Keeping Fit in Your 50s

Robin Stuhr
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Total Body Workouts, Yoga



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I recently picked up this 3-DVD set at a used book sale. Although I am a experienced exercise who works out daily, I am conscious of the fact that I will be turning 50 in just six months, and so I have been adding workouts to my collection that will keep me active into the next decade. Unfortunately, I do not think that this set is truly designed for those who are ALREADY active. The cardio routine in particular is extremely simplistic, more for someone who is just starting out than for someone striving for the goal of "keeping fit."

This set consists of three DVDs, Aerobics (cardio), Strength, and Flexibility. All of the routines are led by Robin Stuhr, an exercise physiologist, assisted by Cindy Joseph, a fitness model. Each DVD is well-chaptered, which is one of the best things about this set. Below I have listed chapter breakdowns as well as a short description of each DVD; I have added times as well.

AEROBICS

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]

Stuhr seems completely inexperienced as a fitness instructor here. 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.

STRENGTH

1. Introduction [4:32]
2. Body Basics [4:34]
3. Workout Tips [:27]
4. Know Your Muscles [4:04]
5. Core Routine: Intro [:31]
6. Core Routine: Warm-Up [3:56]
7. Core Routine: Part 1 [19:04]
8. Core Routine: Part 2 [4:17]
9. Core Routine: Part 3 [7:15]
10. Core Routine: Abdominals [8:13]
11. Advanced Exercises [7:52]
12. Keeping Fit Fundamentals [8:44]

Stuhr seems ill-at-ease leading here as well, and she says "terrific" way too much. Joseph's role is rather odd, as she introduces some of the segments herself but then is relegated to making somewhat pithy comments throughout the workout. The actual workout routine was not bad, definitely an improvement over the Aerobics DVD. It's nice that the DVD is so well-chaptered, although the breakdowns for the main workout ("Core Routine") are confusing--i.e., it doesn't really make sense that Part 1 is almost 20 minutes long while the next section is <5 minutes. Most of the exercises are performed for 2 sets of 10 repetitions. Stuhr either uses no resistance (squats), dumbbells (rows, biceps curls, triceps kickbacks), or the band (leg extensions). The last section of the Core Routine (could have been labelled "Part 4") is a nice basic abs routine that includes some back work. Unlike the "Aerobics" DVD, this DVD does not include a cool-down or stretch. There is a segment on "Advanced" exercises that I would personally not consider advanced at all; rather, they add slightly more intense modifications to some of the exercises, such as a lunge with arms overhead.

FLEXIBILITY

1. Introduction [4:36]
2. Body Basics [4:57]
3. Workout Tips [:23]
4. Know Your Muscles [3:57]
5. Core Routine: Stretching Sequence [15:36]
6. Core Routine: Lower Body Exercises [6:37]
7. Core Routine: Chair Sequence [17:19]
8. Introduction to Pilates [13:18]
9. Introduction to Yoga [6:46]
10. Keeping Fit Fundamentals [7:55]

The three "Core Routine" chapters, or the main stretching segments of this DVD, are actually quite nice. The exercises offered are probably best described as athletic stretching with a yoga feel. The first section starts on the floor to stretch the spine, and although Stuhr does not use yoga terms to describe the movements, she leads a series that includes exercises similar to the following postures in yoga: sphinx, cat/cow, child's pose, and revolved child's. The series is completed three times, and then this section ends with some hip and glutes stretches on the floor. The next section is focused on the lower body; it also is on the floor but consists mainly of hip and hamstring stretches. The final stretch segment uses a chair. This is effective for stretching the entire body, including additional hamstring stretch, calves, and ending with stretches seated in the chair, including neck stretches. The last two segments, Introduction to Pilates and Introduction to Yoga, arguably should not be included at all, as Stuhr points out that neither she nor Joseph are instructors in either of these areas. Almost to prove this point, they are wearing shoes for the Pilates matwork, a clear no-no. Despite this, the 12-minute routine offered is pretty basic, easy-to-follow, and likely safe for most beginners. In contrast, the "yoga" routine was just awful; as a certified yoga instructor myself, I found it extremely difficult to watch (I certainly did not attempt to follow along!). It is strange in that the first part offers a series of still photos featuring Stuhr and Joseph performing various yoga poses in an outdoor setting; there is music but no voiceover, and the names of the poses appear on screen. The second part--no more than about 4 minutes--shows Stuhr and Joseph back in the studio performing those same postures. The instruction provided is VERY minimal, with some brief comments by Joseph, and both she and Stuhr display extremely bad form at times. It scares me to think of those new to yoga trying it for the first time based on this segment!!!

In the end, although I found some parts of this set to be worthwhile, I can't really recommend it overall. There are just two many problems with it. The Flexibility DVD might be worth purchasing individually if you are looking for a nice basic stretch...just stay away from those bonus segments.

Instructor Comments:
Stuhr is nice enough, and she certainly seems to be trying, but she just does not seem to have any experience leading fitness classes. The fact that Joseph had an active speaking role felt odd to me, as she comes across as what she is--a model (and not necessarily one experienced in doing fitness videos either).

Beth C (aka toaster)

10/30/2017