Tony Danza on the importance of staying in shape at 73: 'I feel better when I work out, I feel like I look better'

Tony Danza talks about the importance of working out and writing as he gets older.
Tony Danza talks about the importance of working out and writing as he gets older. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photo: Getty Images)

Tony Danza likens getting older to “living in a bad neighborhood,” he tells Yahoo Life. “That’s how you feel, like anything could happen.” But even after celebrating his 73rd birthday on April 21, the actor best known for classic TV shows Taxi and Who’s the Boss? isn’t slowing down because of it.

“I happen to be really lucky,” Danza says of enjoying good health, being surrounded by loving family and friends and continuing to work on projects that excite him. But he also puts the work in.

“I am a devoted trainer,” says the former boxer, who has managed to maintain eight-pack abs into his 70s. “I still train. I try to keep myself in shape as well as I can.”

Working out, Danza adds, is an integral part of his morning ritual. “I've been in the business for almost 50 years and there has never been an instance of being on camera, doing an interview, being on TV, anything, without having worked out first,” he says.

Breaking a sweat is especially important on the days when he doesn’t feel like doing it. “It's easy to work out when you feel good,” he says. “That’s what separates the men from the boys — when you don't want to do it, believe me. And as you get older, as you age, you find more and more days where it's not particularly appealing.”

He jokes that simple movements like bending down to pick something off the ground makes him think, “Gee, I wonder how long I’ll be able to do this.” But mobility is just one of the many benefits he experiences from exercising.

“Acting and performing is about confidence, and a big part of [working out] is confidence,” he says. “I feel better when I work out, I feel like I look better — so it works in my favor.”

His daily habits also include journaling. “I write a page in a Tiffany leather journal, a page a day. I’ve been doing it since 1994,” he says. “It’s like a daily run-through of what the day had going on and what's happening in life and so on. … If you say to me, ‘What did you do on April 21, 1998?’ I could tell you exactly. And I can see what I was thinking that day too. I’m honest in [the entries] too. That’s the thing.”

While he regrets not having started his journaling practice earlier in his life, Danza already has 30 journals filled. He’s currently writing in his 31st, and teases that he might use the material to “write a book.”

The journaling of his last week alone would include not just his birthday but his performance at the International Myeloma Foundation’s annual comedy gala on April 18, in honor of his late friend, the actor Peter Boyle, who died in 2006. “The sad part is, that if he was sick with the myeloma now, he would live a lot longer [with the new treatments they have],” Danza says of the Everybody Loves Raymond and Young Frankenstein star.

Danza, who sings alongside a four-piece band, would also write about auditioning new piano players for the Tony Danza: Standards & Stories show, as well as his work with The Stars of Tomorrow Project and filming Season 4 of the STARZ series Power Book III: Raising Kanan.

“I'm telling you, I think it's one of the best shows on TV. I really mean it,” he says, slyly admitting that he knows a thing or two about successful television series. “I’ve had a few of those.”