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Dick Van Dyke, nearing age 90, hasn't missed a step: 'Best time of my life'

"I don't feel 90," the "Mary Poppins" actor said while discussing his health, career and new book, "Keep Moving," with NBC News' Joe Fryer.
/ Source: TODAY

For nearly six decades, Dick Van Dyke has been entertaining fans with his acting and singing and dancing. Now, as showcased in a new book called "Keep Moving," he's adding a skill to his resume: aging gracefully.

"There's a fear of getting old, among the young, that's worse than the fear of death; it's amazing," Van Dyke told NBC News' Joe Fryer in an interview that aired on TODAY Thursday. "And I want them to know that old age can be wonderful. It's the best time of my life, by far."

Dick Van Dyke
Dick Van DykeGetty Images

If Dick Van Dyke made a workout video, you might call it "Sweatin' with the Oldies," but for this active icon, age really is just a number.

"I'm going to be 90 in December," he noted. "I can't really get my mind around it. I don't feel 90."

The actor begins most days by tackling a long list of exercises at such an early hour that his gym gave him his own key.

And even when he's not working out, he's constantly in motion — barely missing a beat since his dancing days in the movie-musicals "Mary Poppins" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."

It's in stark contrast to the clumsy character who stumbled over that pesky ottoman in the Season 1 opening credits to "The Dick Van Dyke Show."

During one of his workouts, Van Dyke told Fryer, "People tell me they can't dance and they can't sing. Everyone can. They might stink at it, but you gotta be able to keep moving!"

Those last two words mirror the title of his new book. Released Tuesday, the autobiography is filled with advice about aging.

The Hollywood legend also has found fountains of youth through singing in an a cappella quartet called Dick Van Dyke and The Vantastix, and through laughing and dancing his way through the viral music video for Dustbowl Revival's "Never Had to Go," which has more than 2.7 million views on YouTube.

Asked Fryer of that video's popularity, "Why do you think people want to watch you dance?"

Replied Van Dyke with a laugh, "I think the fact that I'm old and that I'm still jumping around. … You know, they say 'Sing like nobody can hear you, dance like nobody can see you.' Everybody should be singing and dancing."

Love has given Van Dyke lots to sing and dance about these days. When he met his current wife, Arlene Silver-Van Dyke, she'd recognized him — to an extent. "She said, 'Weren't you in 'Mary Poppins' or something?'" Van Dyke recalled. "That's how much she knew."

Silver-Van Dyke, who wed her husband in 2012, acknowledged with a laugh, "I never saw any of his work, so I don't know how I knew he was, but I did."

Although she's about half his age, she insists she doesn't notice the gap. "He doesn't seem like he's 89," she said. "I think he's lying about his age."

Her husband doesn't seem fazed by the age difference. "Well, people come up to me and say, 'Wow, she's beautiful, is she your daughter?'" he said. "Or, 'Is she your granddaughter?' No, it's my wife! Hugh Hefner, eat your heart out!"

On the verge of 90, Van Dyke envisions so much more life left to live.

"A 100-year-old man, who was on the news [recently], broke the world record for the 100-yard dash for 100-year-old people: 27 seconds," Van Dyke told Fryer. "I'm going into training right now. I'm going to break that record."

Perhaps all he has to do is keep moving.

Follow writer Chris Serico on Twitter.