feelgood factor: Britt Ekland

"I do a form of exercise called Pilates, which I first came across in LA in the Seventies. I like it. It doesn't require any huffing and puffing. It's sort of a cross between ballet and yoga. Terribly graceful.

There are about 240 positions. Some of them you do on a large frame with pulleys and springs and some without. It's all about lengthening and stretching different muscles, and breathing properly.

I can probably do about 30 of the positions, but the one I most enjoy works on my stomach. I lie flat on my back and bring my knees up. Then I put my hands parallel with my knees and breathe in with the power part of my stomach and lift my head slowly.

It's not the kind of exercise that a person can do on their own. You need someone who knows what you are doing to tell you how to move. You can't just look in the mirror to check you are doing things right. There is a lot to think about at once and you have to be terribly composed and concentrate.

I can spend three hours doing just 10 different positions; the stomach pose is quite easy. My stomach will go flat quite quickly. Even if I only do a couple of hours, I look and feel completely different.

I have done it for so many years now it takes almost no time to get back in shape. With something like running you have to do it for weeks before it has any effect."

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