Yoga at 75? No Problem, Says Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda will be turning 75 later this month, but that hasn’t stopped her from coming out with a new yoga video. “Prime Time AM/PM Yoga for Beginners” is for those “who feel age creeping up on them,” and those who are not already in good condition. It features gentle but effective short routines to stretch and tone without injury or strain.

Remember Fonda’s hard-core aerobic workout videos of the 1980s? “I used to be all about going for the pain,” she says. “Not anymore. I’m not asking [viewers] to do anything too hard. I do them with older people in mind. I want it to be fun and easy for them, but effective.”

Jane Fonda’s Yoga Practice

She’s just as shapely and beautiful as ever, but this is a new, softer, Fonda. She used to do 2 hours a day of yoga, “but those days are long gone” she says. “It got to be too hard.” Fonda has osteoarthritis and has had hip and knee replacements and back surgery.

Along with the 27 million Americans who have this debilitating disease, Fonda has experienced the tendency to want to protect the deteriorating joint by not using it. But osteoarthritis, a disease where the cartilage between joints deteriorates, is best helped by pursuing gentle exercise and stretching routines, which actually alleviate some of the pain and stiffness and help keep the joint mobile as long as possible.

“Yoga poses help stretch tight muscles and strengthen weak ones, cultivating flexibility, stability and ease of movement,” says Carol Krucoff, a yoga therapist at Duke Integrative Medicine at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

Jane Fonda’s new video has five segments—three for morning and two for the evening, and none is longer than 20 minutes. All segments have light yoga stretches, mixed with a bit of Pilates to help build strong muscles and keep bones strong and the body limber. Some exercises use props to make the exercises easier and safer. The morning sections feature exercises for abdominal and back muscles, light stretches and basic yoga poses, and strength training with light hand weights. The evening exercises are about mobility and relaxation.

This is definitely a new, gentler, Jane. The instructions are about starting slowly, going only as far as you can, finding the correct alignment without trying to complete the entire pose. The video also demonstrates how to do partial poses.

“Yoga makes me feel happy, alive, and healthy,” Fonda said, referring to her age and living with osteoarthritis. She said she feels grateful for the fitness she has pursued because it keeps her able to function with freedom and independence.

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