Thursday, January 14, 2010

Keeping Fit in Your 50s

THE WORKOUT: Keeping Fit in Your 50s - Aerobics, Keeping Fit in Your 50s - Strength, Keeping Fit in Your 50s - Flexibility



THE BREAKDOWN: I was excited to hear about this three-DVD collection. Like many people in their 50s, I've been working out since the 1980s, when Ken Cooper coined the term “aerobics” and Jane Fonda first put on legwarmers. But, also like many of my peers, I find that programs aimed at people half my age can be rough on some parts of my anatomy--in my case, my knees, which have been doing their job for a long time and are wearing out. So I thought this program would factor in our changing bodies to help us keep active ("Keeping Fit...") while not hurting ourselves.

Well, no. The name for this series should be “Getting Fit in Your 50s,” since it is basic, basic, basic, presented in a Romper Room voice by exercise physiologist Robyn Stuhr. Model Cindy Joseph also demonstrates, but she looks awfully fit. She probably isn't starting from scratch, either.

The workouts, backed by throbbing porn-movie music, are repetitive and tedious. I managed to go into a Zen state during the strength training with weights, but I had to push myself through the aerobics and the flexibility program was so drab, I gave up. If they're trying to inspire couch potatoes, who might benefit from this basic training, shouldn't they have made the workouts a little bit fun? Shouting “Woo!” and “Yeehaw!” doesn't help. And for me, advanced add-ons weren't enough to salvage the workouts.

And perhaps most misguided are all those lunges. Lunges! Even Jane Fonda in her legwarmer days hated those, and here they go on and on and on and on … oy, my aging knees. Of all the standard exercises, that's the one for which I most need a substitute. Besides, after all these years working out, haven’t we earned something less odious?

THE SWEAT FACTOR: Yes, I got sweaty.

BUT IS IT FUN? No, I didn't have fun.

WHEN IT'S OVER: I was pretty sore for a couple of days after all those lunges, lunges, lunges. I have no doubt these workouts would do their job if I ever did them again.

GEAR AND APPAREL: The strength workout requires weights, a strap or towel, a chair.

FINAL WORD: I still think a series tailored to people in their 50s is a great idea.

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