Like Harry Belafonte, it could be surmised that a lifetime of outspoken and oft-controversial political activism has helped Academy Award-winning actress Jane Fonda preserve her youthful glow. (Over the years, Fonda — who is 74 as of this writing — has championed civil rights and feminist causes and, most famously, rallied against the Vietnam War.) But let us not forget – for anyone possessing a mother or a VCR in the 1980s, it’s hard not to — that 30 years ago, “Hanoi Jane” donned a pair of leg warmers and transitioned into the high queen of at-home aerobics.
The ridiculous popularity of Fonda’s 1982 exercise video, “Jane Fonda’s Workout” actually helped make the then-new VCR a fixture in American homes and spawned countless videos, books and audio programs. Basically, the woman put the belted leotard on the map. For much of the 1990s and 2000s, Fonda stopped feeling the burn (at least publicly) and remained relatively quiet on the aerobics — and acting — fronts, but in 2010, she released a new series of “Prime Time” workout DVDs geared towards baby boomers and seniors. And in addition to exercise, Fonda has defied her age by eating healthy (she shares a few nutritious recipes here), tapping into to her spiritual side (Fonda announced her Christianity in 2001 after her 10-year marriage to Ted Turner dissolved) and partaking in the occasional nip and tuck (something she now says she regrets).