How Does Dolly Parton Stay in Shape? Her Exercise Routine Is Surprising

How does Dolly Parton stay in shape? The iconic singer isn’t a big fan of going to the gym but she’s found her own way to exercise that combines fitness with her faith. Parton shared her unique workout routine during a May interview with WSJ Magazine’s My Monday Morning.

Dolly Parton poses on the red carpet at the 53nd annual CMA Awards on November 13, 2019
Dolly Parton attends the 53nd annual CMA Awards on November 13, 2019 | Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Dolly Parton created her own exercise routine

Parton isn’t interested in traditional exercises, but instead channels the energy of a church service while praising the Lord.

“I create my own rejoicing exercises!,” Parton explained to WSJ Magazine when asked if she exercises. “I grew up in the Pentecostal church where we used to do a lot of shouting and jumping around.”

“I keep my motor running in the mornings when I just shout through the house praising the Lord,” she continued. “It gave me an idea to create some easy exercises, and I’m making music to go along with it. Something that even people in wheelchairs or people that are older or sick can do.”

Parton said she wanted to do “something joyful, where you were doing something for a reason rather than yourself,” but she doesn’t do any formal weight training or cardio routines. “That’s the extent of my exercise,” she said. “I’m not big on going to the gym … and I’m particular about who I sweat with.”

Dolly Parton gets by on little sleep

Parton never sleeps in late and is often up at 3 a.m., living by the saying, “early to bed, early to rise.”

“I’m usually up around 3 in the morning,” she explained. “I just love the wee hours. I actually go to bed early. But even when I’m working late on shows and concerts, I can wake up early.”

“I just don’t require a lot of sleep! Five or six hours, and I can motivate if I need to on three hours,” Parton added.

Parton also uses the early hours of her day for prayer. “I pray every day that God will put all the right things, all the right people in my life, and take all the wrong things, all the wrong people out, and guide me,” she explained. “Then I figure out what I want to wear and what I want to accomplish … and I have my cup of ambition.”

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Parton shares her low-carb and moderation philosophy

As for a typical breakfast for the country superstar, she said she usually eats foods that don’t require a lot of effort. She follows a low-carb diet during the week but believes that moderation is the key to a healthy lifestyle.

“I usually try to keep some homemade egg salad around because I like to have something quick and easy,” she said about her typical breakfast food choices.

“Through the week I’ll eat things like egg salad on toast with tomato, and sometimes I’ll have a bagel with cream cheese, cucumbers and tomatoes,” Parton explained. “If I’m working I’ll stay on a low-carb diet during the week and then eat anything I want on the weekends.”

“I just watch moderation for the most part,” she added. “I have a tendency to gain weight because I’m so short and because I have a farmer’s daughter’s appetite.”