Light Aerobics and Stress Reduction ProgramJane Fonda
Year Released: 1992
Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance
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This was the first video I used when trying to get fit again. I enjoyed it, and still use it when I'm not feeling well or just want a break from the longer, harder routines.
The moves are simple - maybe too simple (for an ex-dancer). But it got me moving. In the dance schools I attended (too many years ago), this would have been considered an Introductory class. It gets a person set up for doing the "real thing" by teaching basic steps and arm movements in a relaxed manner. And it's short enough that a new exerciser can do the routine easily. That's the aerobic part.
The stretch section is still my favorite short stretch routine. When it's over, I feel like I've had a thorough dance class stretch out. And that's great!
The short relaxation section is a good introduction to a standard relaxation technique.
The aerobics section is too simple and short for anyone but those new to exercise, and even new users will outgrow it quickly. But the stretch section is worth the price of the video as far as I'm concerned, whatever your fitness level.
I like Jane as an instructor. Her cueing is good. Her movements are consistent and demonstrate good form. She's energetic without being saccharine. She's good at pointing out modifications.
This is an easy-to-follow beginner's tape, which consists of three parts:
20 minutes of floor aerobics; a total body stretch (just under 20 minutes); and a 15-minute guided relaxation.
The aerobics are not complicated, and can be performed at low or high impact (the class is divided into two halves). This is fairly short, and once you get to intermediate level it becomes quite easy. I do it if I've had to take a break due to illness, and sometimes I make a longer workout by doing 20 minutes on my stairclimber first; otherwise I consider it an extended warming-up for a "stretching day". The music has a Caribbean flavour to it, which sort of enhances the stress reduction, carefree aspect of the tape.
The stretch section is my favourite part of this tape; in fact, at present it's my favourite stretching routine. Once you've learned the stretches, you can follow Jane's voice and keep your eyes closed for most of the time. She starts with two standing stretches and the rest are done on the floor. She gives clear instructions on form, and where you should feel the stretch. There are modifications for less flexible participants, allowing you to progress at your own pace. The quiet piano music in the background and Jane Fonda's soothing voice make me feel very relaxed.
The tape ends with a guided relaxation. This is also warmly recommended. Jane is now in a room with just one other person. You contract and release all your muscle groups one by one until you are relaxed and calm. It may take some practice to achieve this, but it's well worth it.
Because of the excellent stretching and relaxation sections, I think that this tape would be a good choice for anyone - not just beginners. If you want more intense aerobics, just do another tape first.
This video is based on the "fat burning zone" theory that if you exercise in the lower end of your training zone you will burn more fat. Selected numbers from other Fonda tapes are put together to make up a routine consisting of a warm-up, floor aerobics, cool down and stretch. At the end of the tape is a lecture by Fonda on healthy and sensible weight loss.
I usually prefer basic and athletic moves, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that the choreography was not too difficult -- even fun!! Jane is the primary instructor and she always prepares you for upcoming changes. She periodically reminds you to "talk to her" and not to get too breathless. In some of the numbers, half the room demonstrates low impact or less intense variations. You'll never get bored because of the constant changes in outfits, music and steps. Fortunately, this also means that a couple of minor annoyances (some silly outfits, occasional whoops) are not present throughout the tape.
One warning - all Jane's tapes have a "Hollywood" feel to them. The exercisers have perfect bodies and plastic smiles. Despite the title, no one here *needs* to burn fat. If these features would discourage you, skip this tape and try another instructor.
It would be good for very out of shape beginners. By the time I felt warmed up the aerobic section was over. The stretching section was really good and I would probably use it after a tough workout. The stress reduction part leaves you feeling relaxed and limber afterward.