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Shirley MacLaine shares her holistic secrets to staying forever young at 79

When it comes to the world's most extraordinary women, actress Shirley MacLaine ranks high on the list. At 79, she's sharing the holistic health secrets to her sleek physique and energetic spirit in a Jan. 31 interview with the Huffington Post.

"It's all about staying the healthiest version of you," says Shirley.

"I have a garden at my house and it has been a big goal of mine to get back to nature. That's why I love living in Santa Fe. I wanted to dig in the dirt and grow vegetables."

Famed for her belief in past lives, Shirley also takes holistic health advice from a shaman.

"I have a shaman here in Santa Fe (New Mexico)," she reveals.

"He says that Mother Nature is like a mother dog. Both are always shaking off its fleas."

As part of that constant renewal by "shaking" off the unhealthy elements, Shirley avoids Hollywood's obsession with aging.

"I don't care what birthday you're on. It's all about how you feel," she declares.

"There are days when I feel like 30. The oldest I go is my mind. The number doesn't matter," adds Shirley.

Beyond the emotional and mental aspects of her healthy life, Shirley embraces the benefits of exercise.

"The only thing in life I can't do is a full Jane Fonda workout!" she admits.

However, Shirley recalls doing "hours and hours of physical dancing and working out. Now I only do a part of that workout and it's fine. I know now that it's also fine to give yourself a break."

In addition, Shirley has a secret when it comes to that sleek physique and high energy level: Her dog.

"I hate exercise as much as anyone but when I'm hiking with my dog Terry it's not so bad. I'll do an hour in the morning, then feel like I've earned a nice lunch," she told Woman & Home magazine.

And Terry is more than an ordinary dog. A miniature rat terrier, the little fur person has been with Shirley "for a very long time, not just here. No question in my mind about that. We were together in Egypt," she informed Fox News.

Life with Terry has even been featured in one of Shirley's best-selling books: "Out on a Leash: Exploring the Nature of Reality and Love" (click for details).

Shirley also views Terry as the ideal companion. Asked by Fox News if she's all right living alone, she said, "I have enough intimacy with my dog."

Their schedule includes heading to bed about one or two in the morning, then getting up about 9 am, she told USA Today.

Shirley does stretching and yoga every morning before she and Terry enjoy a "no joke" hike up and down the canyons.

In addition to walking with her dog, Shirley loves giving to the fur people of the world.

In her book "I'm Over All That: And Other Confessions," Shirley notes that she's fond of "taking treats and toys to the animal shelter."

She views it as part of a holistically healthy life.

"If you're not completely aware of the efficiency of your mind, body and spirit then you're going to get hurt, so you have to be aligned in those ways. Of course I am an actress but aren't we all acting in life? We're all basically producing ourselves."

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