That was dreadful."

Regular running or jogging offers many health benefits, including the following, Better Health reported. 

  • "Help building strong bones, as running is a weight-bearing exercise.
  • Strengthened muscles.
  • Improved cardiovascular fitness.
  • Weight loss and help maintaining a healthy weight."

"An inactive lifestyle is associated with higher mortality, coronary artery disease, hypertension and stroke and is a primary cause of most chronic diseases as the body rapidly adapts to insufficient physical activity, resulting in a reduced quality of life," Better Health reported.


She Avoids Processed Food


Connelly maintains a healthy diet of "mostly whole foods — vegetables, beans, grains, fish, nuts, fruit," Parade reported. Highly processed food may contain added sodium, sugar and unhealthy fat, the American Heart Association said. About 70 percent of the sodium in the typical American diet comes from commercially processed and restaurant food. Manufacturers use sodium to preserve food and modify flavor, among other things.


She Focuses on Happiness

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Connelly, a mother of three, focuses on her happiness and doesn't obsess over a youthful appearance, Parade reported. "The thing that really matters to me is well-being and happiness," Connelly told the magazine. "Maybe it comes from knowing people who have tortured themselves trying to meet these strangely narrow and rigorous definitions of what our culture thinks is beautiful." Happiness is a sense of purpose and well-being, Northwestern Medicine said. A positive attitude translates to a variety of benefits to a person's physical and mental health, including the following, it added.

  • "Opening a person's mind to positivity: Optimism and vitality are critical to a person's well-being.
  • Improving a person's problem-solving ability: Positive-minded individuals believe they can and want to achieve their goals.
  • Building physical, intellectual and social resources: This allows people to learn better because they seek other positive-minded people.
  • Protecting your health: Happiness lowers your risk for cardiovascular disease, lowers your blood pressure, enables better sleep, improves your diet and allows you to maintain a normal body weight through regular exercise and reduced stress."


She Does Yoga

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Connelly runs regularly and does yoga weekly, the Beautiful Mind star told Vogue. "The things I've really loved doing over the years most consistently are running and yoga," she said. Yoga offers physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages, John Hopkins Medicine  said. If you're going through an illness, recovering from surgery or living with a chronic condition, yoga can become an integral part of your treatment and potentially hasten healing, it said.

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more
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