This past Sunday, Jane Fonda received the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2021 Golden Globe Awards, joining the ranks of other honorees that include Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks. While many were happy to see the actress gain recognition, as well as being moved by her speech that called for more diversity in Hollywood, many were also enamored with just how amazing the 83-year-old actress looked.
As many of us know, Fonda’s workout book and collection of fitness DVDs were a sensation in the 1980s, yet it’s clear that despite her age, the fitness guru still maintains a healthy lifestyle.
Jane Fonda on Aging
“We need to revise how we think of aging,” says Fonda. “The old paradigm was: You’re born, you peak at midlife, and then you decline into decrepitude. Looking at aging as ascending a staircase, you gain well-being, spirit, soul, wisdom, the ability to be truly intimate and a life with intention.”
It’s clear that this approach has helped her age so well, but just what are her other secrets to longevity?
Jane Fonda’s Longevity Secrets
1. She never stops moving
“I have to keep moving because when you get older, it’s more critical than when you’re young. You have to keep your body moving,” the actress shared to WellandGood. “For me, if I don’t, not only does my body begin to deteriorate, but so does my mind, and I know that I need those endorphins.”
That said, as active as the Grace and Frankie actress tries to be, she only focuses on exercise that won’t place strain on her body. Not only does she have osteoarthritis, but she’s also had both a knee and hip replacement. As a result, she tries to stay active by using resistance bands.
“I use resistance bands, and I do floor work, and I work every muscle group, but I do it slowly and very intentionally,” she shared.
And if you think the actress might cut back on her fitness routine as she gets older and as her body changes, then think again.
“The mistake that so many people make is that if they can’t do what they once did, then they don’t do anything. Big mistake,” she said. “We can allow our various infirmities to define us, or we can say to ourselves, ‘I want to stay independent as long as possible. I want to be able to sit on the floor and play with my grandchildren. I want to carry at least some of my own luggage and not take 15 minutes to get out of a car.’”
2. She’s no drinker
In her book, Prime Time where she shares a blueprint for living well and for making the most of life, especially in the second half of it, Fonda writes that not abusing alcohol or smoking cigarettes is one of the best ways to age gracefully.
Considering the fact that a recent study found that every gram of alcohol consumed a day aged the brain by 11 days and smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for a year aged the brain by 11 days, perhaps it is time to fully embrace dry January?
3. Sleep is anti-aging
We all know that sleep is important. In fact, quality sleep is one of the best age-defying treatments out there, so it’s no wonder that Fonda does her best to sleep eight to nine hours every night.
The Monster-In-Law actress is such a huge fan of sleep that she even has her own effective nighttime routine. “See, I live by myself. I don’t have a husband or a lover, so I can kind of do whatever I want. I’m usually in bed pretty early,” she told SELF. “I have a bed where you can lift up the head and lift up the feet. You know, like a hospital bed. It’s a very comfortable mattress. So I raise my head and I raise my feet, and I start to watch television.”
If that’s not enough, the actress set the room temperature to 68 degrees and turns on her ceiling fan, before climbing underneath her 15-pound weighted blanket. “I like weight on me,” Fonda said. “I go to sleep so easily, and I sleep all night, and it’s divine.”
4. She’s active in activism
Fonda is a longtime activist, using her voice and platform to be outspoken about the dangers of climate change with weekly rallies. In fact, she even related a book, What Can I Do?, in September 2020 in an effort to spread awareness and offer tools on how one can take action and create change.
Aside from her multiple arrests for civil disobedience, it should be noted that believing in something and fighting for change can have a number of benefits for you and your body. A study published in PLOS One suggested that activism can lead to positive psychological outcomes, such as a sense of empowerment.
5. She loves hemp and CBD
Fonda has been quoted as saying, “I love hemp, let’s just put it right there,” and who can blame her?
Both hemp and CBD have been known to promote a number of anti-aging benefits that include reducing inflammation, combatting free radicals as well as alleviating the visible signs of aging.
6. She respects the sun
Having battled skin cancer in the past, the two-time Oscar winner does her best to stay clear of the sun, which is ironic because she refers to herself as the ultimate sun worshipper.
That said, if you are going to spend some time in the sun, make sure you do so after applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF30.
7. She meditates
Kevin Hart isn’t the only celebrity to turn to meditation. Fonda revokes that she’s practiced both mindfulness meditation and transcendental meditation for around 15 years.
“I meditate for 45 minutes to an hour every day. That keeps me calm and grounded,” she said.
8. She keeps her skin hydrated
Dry skin is a big issue for me. It’s something that tends to happen as you get older. It’s all about finding the right ointments and creams—different for my face and another for my body.” the actress shared. Unfortunately, dry skin is a common problem affecting mature women, due to the decline in collagen and hyaluronic acid, which not only cause dryness but also more pronounced wrinkles and fine lines.
If you’re looking to combat dry skin, you can use products that contain hyaluronic acid as well as ceramides as these will help to keep the skin moisturized.
9. Find your tribe
Blue Zones are five areas around the world not only virtually free of diseases but also inhabited by some of the oldest people on the planet. One of the characteristics of Blue Zones is their emphasis on community and that’s something that Fonda is passionate about.
“When I was growing up in the ’40s and ’50s, people were much more likely to be part of and join groups, be it book clubs, garden clubs, and so on,” she says. “But these are shrinking because we are being encouraged to become more individualistic by the powers that be. They want us to be individualistic because we’re powerless when we are individualistic. We only gain power as a group: strength in numbers.”
That said, Fonda believes that the secret to longevity can be found amongst your friends and family.
“To stay young at heart, you have to have love in your life,” Fonda told People. “For me, it’s my women friends. They put starch in my spine and make me happy.”
10. Plant-based eating
Fonda advises that one should increase their intake of water, fresh fruits, and vegetables, all while reducing their consumption of meat. If you really can’t believe that a plant-based diet is the secret to Fonda’s longevity, here’s more on the topic.
11. Your sex life matters
Fonda devoted an entire chapter of her autobiography to her sex life, adding that older women with active sex lives are healthier, happier, and respond better to aging, and you know what, she’s absolutely right.
That said, if you’ve found that menopause has affected your sex life, here’s how to get your groove back.
The bottom line
“With age, two-thirds has to do with spirit, your soul,” she told Variety. “I’m way happier now, and I’m way younger now…The ‘good old days’ were pretty bad for me. The real good old days are now.”
Dwyer, P. C., Chang, Y. P., Hannay, J., & Algoe, S. B. (2019). When does activism benefit well-being? Evidence from a longitudinal study of Clinton voters in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. PloS one, 14(9), e0221754. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0221754
Ning, K., Zhao, L., Matloff, W. et al. Association of relative brain age with tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, and genetic variants. Sci Rep 10, 10 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-56089-4