These are exciting days for Paula Abdul. With an upcoming tour and a show she produced opening on Broadway, she is making an effort to stay fit and healthy.

“As you get older, things become a little more challenging,” Paula, 61, told Closer exclusively backstage during her recent stint as a guest judge on Dancing With the Stars. “I’ve learned to listen to my body. When I’m hungry, I eat.”

She tries not to deny herself anything, but Paula finds that filling her meals with non-starchy vegetables, fruit and soy products agrees with her. “I eat everything in moderation, including sugar,” said the performer. “But especially because I’ve had injuries from dancing over the years, I try to be on an alkaline diet because it reduces the swelling of the joints and inflammation.”

Paula recently started training for her upcoming tour. “I’m not taking anything for granted, so I’m trying to get into the best shape I can now,” she said. Paula and NKOTB, the five-member singing group that includes Blue Bloods actor Donnie Wahlberg, will be heading out on a 45-plus-city tour next summer. “It’s going to be fun and nostalgic,” she said.

Paula is also thrilled about How to Dance in Ohio, a Broadway musical she’s producing, which began previews on November 15. “It’s about young adults who are on the autism spectrum getting ready for their first formal dance,” she said. “ Never before on Broadway has the lead cast included seven people on the autism spectrum. And it ’s such a beautiful, heartwarming show.”