Jane Fonda works out to avoid falling into depression: ‘I come from a long line of depressed people’

Despite making a fortune from her string of fitness tapes and videos, Jane Fonda has to “force” herself to exercise and says one of the main reason she still exercises aged 85 is to stop herself falling into depression.

Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda works out to avoid falling into depression.

Despite making a fortune from her string of fitness tapes and videos, the 85-year-old actress said she has to “force” herself to exercise as she fears her body will cramp up and she will be left prone to low moods she claimed runs in her family.

She told the Daily Telegraph in an interview while at the Cannes Film Festival about her gentle workout technique: “The word that matters now is s-l-o-w.

“When you’re my age, you have to work out very slowly so you don’t get hurt. “You can do exactly the same things – but slowly. When I use weights, they’re lighter weights. But I still lift.

“I have dumbbells of different colours – beautiful pink, orange, yellow and turquoise, which makes them more pleasant to pick up.”

She added about overcoming her reluctance to workout: “I force myself to do it, because it makes a difference not just in my body, but in my brain.

“If I go too long without taking a long walk or working out, I tend to get depressed. I come from a long line of depressed people.

“If you don’t work out when you’re young, your body will forgive you. When you’re older, if you don’t keep moving, stay flexible and keep your muscles strong, it really makes a difference… getting in and out of cars. You don’t want to take 10 minutes to do it because you don’t have strength in your thighs and back.

“Picking up a grandchild. You want to still be able to do it. When you’re driving, you want to be able to steer and look over your shoulder where you’re going.”

Jane also said if people want to look and feel good in their 80s they have to put in serious work in middle-age.

She added: “I started really working out in my 40s, but before I started, I felt like I was falling apart. So it’s not too late. Just start doing it.”

When asked to name the period in her life when she felt in top condition, she said: “Now! I feel my best now. Is that weird? I’m... how old am I?

“Eighty-five? I feel fine right now, actually. And I have for quite some time.”

Jane enjoyed Cannes as it came eight months after telling fans she had cancer.

She said on Instagram in September: “I’ve been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. “This is a very treatable cancer. 80% of people survive, so I feel very lucky.”

By December 2022, Jane announced her cancer was in remission after she had undergone chemotherapy – news she called the “best birthday present ever” ahead of turning 85 that month.

It was the third time she has battled cancer.

In 2010, Oscar-winner Jane was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a lumpectomy in November to have it removed.

Then in January 2018 she had a cancerous growth removed from her lower lip and pre-melanoma growths taken from her skin.


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