Mick Jagger at 80: What We Can Learn About Longevity From the Legendary Rolling Stones Frontman

Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger performs with the Rolling Stones during their 2021 'No Filter Tour.' Jagger turns 80 on July 26. Photo: Scott Legato/Getty Images

For a frontman who famously declared in a 1975 People magazine interview that “I’d rather be dead than sing ‘Satisfaction’ when I’m 45,” Mick Jagger seems pretty satisfied with life as he hits the big 8-0 this week (July 26).

Of course, Jagger made that comment when he was just barely over the age of 30. Could he have imagined that, 50 years on, not only would the Rolling Stones still be one of the biggest acts in music but he, as the frontman and face of the legendary band, would also still be strutting and chicken dancing across stages as if he’d never aged a day? Could any of us have imagined it?

Mick Jagger has, for decades, defied aging conventions and expectations. Which means that either he works really hard at maintaining his youthful spirit, or there’s a portrait of him withering away in a closet somewhere.

We’re banking on the former and, given Jagger’s lifestyle and personal history, these are some of the secrets of longevity — some obvious, others not as much — that we’ve gleaned from the rock ‘n’ roll legend. 


Your Diet Matters


Duh, right? We all know that what we put in our bodies makes a big difference to our overall health and longevity. But Jagger — a known health-conscious eater for years — is literally a walking, singing example of the benefits of a balanced, nutritious diet.     

Numerous reports have stated that the ex-wife of Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, Jo Wood, introduced Jagger to the benefits of organic foods. Jagger is also known to enjoy “a diet consisting primarily of fresh fruit and veg, whole grains, legumes, chicken and fish,” according to The Mirror, which also noted that he “has reportedly tried the keto diet — a high fat, very low-carb regime that followers say helps drive down their body fat levels.”  

But that’s not all Jagger is consuming. 

The Sun reports that he also takes multiple vitamins “paired with cod liver oil, ginseng and ginkgo biloba, which are said to improve endurance and brain function.”

Imagine being backstage at a Rolling Stones gig, finding what you think is their “stash” and it turns out to be vitamins and cod liver oil. Maybe not what you’d expect, but it’s one of the reasons Mick and the band are still rocking today.


It Turns Out You Also Need Exercise


Another obvious one, right? Sure. But, as usual, Mick Jagger takes it to another level. In 2019, just weeks after having a heart valve replaced, Jagger was filmed tearing up the dance floor in a video on social media.

Going on 76 at the time, you don’t recover that fast without having a solid physical base to work from. Jagger’s father was a physical education teacher, and physical activity has always been a priority in his life. Like his music, however, the rocker’s taste in exercise is eclectic. 

“His routine has always included running, cycling and kickboxing,” Vogue reported in 2019, noting that his personal trainer also works with professional athletes. 

“Sir Mick also performs ballet, weight training, pilates, jogging and dynamic stretching,” The Mirror reported, “ensuring he maintains maximum flexibility.” 

When it comes to getting into stage shape, Jagger told The Sunday Times in 2022 that, ahead of a tour, his workout regime includes “six weeks of practise even before rehearsals start” involving “dancing, gym, every day of the week.” 

“I don’t enjoy it very much,” he added, “but it has to be done.”

If that’s not the most relatable thing Mick Jagger has ever said …


Keep Doing What You Love


Studies have shown that happiness and longevity go hand in hand, and a big part of aging well is continuing to indulge in activities and passions that bring you joy. That could be a job, a hobby or an artistic or athletic pursuit — anything you that stimulates your mind and/or body and continues to challenge you.  

Clearly, being with the band and performing still brings Jagger joy. And the Rolling Stones even reportedly have a new album of original tunes — their first in nearly two decades — due later this year. But the added part of the equation is that it forces him to stay in good shape. 

“Rock ’n’ roll, or any kind of pop music honestly, isn’t supposed to be done when you’re in your 70s. It wasn’t designed for that,” he said in his Sunday Times interview. “Doing anything high-energy at this age is really pushing it. But that makes it even more challenging. So it’s, like, ‘OK, we’ve got to f***ing do this right,’ but it’s got to be as full-on as possible. Of course you could do another type of music — we’ve got lots of ballads. I could sit on a chair.” 

And as Jagger’s bandmate Keith Richards once said, “We age not by holding on to youth, but by letting ourselves grow and embracing whatever youthful parts remain.”

In addition to fronting the world’s most famous band, Jagger boasts other interests in the performing arts realm.

He famously co-created the 2016 HBO music industry drama Vinyl. And in 2019, Jagger did the orchestration for the ballet Porte Rogue, which was created by his girlfriend, ballerina Melanie Hamrick (whose relationship with Jagger recently sparked engagement rumours that the rocker’s reps deny).


Get a Grip on Your Emotions


Jagger, in the Sunday Times interview, noted that he and his Rolling Stones bandmates have been “getting more mature” in dealing with their various emotions — which do have a history of boiling over into very public squabbles. 

“We’re in a very immature business. I’m under no illusions about that. But it doesn’t mean that you have to be immature,” Jagger said, adding that “it’s taken a long time” to reach that point of understanding.

And Ronnie Wood vouched for the singer in the story, saying, “Mick’s been through so many different moods and images in his life, and he’s come back to this really warm person.” 

The band also just celebrated their 61st anniversary, and you don’t stay together that long without finding ways to work on your emotional well-being.

As we know, too much stress can shorten lifespans. So cutting out the bad vibes and temperamental reactions to go from “wild horses” to “let’s spend the night together” seems to be working for Jagger as he struts his way into his 80s, with no sign of slowing down. 

It’s one of the valuable lessons we can take from the rocker’s life, even if none of us intend to be strutting across a stage anytime soon.


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