September 9, 2007 -- Jane Seymour has a five-step plan for surviving "Dancing With The Stars," which begins on August 24th. At 56, she's the oldest woman ever to compete on the show.

First, Seymour saw her physiotherapist. Forty years ago, she washed out of a promising career as a ballet dancer because she damaged the cartilage in her knees. Worse still, she had major back surgery four years ago to correct a herniated disk.

"It was the most terrible pain I'd ever experienced in my life," she says. Her physiotherapist consulted with her "Dancing" partner, Tony Dovolani, and agreed that dance would not only not hurt her back, but strengthen it. "He said, 'This is going to make your back better,'" says Seymour.

Second, the actress did Pilates and gyrotonics. For those unfamiliar with the latter, it involves a stretching machine whose sole purpose is to improve strength, flexibility and mobility of the joints by stretching in a circular motion.

Third, she ditched the regulation high-heeled dance shoes, at least in practice sessions. Dovolani bought Seymour a pair of lace-up, low-heeled shoes that give her back – and her feet – a break. "I went into the store and said, 'Not ugly shoes, those shoes,'" says Dovolani, pointing to Seymour's well-clad feet.

Fourth, Seymour changed her diet. She says she starting packing on the pounds when she was in England, caring for her mother who's recently suffered a serious stroke. At barely five foot, four inches, says Seymour, "I was the heaviest I've ever been: One hundred twenty-eight pounds." A change to a diet of egg-white vegetarian omelets for breakfast, and chicken, fish and vegetables for lunch and dinner has helped her drop six pounds in the last two weeks.

And fifth, she acknowledged her age. "I clearly know I'm in AARP because they put me on the cover of their magazine," she says. "But this is an incredible opportunity. All I've ever wanted to do is dance. I'm being trained by one of the greatest dancers in the world. So I consider myself the luckiest woman on the planet."