Keeping Fit in your 50's - Aerobics

Cindy Joseph
Year Released: 2004

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

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I recently picked up this DVD (as part of a set) at a used book sale. I will turn 50 in about 6 months, and I thought this might be a good addition to my fitness DVD collection. Well, as it turns out, this DVD isn't really geared towards someone like me, who is already an regular exerciser. In fact, rather than being titled "keeping fit," it should have more appropriately been called "establishing fitness," "regaining health," "retaining some type of activity" get the idea. On the one hand, the cardio routine on this DVD is offered at a very beginning level, but on the other, it isn't instructed very well, which means that beginners might have trouble following the workout.

This workout is led by Robin Stuhr, an exercise physiologist, assisted by Cindy Joseph, a fitness model. The DVD is well-chaptered, with the workout menu lists the following options (times added):

1. Introduction [4:42]
2. Body Basics [4:16]
3. Workout Tips [3:19]
4. Warm Up [4:21]
5. Core Routine: Part 1 [6:28]
6. Core Routine: Part 2 [6:16]
7. Core Routine: Part 3 [5:04]
8. Core Routine: Part 4 [4:17]
9. Cool Down [5:12]
10. Advanced Exercises: Part 1 [4:52]
11. Advanced Exercises: Part 2 [5:59]
12. Keeping Fit Fundamentals [8:32]

Other reviews have described Stuhr as "condescending"--in the lecture sections such as the introduction, she has a way of speaking that comes across like a teacher talking to young children. This is not true for the workout itself, which has MANY other issues. First, Stuhr seems completely inexperienced as a fitness instructor. She is off the beat, uses incorrect names for basic moves (such as grapevine), fails to explain new moves (including an entire Latin dance section with steps like cha-cha and mamba), and provides absolutely HORRENDOUS cueing. Joseph is clearly NOT a fitness video model--she is pleasant and smiling, but she also looks lost performing the moves, and she and Stuhr are frequently out of step. Finally, the video has some of the absolute WORST camera angles that I have ever seen in a fitness DVD. The camera often zoomed in extra close on Stuhr or Joseph, which made it even more difficult to follow the routine.

The unfortunate thing is that the actual exercises included were not bad. I took some steps to make the routine more challenging for me (i.e., skipped the warm-up, performed the so-called "advanced" exercises first, wore my weighted gloves), and I did get a decent short workout. However, the problems with this DVD were so annoying and distracting that I know I will not use it again. Someone who is unfamiliar with exercise DVDs might like this video, but that is a shame, as there are SO MANY better offerings available.

Instructor Comments:
To be clear, the actual instructor is Robin Stuhr; Cindy Joseph, the model and background exerciser, does speak here and there, but she is not leading the workout. As noted above, Robin seems ill-suited to lead a cardio workout. She may be a physiologist, but teaching is definitely not her forte.

Beth C (aka toaster)



Give me a D. Give me an R. Okay, I will spare you the suspense and tell you the word I'm going for is DREADFUL.

I'm only 40 but decided to buy this set because I'm currently at returned-to-beginner level. Since I can't do a lot of choreography right now, I like to have a lot of variety.

The intensity level of this workout is suitable for a sedentary beginner or someone who is unable to work out at full force due to injuries, arthritis, etc.

The choreography is basic but the cuing is really poor. Some of the moves are not cued at all, others are cued after-the-fact.

What really makes this workout dreadful by VF standards, in addition to the poor cuing, is that the music track appears to have been added in later, so the moves are frequently off the beat. I finally got to the point where I looked away from the screen and just kept time with the music.

The set is really bland and looks like a bunch of kitchen cupboards in the background.

If this was the first aerobic workout a woman in her 50s (or any age) purchased, I would imagine she'd go running back to her treadmill pretty quickly, and as a result not learn that there are a lot of good aerobic videos out there. This just isn't one of them.

I'm sincerely hoping the other two videos in the series (Strength and Flexibility) are a LOT better than this one.

Instructor Comments:



This is a 3-DVD set: Aerobics, Strength and Flexibility. I believe each DVD is available individually as well. I bought this set because I recently turned 50 and I'm recovering from overuse injuries to my knees and elbows (from too many Cathe step workouts and Slim Series rotations.) I have been on a quest for gentler, low-impact workouts that I can alternate with my beloved Cathe workouts. I\'ve been working out with videos for 15 years.

Each workout contains a lecture with basic information, exercise tips, motivation, etc. at the beginning. They've done a great job chaptering these DVDs, so you can go straight to the workout (which I did.) The production quality of the workouts is excellent. The music is instrumental Muzak - better than Slim Series but certainly not Cathe.

Keeping Fit in Your 50s Aerobics

This is my least favorite of the set. It was the first one I tried and the warm-up was so slow that I was afraid the workout was going to be geared more for 80-year olds than for 50-year olds. Then came the 30-min workout, which is divided into 4 sections; in each section, you learn a short routine that consists of 4-5 different steps, then the routine is repeated 3 or 4 times. The first routine was very basic low impact moves to rock & roll muzak -- walking forward & back with knee lifts and arms overhead, step touches, hamstring curls and double-hamstring curls. The next section was a more fun Latin-inspired routine that consisted of salsa steps, forward & backword cha-chas, sideways cha-chas, and scoop steps forward and back. The third section was squats, then squats with leg press-backs. She did low-impact jumping jacks inbetween sets of squats. The DVD chaptering allows you to skip this section if your knees can't take the squats. Section 4 began with a light jog in place, low leg kicks with punches and knee repeaters. There was a short cool-down, then there are two add-on "advanced exercises" -- a short routine with knee lifts leg ulifts with arm swings, an easy shuffle-hop step, and v-steps. The other routine involved reverse lunges w/ kick, low-impact speed-skater, side squats and step-pull forward & back. It was a bit strange to do the advanced exercises after the cool down, but they weren't long enough to need to cool down again anyway. I think this is a good beginner tape but not nearly the fun-factor or energy of Fat-Burning for Dummies with Gay Gasper.

Keeping Fit in your 50s Strength

The strength workout is divided into a warm-up, 3 core routines, abs, and advanced exercises. You will need a chair for portions of the workout(I used my 14-inch Firm step.)Exercises are done in pairs, alternating between 10-reps for each set, total of 2 sets each exercise. Robyn\'s form tips are excellent and safe. Core routine #1 consisted of slow squats and bent-over arm rows. Then it's standing leg lifts w/ a resistance band (I didn't use one), lateral shoulder raises and stationery lunges. Then a sitting double-arm back row using a resistance band looped around your foot (I used 10-lb dumbbells). Core routine #2 begins on the floor with chest presses, alternated with some light bridge work. Then on to biceps and tricep kickbacks, calf raises and toe taps for shins. The abs section consists of basic crunches, pelvic tilts with knee raises/leg extensions and very basic plank work. The Advanced add-on exercises consisted of forward lunges w/ arm raises, standing push-ups leaning on the back of a chair (I used my computer desk), single-leg squats, and hamstring raises. I thought the strength workout was a nice, solid, safe 40-minute workout. You could always make this workout harder by upping the weights.

Keeping Fit in your 50s Flexibility

Ahhhhhh... my favorite of the three and the one I know I'll do most often. This 40-minute flexibility workout is divided into 3 sections: stretching routine for the spine, lower body stretches, and chair stretches. The thing I love about the stretches in this workout are that she holds them instead of rushing through them and repeats them 2 or 3 times each at the same slow pace! The music is quiet and gentle -- very relaxing!
The first section starts with the cobra, then angry cat(rounded back)/arched back stretches, back stretch and "trunk rotation stretch" which is the same stretch that Cathe does for shoulders (kneeling with shoulder on ground, extend other arm under.) The next section consists of several hamstring and hip stretches, quad stretch, calf stretch and side stretch. The last section is done sitting on a chair (I used my 14-inch Firm step) and consists of hip stretch, chest stretch, shoulder rolls and wonderful neck streches (like the ones in Debbie Sieber's Cool It Off but she holds it longer), then last but not least, wrist and forearm stretch. There are 2 add-on sections after the main stretch routine: very short "taste of" Pilates and Yoga routines. The Pilates stretches were good - I could feel their effectiveness. The yoga was a bit strange. They showed Robyn & Cindy outdoors demonstrating 4 basic poses - no voiceover, just the two of them already in the position and a brief description of each pose typed across the screen. Then they cut to inside the studio where the poses are put together in a very quick routine. Each pose was held about 1 second. Oh, well, this part was an "extra" anyway.

Overall, I'm glad I bought this workout set. These workouts are a great alternative for days that my aging joints are hurting too much for a grueling Cathe workout.

Instructor Comments:
Cindy Joseph is a top over-50 model and Robyn Stuhr is an exercise physiologist with 20 years experience. Robyn leds the workouts and Cindy is the only parcipant. Robyn is polished, professional and in great shape (but natural and not "prissy"). She looks like she could be Cathe's older sister. Cindy is a natural beauty and has a gentle quality about her.

Mary Licardi