Fonda is working as much as ever, too. She plays Nancy Reagan in an upcoming film about President Ronald Reagan’s butler, and she appears in the television series “The Newsroom.” Her newest book, “Prime Time,” a mix of advice on health, fitness, friendship, sex and other topics, recently came out in paperback. And Fonda just released a new yoga DVD. She says she hopes to write a few more books, one on adolescence.
You have a new workout DVD, “AM/PM Yoga for Beginners.” Tell me about it.
My last book, “Prime Time,” is about aging successfully. I did research for that for three years. While I was doing that, I was taken by surprise by the extent to which gerontologists feel that staying physically active is maybe the number one, most important [thing] for people to do. Who better than me to do it?
The exercise DVDs that are out there are not aimed at my demographics, baby boomers. I am older, and I have had a knee replacement and hip replacement. I have not made a secret about that, so people could understand [that] if I can do these things, then they could do them, too.
What is your exercise routine?
I live on a hill. I walk down the hill and I walk up. It is a very challenging walk. If I am near mountains, I like to hike. If I don’t have time to go out, I do a recumbent bike, the elliptical or treadmill. I alter them because I get bored after about 10 minutes. I do that while I watch television. Then I do weight work, either with dumbbells or with the bands. I do at least 30 minutes, and I try to do it five times a week, if not more.
As you get older, you lose muscle mass, so it is important to keep working your muscles. It is important because we want to stay independent. We want to be able to get in and out of cars, out of chairs and couches by ourselves. We have to maintain a strong body, strong back and strong thighs.
After I did this yoga video, I had a pretty intense back surgery. As I was recovering, I am thinking, “Thank God I have remained strong, because everything goes into the quads.” I couldn’t use my back or stomach. I am well now, but for four or five months everything depended on my having strong legs. That is what allowed me to be independent, and that is really important for older people.