I'll admit to setting the bar pretty low for Jane Fonda's Prime Time workouts. But having completed both Walk Out and Fit & Strong, I confess that I was wrong, very wrong. If I can look and (more importantly) move like Jane Fonda at the ripe old age of 74, I will consider my life a success. In an attempt to fairly and accurately review this workout, I tried to imagine myself as my grandmother doing it. What I found is that these workouts are perfect for the target demographic (which I'd imagine to be those about age 60 and up) and would also benefit anyone with a sedentary lifestyle.
While Walk Out is an unweighted cardio routine, Fit & Strong adds weights to the mix for resistance training, a monumentally important exercise for the elderly since we lose most of our muscle mass as we age. The workout is divided into two levels, one beginner (20 minutes) and another more advanced (25 minutes). I used 5-pound hand weights, but I would advise lighter (2-3 pounds) for beginners or the elderly. If you don't have weights, canned goods or water bottles will do the trick. The Bonus Feature is a routine to "Improve Your Balance," which provides some simple, practical balance moves you can do around the house or even while waiting in line at the store.
Jane's combination of weightlifting, balancing and posture exercises creates a workout that addresses the unique physical shortcomings that arise as we age: loss of muscle mass, loss of balance and slumping posture. This is not a sweat-inducing workout-til-you-pass-out video for someone my age, but it would certainly be a challenege (and a benefit) for someone older and/or sedentary. I think the highest compliment I could give this workout is that I plan to send it to my grandmother.
You'll need a chair for balance, weights (or canned goods or water bottles), comfortable clothing and plenty of room to move.
Jane points out that research has shown that people aged 65 to 72 can increase their muscle mass 200% simply by adding resistance training to their daily routines. As we age, most of our muscle turns to fat, which is why it's so important to follow a weightlifting routine to maintain muscle strength and balance. Doing so can increase range of motion, improve balance and decrease the risk of potentially fatal falls. I think this video provides exercises that address all of those concerns.
When I try to imagine myself as the average 70-year-old (and Jane Fonda certainly not average), I get a sense that this video would be quite a challenge and could be potentially dangerous if done incorrectly. I recommend holding the chair for balance to avoid falling, moving slowly with purpose rather than always trying to keep up, and putting down the weights if something is too challenging or painful.
Jane Fonda is a great instructor and at 74 years old is quite a fitness inspiration even for the younger generation. Everyone should aim to look and feel that good at her age.
Standard background music
Like Walk Out, this workout is set in a makeshift old lady living room complete with house plants, book shelves and pink couch.
1.78:1 DVD screen format
I don't see much of anything wrong with this workout. My only concern is that most 74-year-olds can't move quite like Jane Fonda does so there is potential for this to be dangerous for some individuals if not done correctly. However, Jane provides enough modifications (holding the chair for balance, taking a break, etc.) that it should be manageable for most people.
Physical activity is important for our health throughout our lifespan, but it's easy to make excuses at any age. Claiming to be too old won't cut it anymore when you've got this video at your disposal. It makes exercise accessible to any age and fitness level. I will be passing this off to my 78-year-old grandmother.