Jane Fonda shared a easy trick to beat melancholy as you age


Jane Fonda’s passion for exercise only grows stronger as she gets older: the 85-year-old actor and climate activist is constantly encourage his 2.1 million Instagram followers to stay active. And at a recent H&M event in New York, she shared that working up a good sweat isn’t the only reason she prioritizes fitness, it also keeps her mental health in check.

« I did not know that [exercise] was important to do it until I was in my thirties, » she said, per People, joking that she said she has a « ‘constant period’ throughout school » to avoid attending gym class. “It wasn’t until my late 30s, early 40s that I started to get really active. Life before I got active wasn’t as good as when I started moving.

Once she started prioritizing movement, she noticed her mental health improved and she continues to exercise to reap the benefits. « I come from a long line of really depressed people, » she said, « and the best way to fight depression is to keep moving. »

Fonda’s thinking is correct: regular exercise can help reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and depression, according to the American Psychological Association. That’s because any form of movement, whether you’re taking a walk or lifting weights at the gym, triggers the release of brain chemicals that can help boost your mood. Exercise can also help you focus on negative thought patterns, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The original Jane Fonda Workout is one of the best-selling VHS tapes of all time, as SELF has previously reported. These days, however, Fonda says she prefers light strength training and incorporating resistance bands into her workouts. In a 2020 interview with Good + Good, Fonda said she works “every muscle group…slowly and very intentionally.”

Exercise also helps her stay active in her daily life. “You have to stay strong,” she said. “I have a grandson who is three years old and I can still get him back. 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 take it. Exercise can also help you maintain some level of independence, she said: « You want to be able to carry your own bags. »

Fonda also opened up about other recent health issues at the event and talked about her experience with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma last year. She first announced her diagnosis in September 2022 but is now in remission after chemotherapy. Reflecting on the diagnosis, Fonda said, « I won. »


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