From Jane Fonda to Richard Simmons: 5 old-school workouts you can do at home for free

Richard Simmons on Capitol Hill, July 24, 2008.
The Washington Post | Getty Images

Quarantine can make for a sedentary lifestyle, and many people are likely finding that the level of activity in their lives has significantly dropped as they've stayed at home. But it's important to keep moving and stay active, even with limitations.

"Physical movement of any sort is going to be beneficial for the mind, body, and soul," says Peter Kraus, former "Bachelorette" contestant and owner of Peter Kraus Fitness. "You will feel more energetic, you'll feel better about yourself, [and] your overall mood will improve by having physical movement in your life."

If you're in need of exercise inspiration, there's an array of workouts available for free on YouTube not just from now but from decades back, featuring Jane Fonda, Richard Simmons, Cindy Crawford, and more. They're sure to both get you moving and keep you entertained.

Here are five old-school workout videos you can find for free online that are still relevant and useful today.

If you like strength training: Jack LaLanne

Jack LaLanne was an exercise and nutrition expert in the early 20th century who began hosting his televised exercise program, "The Jack LaLanne Show," in 1951. Clips from his iconic show can still be found online, including instructions for various types of exercises.

"Out of all of the videos I watched," says Kraus, "his was probably my favorite."

"He's doing squats, he's doing kick-backs, he's doing pushups," Kraus adds. "It's almost like we've gone back" now to what he was doing then.

If you like stretching: Jane Fonda

Oscar-winning actress Jane Fonda began releasing workout videos in the early 1980s and her 22 workout titles ultimately sold an amazing 17 million copies. Her full 1982 workout for beginners can be found on YouTube. If you're not sure you want to watch it for the exercise, at the very least consider watching for the leotards.

With these recorded videos, "the instructor's really good about telling you specifically how you should be doing these exercises," says fitness trainer Mandi Kalmon, so you "get the most effective movement out of it."

If you like dancing: Richard Simmons

Richard Simmons began his journey to make fitness accessible back in the '70s. His intended audience ranged "from the overweight and obese, to seniors and the physically challenged," according to his website. Among his 65 exercise videos is "Sweatin' to the Oldies 3," a classic from 1991. 

"I think this is the most fun and exciting workout," says Kraus. "I'd say for beginners, it would be an awesome thing to watch."

If you like bootcamps: Cindy Crawford

Cindy Crawford is best known as a modeling icon. She's also released several fitness videos, including 1992's "Shape Your Body Workout."

"Overall, I think she had a good workout," says Kraus. "I'd say maybe just put on your own music in the background and do her workout."

If you like kickboxing: Billy Blanks

Fitness guru Billy Blanks developed the martial arts-based workout called Tae Bo throughout his career, amassing a following and selling millions of videos. He teaches the moves with energy and excitement. His YouTube channel features new workouts from the trainer, as well as old favorites.

"If you're looking for good core stability," says Kraus, and "if you like doing kickboxing, I think it's a great workout."

As long as we're limited in our ability to go far from our houses or even leave them at all, says Kalmon, "any sort of movement is fantastic. And a lot of these videos you can still get a really good workout [from] today."

If you're looking for something a little more modern, companies like Myprotein are offering free workouts on their Instagram page, and Peter Kraus Fitness offers 21 straight days of in-home workouts for $20.

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