Jane Fonda: ‘The best way to fight depression is to keep moving’

Jane Fonda is starring in 80 For Brady, which is getting mixed reviews. Critics say it has an excellent ensemble cast, but it’s not as funny as it could be. Audiences seem to love it though, it has a 90% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and bonus it’s only an hour and 38 minutes long. More movies should strive for an under two hour runtime. Jane was at a fitness studio opening in New York City where she gave some brief quotes about exercise. She of course reinvented herself in the 80s as a pioneer in the at-home fitness market. (I’ve done some of her retro workouts on YouTube and they’re intense!) Jane said that she works out as a way to fight depression, which is relatable. Jane told People Magazine that she didn’t start exercising in earnest until her late 30s. I’m sure that information has been out there, but I didn’t know that about her! Here’s more:

During the opening of H&M’s Move Studio in New York City on Wednesday, the 85-year-old spoke about all the positive things that have come from working out over the years.

Fonda, who famously revolutionized the workout industry 1980s with her at-home exercise tapes, admitted that not only did she realize that the “shape of my body” was changing when she first started working out, she also saw improvements with her mental health.

“I come from a long line of really depressed people, and the best way to fight depression is to keep moving,” she said.

Fonda added that she “thanks God every day” that she’s been staying active for more than four decades.

“You’ve got to stay strong,” she said. “I have a grandson who’s 3 years old, and I can still pick him up. I mean, I have to bend my knees and, you know, it takes a long time to get him up there, but I can still pick him up. You want to be able to carry your own bags.”

“You have to be able to, you know, make love,” Fonda continued. “I don’t remember much [about that], but do I remember you need flexibility!”

She admitted that she’s definitely grown into her love for working out and she didn’t always value fitness.

“I didn’t know that it was important to do ’til I was in my 30s,” she explained, noting that she used to make up excuses to get out of gym class growing up. “I had a ‘constant period’ all during school so that I couldn’t do gym — anything to get out of gym.

“It wasn’t until my late 30s [or] early 40s that I started to actually become active … [and] life before I was active, it wasn’t nearly as good as when I started to move,” Fonda continued.

[From People]

I was having a hard time last month and there were days I didn’t want to leave the house. I forced myself to go to group exercise classes and it really helped a lot. It’s basic, it’s well known, but exercise can combat mild depression particularly, and we sometimes have to remind ourselves of that. It can be hard to do when we don’t have the motivation to get moving.

Jane is doing great after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In December she revealed that she’s in remission after treatment. I’m so glad that she’s still with us and that she’s still working! I look to Jane and Rita Moreno particularly for inspiration, and all of the women in 80 for Brady are an example of staying active and fit into your later years. I also like how they typically don’t GAF what people think and will tell it like is. I strive to be more like that as I age.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

15 Responses to “Jane Fonda: ‘The best way to fight depression is to keep moving’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. C says:

    It has never helped me but I’m glad it helps others, lol.

  2. j.ferber says:

    Getting out and taking a walk is helpful to me. With a dog, you really have no choice and it is good to get out of the house.

    • BeanieBean says:

      That’s me, daily outside walk. In my younger years, I ran (for two decades!), but it turns out I’ve got a progressive neuropathy & haven’t been able to run these last two decades–but I can still walk! This past year I’ve started using a cane, but I’m outside every day, sun or clouds, for an hour+; I intend to do what I can while I can. For me the key is being outside, with nothing overhead but the sky (although tree branches are OK, too).
      Also, I swear I read somewhere that Jane did a lot of ballet when she was younger, hence that perfect posture. Maybe she’s not counting dancing as exercise?

  3. B says:

    Also meds and therapy and doing anything you can to get farther away from toxic people

  4. Sophie says:

    Exercise also combats anxiety.
    It can be a real lifesaver.

  5. AppleCart says:

    She’s 100% right when I am regularly working out and have a schedule. I feel so much better and motivated. But I have bad habits of sliding back and spending months on a couch also and feel like sludge. It’s always a struggle. And I wish I had the level of income to afford a personal trainer to keep me committed and accountable weekly. But I am on my own. It’s a mind game and sometimes the game wins and sometimes it loses.

  6. K says:

    Exercise has helped me more than I can say. It doesn’t have to be intense. We were meant to move. I suffer from sometimes (literally) paralyzing anxiety and depression. During those times I tell myself all I have to do is force myself to do what is going to help me. It gives me comfort to know in at least this instance, I am never wrong. Dance in your kitchen. Walk around your neighborhood. Try a yoga or Pilates video for free on YouTube. There is something somewhere for you that may take the edge off. It’s worth trying. You do have control and you do have a say. I know it may not feel that way but it gets better.

    • Eleonor says:

      I remember sometimes my exercise schedule was the only thing that gave purpose to my days.

      • BeanieBean says:

        Same. And there’s the realization of how good I feel once I return home (although there used to be a not-so-healthy round of kicking myself for not getting off the couch earlier).

      • Christine says:

        Same, especially during lockdown. I’m not sure what would have become of me if I hadn’t been taking a very long walk every day.

  7. It Really Is You, Not Me says:

    Exercise and healthy eating allowed me to move off anti-anxiety medication several years ago and stay off. But it’s important not to be dismissive for those who don’t get the same effect, especially anyone with severe depression. And if you’re going to try that route, you have to keep up the routine because even a few weeks off it turns me into yelling monster.

  8. ABCD says:

    She is in Europe right now and there is so much local gossip in the media here, it’s glorious!

  9. ABCD says:

    She is in Vienna and the gossip in the local media is glorious

  10. Ladiabla says:

    She’s right, I’m always combating (what I think) is mild depression. If I sit on the couch for hours I find myself just stewing and always end up feeling worse. If I get myself moving, I know I’ll feel better (even if it’s just a little bit). I do therapy once a week and my meds help but I think this is essential. I saw an interview for the 80 with Brady movie where she’s talking about making friends over 60, and how you have to be intentional about it….you have to say to the person, “I’m intentionally trying to be your friend”. I love that. Such a smart, resilient woman who cares. Her inside the actors studio brought me to tears. Anywho, the more I hear outta Jane, the more I love her.