How King Charles keeps fit in his 70s – including his 11-minute daily workout  

As the oldest monarch ever to ascend to the throne, we reveal exactly how Charles III stays in royal shape.

King Charles III is the oldest monarch ever to ascend to the British throne, having become King on the passing of his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, last September when he was aged 73 years, 9 months and 23 days.  

Now aged 74 – he celebrated his birthday on November 14 – Charles will be crowned at his coronation ceremony this coming Saturday (May 6). 

It is somewhat unusual for an heir to ascend the throne so late in their lives. Indeed, some 80% of British royals throughout history became King or Queen before their 40th birthday. 

A close-up of King Charles IIICredit: Shutterstock / LINGTREN.COM
King Charles keeps fit with walking and a 5-move workout

Family history suggests the new King has many healthy years ahead of him. Queen Elizabeth reigned until the age of 96 and was largely fit and active until her death. The King’s father, Prince Phillip, lived to the age of 99 and his maternal grandmother, the Queen Mother, passed away at the grand age of 101. 

But good genes only go so far, and the King himself has previously joked that keeping his weight in check is a “never-ending battle”.  

So just how has Charles stayed fit and healthy into his 70s? Below, we explore the workouts he is thought to swear by, as well as everything we know about his approach to healthy eating. 


How King Charles keeps fit – including his 5-move workout 

Charles has been active throughout his adult life, something that stands him in good stead for a healthy old age. He was a regular polo player until hanging up his mallet at the age of 57, having played for some 40 years. 

Studies have shown that being physically active in middle-age is beneficial to successful ageing. (Although another study confirmed it’s never too late to get started: significant health benefits can be achieved by those who became physically active relatively late in life.)  

Charles is also a keen gardener, a physical activity that can count as cardio exercise in itself (as our gardening workout illustrates). 

His commitment to staying physically active and maintaining a healthy diet is rooted in discipline, a value his father, the late Duke of Edinburgh, instilled in him from an early age.  

Charles’s son, Prince William, recently confirmed this, telling a BBC documentary: “He has amazing personal discipline. He has a routine… The man never stops.” 

When it comes to keeping fit, nowadays his routine features two key activities: daily walks and a workout know as 5BX. 

King Charles and Queen Camilla pictured under a multicoloured parachuteCredit: Shutterstock
Charles’s workout includes running to help keep him fit

King Charles’s 5BX workout

The core of Charles’s fitness regime is the 5BX workout, which stands for “five basic exercises”. It is believed that he completes the 11-minute routine twice a day. 

It is a military fitness plan, which is unsurprising, given that Charles spent five years serving in the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. It was developed for the Royal Canadian Air Force by Dr. Bill Orban in the 1950s. 

This particular fitness regime appears to be a family affair, with Princes William and Harry also believed to follow the training programme. 

As the name suggests, the workout consists of five separate moves, to be completed in under 11 minutes. 

There are six levels of difficulty to move through, but the five core activities are always the same. They are: 

  1. Stretching 
  2. Sit-ups 
  3. Back extension 
  4. Push-ups 
  5. Running on the spot 

As you move through the six stages, modifications and progressions are introduced to up the intensity and work you harder. 

The plan, which is available in paperback from Amazon (£11.99), is a form of functional fitness, combining both cardio and strength training to give a full-body workout. 

Becky Fuller is a personal trainer who works with clients in their 70s. She is also Exceptional’s fitness writer. She says that the 5BX plan is a great way to maintain an all-round level of fitness, especially for older people.  

“The five exercises cover all the main areas we want to focus on as we age: flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular fitness,” she says.

Cover of the book 5BX 11-minute plan for menCredit: BXPLANS
The 5BX plan is outlined in a handy book
Buy 5BX 11-Minutes Plan, £11.99, Amazon

“As we age, joints can stiffen, and flexibility becomes an issue. A daily stretching routine keeps everything moving and can help prevent many aches and pains. 

“Back extensions are particularly helpful for improving posture, helping us to open our ribcage and breathe more effectively. Sit-ups improve core strength, while push-ups build the muscles of the chest, shoulders and arms.”  

She adds: “It’s important to keep bones strong as we get older, and any form of strength training helps protect against osteoporosis.” 

She’s also enthusiastic about the fifth of the 5BX activities, saying: “Running is a great form of cardio. The heart and lungs get a workout, meaning they function more efficiently. Regular cardio exercise can help reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease as well as many other medical conditions.” 

King Charles’s love of hiking 

Regular hikes are another major factor in Charles’s good health – indeed his wife, Camilla, labelled him “a mountain goat” in a recent interview because of his love of walking. 

Speaking to Emma Barnett on her Radio 5 show in July 2020, the then Duchess of Cornwall said: “He is probably the fittest man of his age I know. He’ll walk and walk and walk.  

“He’s like a mountain goat, he leaves everybody miles behind.” 

The benefits of walking are well documented. They include improved heart health, stronger muscles, bones and joints and weight management, as well as bringing mental health benefits. 

What’s more, it’s a relatively easy and accessible activity to start (both for able-bodied people and, thanks to the efforts of the likes of Debbie North, the government’s Disability and Access Ambassador for the countryside, increasingly for wheelchair users too). All that’s typically needed is a suitable pair of walking shoes, weather-appropriate clothing, and the will to get out there and walk. 


King Charles’s diet

Charles has earned himself the nickname “the climate king” thanks to his passionate advocacy for the environment, something that’s reflected in his daily diet. 

Speaking in a 2021 BBC interview about what we can all do to reduce our carbon footprint, Charles said: The business of what we eat of course is important.” 

He went on to reveal that he has tried to reduce his consumption of animal products, saying: “For years I haven’t eaten meat and fish on two days a week, and I don’t eat dairy products on one day a week.” 

However, you won’t find Charles tucking into a delicious plant-based meal come lunchtime – as the King does not stop for lunch. 

In a list of 70 facts released to mark the then-Prince of Wales’s 70th birthday, number 20 simply read: “The Prince does not eat lunch.” 

He does, however, enjoy a protein-rich breakfast staple: eggs. 

The King keeps free-range chickens on his estate at Highgrove, and is said to enjoy boiled eggs from his very own brood. 

He was forced to deny a bizarre rumour that he is served seven boiled eggs every morning, only to pick one and discard the rest. 

Cheesy baked eggs with spinach and tomatoesCredit: Shutterstock / Alexander Prokopenko
King Charles enjoys protein-rich cheesy baked eggs

But in 2020, the official Clarence House Twitter account shared the recipe for Charles’s favourite cheesy eggs. Featuring spinach, tomatoes and “any number of our great British cheeses”, the recipe encouraged followers to “use organic ingredients where possible”. 

The King also enjoys a lovely cup of tea, specifically Darjeeling with honey and milk as per the 70th birthday fact list.

With research confirming that regular tea drinkers are less likely to develop heart disease or suffer a heart attack or stroke, it seems King Charles III has many more years to look forward to on the throne. Cheers to that! 

Stephanie Wood

Written by Stephanie Wood she/her


Stephanie is Editor-in-Chief for Fitness at Saga Exceptional. She has been a digital journalist for 16 years and has worked for a raft of respected titles. As former Digital Editor of Fit&Well and Woman&Home (shortlisted for PPA Digital Brand of the Year under her editorship), she has extensive fitness and wellness experience, and a keen understanding of what’s important to the over-50s audience.

At Saga Exceptional, she uses that experience to create engaging, informative and enlightening content in the areas of exercise, fitness technology, gut health, nutrition, sleep and women’s health.

Stephanie is a keen sportswoman, and will gladly accept an invitation to play most games. She particularly loves netball, which she plays once a week. She is a qualified England Netball Level 2 coach, and has worked with adults and children in this capacity. She is also taking tennis lessons to improve her game (and, more importantly, finally beat her sister), and recently discovered the joys of padel tennis too.

Outside of sports, Stephanie works out weekly with her personal trainer, Em Newson at Ground Studio, whose areas of specialism include movement in menopause – a topic she feels passionately about. She’s also a fan of wild swimming, and has taken a refreshing dip everywhere from Ullswater to the Isle of Wight.

Stephanie lives in North London with her partner Keith and their son, Woody. When family life allows, she likes to indulge in her hobbies, including stained glass work and batch-cooking healthy, family-friendly dishes.

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