Video Fitness

Age is the Rage 2

Ken Alan

The first video I have of his, "Blast to the Past", was taped while he was teaching a workshop. Word got out about this "oldies" hi/low workout so he finally made it available after some years of repeated requests for it. I can see why. There's really nothing like it. VERY fun, though it is like a home video rather than professionally produced production.

I've been looking for a video workout for my sister-in-law Susan in Oregon who has a medical condition which makes it difficult for her to even walk, so she's bed-ridden most of the time. Did I luck out. This was perfect, almost. About 2/3 of the workout is done seated, and the last 1/3 is standing, which Susan can't do. But she doesn't mind. She said she's sleeping better and feels so much better finally having some exercise to do with her limitations. It's turned her attitude around too, which she needed desparately.

I'm also going to get this for my best friend's father. This is the first workout that is so well thought out, paced, and instructed, it is just light years beyond any video I've looked at for seniors. This was filmed at a workshop too, but unlike the other, this is professionally filmed. No problem with camera angles like the other one had at times. Although this is geared for instructors, anyone can workout along with it, once you skip the talking at the beginning of the program.

I tried the workout myself thinking I wouldn't get much of one. Let me tell you, you can do easy, moderate, or challenging intensities seated in a chair. I thought I would fall asleep because it would be too easy. He gives you multiple options on most exercises. But he doesn't say "beginner, intermediate or advanced". He cues it "option 1,2, or 3". Or sometimes he'll say "level A,B or C". I never heard that before. But what it does it not put a judgement on any choice you make, like the easy version is for the "lowly beginner", and the hard version is for the advanced "good guys".

Starts with controlled, slow movements for the different parts of your body from head to toe. Then he goes into more active warm-ups. Follwing this is some neat stretching done seated. A dowel is used for very creative arm and upper body muscle exercise, but you can use a broomstick just as well.

Cardio in a chair?? I actually was sweating by the end of that section. So fun too. Extremely creative. I would never think of these exercises or the way he put them all together.

The standing section targets legs, hips, balance, "chair push-ups" and all with variations you can do including a hysterical "challenge" option. An adorable young girl (4 or 5 years old) walks in mid-way in the program nearly steals the show. She ends up co-teaching the class with Ken. Cool-down stretches are done seated, and some of the same slow stretches from the beginning are repeated at the end so you can feel the difference between them, how much easier they are to do now that you're really warm.

Also shown is about 15 minutes of big band low impact aerobic choreography. My mother said she wants to do this kind of exercise when she heard the music. Great music by the way. Not continuously mixed, but no problem. Everything flows easily from one section to the next. You don't even notice that you are stopping and starting.

A lot to be said about this video. I thought "Blast" was a real find. No, it's this one. Well, I love "Blast" too. If I'm ever injured, this is the program I'll do. This is what Mom is getting for mother's day this year.

If you want a workout for your mom, dad or grandparents if they are around, you ought to investigate this one. It's easily the best exercise program that I've seen (which has been about 20 DVDs/videos). Where does this guy teach?

Instructor comments: This is the second Ken Alan video I got. I must say I'm VERY impressed by this instructor. Smart, low-key but energetic, fun, and never over-bearing or forced enthusiasm. Down to earth, real, and friendly. He's quite refreshing and much better in this video than the first one I bought (see comments about video).

Shannon

4/10.2006



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