Tina Turner’s 12 Daily Habits That Helped Her Live 83 Inspired Years

Updated: Jun. 14, 2023

The Queen of Rock-n-roll ate what she wanted, danced her heart out, and shared her soul with the world—here's how to live your life as joyfully as she did

Tina Turner performs at Shoreline Amphitheatre on May 23, 1997 in Mountain View California.
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

If you’ve ever seen Tina Turner perform live—which she last did on New Year’s Eve 2022—you might have thought the music icon seemed ageless…immortal, even. From her powerhouse voice to electrifying stage presence and energetic dancing, you would never have known she was 83 years old. But earlier this year she became ill, with some sources reporting intestinal cancer and a stroke. On Tuesday, May 23, 2023, Tina Turner’s family announced she died peacefully at her home in Switzerland.

Born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939, in Nutbush, Tennessee, Turner never had an easy life. In the 1960s and ’70s, she rose to fame as the lead singer of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, performing with her then-husband, before launching her decades-long solo career. Tina Turner was known just as much for her personal struggles and shared her experiences openly with her fans, earning a reputation for female strength.

So how did Tina Turner live such a long and successful life despite her many struggles? The answer is that good genetics and chance likely played their roles, but a lot of the credit goes to her healthy lifestyle. Tina Turner had some famously great health habits and a resilient attitude. Ready to take notes from the Queen of Rock-n-roll? Following her lead won’t make you a famous singer (but who are we to crush your dreams?), but it will definitely make you happier and healthier.

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Tina Turner performs on stage in 1972 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
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1. Tina Turner maintained a spiritual practice

Turner grew up Southern Baptist but as her spirituality evolved, she eventually turned to Buddhism, crediting it for giving her a purpose in life—one of the best things you can do for your health and happiness. “After I began practicing Buddhism, I realized that my hardships could give me a mission—a purpose. I saw that by overcoming my obstacles, I could build indestructible happiness and inspire others to do the same,” she said in an interview with the Harvard Business Review. “I credit my spiritual practice with all the positive transformations—from the smallest to the largest—I’ve had in my career and personal life.”

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Tina Turner In A Bed circa 1980s
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2. Getting 10 (!) hours of sleep each night

Look at that fresh face! Thanks to her rigorous touring schedule, Turner’s internal clock was set to ET (entertainment time, that is). “I am late to bed and late to rise, a habit of years of rock and roll touring,” she told Vogue in an interview. But, she admitted, she still prioritized getting enough shut-eye—”a good night’s sleep is the key,” she said, adding she aimed for about 10 hours each night.

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Music icon Tina Turner poses at home for a portrait in December 1984 in Los Angeles, California.
Aaron Rapoport/Getty Images

3. Tina Turner meditated daily

Turner meditated daily and chanted a mantra when she felt anxious or stressed. One of her go-to mantras was Change poison into medicine, to remind her to reframe negative situations or roadblocks and transform or remove them through positivity. “This allowed my true self to come out, and I became cheerful, confident, and resilient,” she wrote in her book Happiness Becomes You. “My approach to life and work became calmer and more thoughtful, and my reactions were more tempered.”

Looking for your own personal mantra? Try these 25 statements to remind yourself you are worthy.

Tina Turner dancing on stage In Rotterdam, holland, november 1990
Rob Verhorst/Getty Images

4. Tina Turner Loved to move

The key to making exercise a regular habit is to find something you genuinely love doing. For Turner that was clearly dancing, something she did with unabashed joy on stage. When Vogue asked what her exercise routine was to shape her famous legs, she replied, “Dancing! Any excuse and I will dance anywhere.”

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Tina Turner sings during a Recording Session circa 1969
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

5. Tina Turner had a strong a creative outlet

Songwriting was one of Turner’s greatest gifts, alongside her singing. But it wasn’t something that came easily to her and she dedicated countless hours to writing and composing. This creative outlet not only gave her a healthy outlet for her feelings but doing creative things, like writing, singing and painting have huge cognitive benefits. Not sure where to start to be creative? Write what you know: “I started with the topic I knew best: my own life. I wrote about my hometown of Nutbush in what became the 1973 hit ‘Nutbush City Limits,'” she said.

Singer Tina Turner is photographed in her dressing room backstage ahead of her show at New York's Radio City Music Hall in New York, 12th July 1993.
Dave Hogan/Getty Images

6. Tina Turner had a sensible diet

From Thai food to vegetarian to local delicacies, Turner was photographed enjoying a wide variety of delicious foods. So how did she keep her healthy muscular physique? Not by starving! “I knew a very long time ago that I always wanted to be as slender and attractive as I possibly could be,” she said in an interview with the Daily Mail. “But I hate all that calorie counting. I eat what I want and then if my weight starts to go up, I cut back.”

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Tina Turner With Step Son Michael Turner And Son Ronnie Turner circa 1972
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

7. Tina Turner made time for friends and family

Fame can be isolating, as Turner found out when her ex-husband Ike used it as a way to abuse her. But as she got older Turner made it a point to spend time with her loved ones, including her four children. She also made friends wherever she went, recognizing the joy and benefits of having a large social circle. “I do my best to see people as individuals and emphasize common ground,” she said.

Here Are 9 Ways to Make Friends as an Adult

Tina Turner arriving on the red carpet for the fashion show by 77-year-old designer Giorgio Armani at the 798 art complex in Beijing on May 31, 2012

8. Following a self-care routine

“I am blessed to have very good skin,” Turner told Vogue. But it wasn’t all genetics. No matter how tired she was after a show, she made it a point to practice self-care by washing off her makeup and using a deep moisture cream before bed. Clearly it worked: Tina Turner had glowy, supple skin well into her eighties!

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Tina Turner performs on stage on her 'Foreign Affair' tour, at Woburn Abbey on July 29th, 1990 in Woburn, United Kingdom.
Dave Hogan/Getty Images

9. Tina Turner exited a toxic relationship

Not all relationships are worth saving, especially those that are toxic or abusive. Staying with people who hurt you takes a terrible toll on your mental and physical health. Tina Turner’s escape from her abusive marriage was very public but, like many victims of domestic violence, it took the singer a long time to figure out how to leave. “For a long time I felt like I was stuck, with no way out of the unhealthy situation I was in,” she said. “Once I could see myself clearly, I began to change, opening the way to confidence and courage. It took a few years, but finally I was able to stand up for my life and start anew.” Not only did she save her own life, but she provided a powerful inspiration to other women in similar situations.

How to Leave an Abusive Relationship: 18 Expert Tips

Tina Turner in switzerland circa 1990s
ullstein bild Dtl./Getty Images

10. Tina Turner spent time outdoors

After retiring from the public eye, Turner and her husband Erwin moved their family to Switzerland—largely for the beautiful and relaxing scenery. “I love spending days in Switzerland with my husband driving into the mountains,” she said. “It’s relaxing and very spiritual to be surrounded by the lake and beautiful nature.”

Are you a nature lover too? Being outdoors has powerful health benefits and is linked with a longer life in the research. It’s not just the exercise that boosts your health. Science has shown that simply being outdoors, in nature, lowers stress hormones, slows your your heart rate, reduces blood pressure, and increases feelings of safety and well-being, according to a study on “forest bathing.”

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Tina Turner performs on stage at the Gelredome on March 21st, 2009 in Arnhem, Netherlands
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11. Tina Turner embraced aging

Aging in showbiz is seen as one of the worst things a woman can do (as if she has any other option!), and many stars fight it as long as they can with surgery, drugs and photoshop. Not Tina Turner, though! “Of course, I’ve aged a bit in the face, but not enough to worry about it. I have common sense enough to know that if I’m [aging], something has to happen,” she said to the Daily Mail. “As time passes, a woman goes through changes with her body, her hormones and all of that, but I don’t have a problem with that. So I am fortunate.” This happy attitude toward aging is revolutionary and sets a great example, especially because how we talk about aging has a powerful effect on our health and happiness as we get older.

Studio portrait of American rock singer Tina Turner, wearing a dark crocheted mini-dress, looking up and snapping her fingers while singing, New York City, november 1969
Jack Robinson/Getty Images

12. Tina Turner chose happiness every day

Experts agree: Happiness is a choice, not a circumstance. No one knew this better than Tina Turner. After suffering a stroke and cancer, she shared, “My challenges can either make me a better version of myself or break me apart, and I have a choice as to which it will be. It’s so important to remember that you do have a choice, even when it feels as if you don’t. I choose to be hopeful and to honor each experience in my life, negative and positive, as a chance to increase my wisdom, courage, and compassion.”

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