From her high cut leotards to her signature “feel the burn” motto, everyone knows Jane Fonda is one of the greatest fitness icons of all time. Though we all picture Fonda doing high knees and and fast-paced cardio in classic ’80s garb, the soon-to-be 85-year-old sat down with Vogue recently to share what she thinks about aging and exercise has changed as she’s gotten older.
“I know better than I did even when I was younger that no matter how old you are or who you are or where you are, keeping moving in a way that’s appropriate for your age is absolutely critical to your healthy lifespan,” Fonda told Vouge. From early on in her career, Fonda has always been a strong advocate for democratizing fitness and making movement accessible to everyone, and the actress’ perspective has stayed true as she’s gotten older. Recently, she even partnered with H&M Move, despite her personal vow against consumerism and buying clothing, because she felt so strongly about the movewear brand’s ideology: “I like their philosophy of movewear over sportswear because it’s not about sports or being athletic. It’s about moving in a way that keeps your body healthy and strong.”
At the ripe age of 84, Fonda has never stopped moving, but her philosophy around working out has matured along with her. “My motto now is not for the burn. It’s slow down. Everything is very slow,” she reveals. Instead of focusing on high-intensity cardio like she did in her 20s, Fonda honors her abilities as an older woman and allows herself to take things slow and simply move to feel good. “I come from a long line of depressed people. One of the ways that I avoid depression is through exercise. When I move, when I walk, when I exercise, the depression lifts. That and activism are the two best anecdotes for depression as far as I’m concerned.”
Mindful eating has been another important factor for Fonda in looking and feeling her best no matter her age. “I eat a fairly healthy diet. I’m not rigid,” she explains, “I have cut way back on red meat. I’ve cut back on fish because fish supplies are dwindling. I eat vegetables. I eat salads. I eat fresh food. I’m just careful about what I eat.” Despite her habitual healthy habits, the star also revealed that when you’re taking care of your body, your philosophy on eating need never be one of restriction: “I was in Italy for two and a half months making the sequel to Book Club and ate gelato and pasta every single day while I was there,” she shares.
When it comes to the idea of “getting older”, Fonda’s mentality is one we all could learn from: She’s not afraid. “I want young people to stop being afraid about getting older. What matters isn’t age, isn’t that chronological number. What matters is your health,” she affirms. After watching her father succumb to heart disease in his 80’s, Fonda has remained adamant about promoting healthy living over avoiding aging. “Just because you’re a certain age doesn’t mean you have to give up on life, give up on having fun, give up on having boyfriends or girlfriends, making new friends, or whatever you want to do,” she exclaims, “It’s still in the realm of life possibilities for you.”