Matthew McConaughey, who will soon turn 49, is in better shape than most men half his age. But don’t think the Oscar-winning actor spends hours in the gym getting into fighting shape. The Texan, known for his roles in Dazed and Confused, A Time to Kill and Magic Mike, prefers to stay fit by engaging in outdoor activities.
“There’s a lot of ways to be active outdoors,” McConaughey told Men’s Journal. “It’s more fun that way.”
The star has been known to run on the beach, bike, do pull-ups, all outside. Lately, he’s been paddling on Lake Austin in Texas, which is a great core exercise, as well as swimming. While he’s out running, he’ll mix in some calisthenics. “At the halfway point I’ll drop down and [do] intermittent crunches and pushups, and then run the second half,” he says.
He says his routine was inspired by his mother who always said, “If it is light outside, you must be out of the house.” The actor, who knows his job requires him to be in top shape, has made fitness his lifestyle. Known for his iconic phrase, “just keep livin'” from his breakout role in 1993’s Dazed and Confused, McConaughey started JK Livin, a non-profit foundation, in 2005. The organization strives to encourage children to make positive and healthy changes in their lives by being more active.
The foundation implements afterschool fitness and wellness programs in 32 inner-city high schools, helping kids improve their physical and mental health through exercise, teamwork, gratitude, nutrition and community service.
McConaughey has worked with trainer Peter Park to develop his fitness routine. Park says McConaughey likes to be challenged since he tends to get bored at the gym. One of his go-to exercises is picking up a dumb-bell and holding it for 15 minutes. “It’s not as simple as it seems,” Park says. “You shift the weight from high above your head, in your right arm, then your left, then rest it on your shoulders, adding more weight to your back, then your legs.” The trainer says the exercise gives you a full-body workout by finding out how many positions you can handle without setting the weight on the ground. It also allows you to pinpoint the stronger and weaker spots in your body.
Another favorite of McConaughey is doing traffic light lunges, which involve performing five walking lunges at a normal pace—green light—and then your next five as slowly as possible, lowering your body very gradually into the lunge position — yellow light. Following the fifth slow lunge, you hold the lunge position for five seconds — red light. You continue the exercise until you have completed 15 lunges of each type.
Regardless of which exercise you prefer, the idea is to be active and to be outdoors, so remember, stay outside until it gets dark.