Richard Simmons of 'Sweatin’ to the Oldies' is posting fitness videos ‘as a comfort’ during the coronavirus pandemic

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·5 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Workout icon Richard Simmons is ramping up his YouTube channel for people under home quarantine. (Screenshot: Instagram/Richard Simmons)
Workout icon Richard Simmons is ramping up his YouTube channel for people under home quarantine. (Screenshot: Instagram/Richard Simmons)

Richard Simmons, of “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” fame, is restoring his YouTube channel during the coronavirus pandemic with nostalgic workouts for people under home quarantine.

"We have had an overwhelming request for Richard to return in some way as a comfort to all dealing with the pandemic," a spokesperson for the 71-year-old told Fox News. "We thought we would start by re-releasing some workouts and other inspirational content on his YT channel. Richard is very touched by the outreach.” Representatives for Simmons did not immediately respond to Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment.

A few weeks ago, Simmons began posting classic content including “10 Minute Sweat with Richard Simmons,” “Five Minute Retro Sweat Workout” and a “Motivational Monday” segment in which he reads viewer mail and touts the health benefits of non-fat frozen yogurt. “But don’t fall into the trap of adding all those toppings,” he says. Before then, his last YouTube videos were posted six years ago,

The pop culture icon’s Twitter and Facebook accounts have been sporadically maintained since 2016 (his last Instagram post was in 2014), amid rumors that he was missing or held captive. A New York Daily News report in 2016 described him as “frail and trembling” while allegedly under the thumb of his longtime housekeeper, according to concerned friends.

“Richard is enjoying life at home after a 40-year career of traveling the world and inspiring people to take better care of themselves,” manager Micheal Catalano told the New York Daily News. “He is working on several projects and continues to encourage those that need his help.”

Simmons also insisted that all was fine during a Today interview that aired days later. "No one is holding me in my house as a hostage,' he said. "You know, I do what I want to do as I've always done so people should sort of just believe what I have to say because like I'm Richard Simmons!"

He elaborated on the need for self-care after enduring knee injuries. "I just really don't want to do anything, you know,” he told Today. "I just don't want to be traveling anymore. It certainly has taken its toll on me, so it was not like over a day, it was just over some time."

"For all the people that were worrying about me, I want to tell them that I love them with my whole heart and soul and that not to worry, Richard's fine,” he said. “You haven't seen the last of me. I'll come back, and I'll come back strong."

Following the 2017 podcast “Missing Richard Simmons,” Los Angeles police performed a home welfare check. However, a detective told People that rumors were “all garbage” adding, “[Simmons] is perfectly fine and he is very happy.”

And when the fitness guru was hospitalized in April 2017 for "severe indigestion,” his rep told ABC News that Simmons only wanted respite from the spotlight.

Simmons (who was born Milton Teagle Simmons) grew up in New Orleans, Lo., “where lard was a food group and dessert mandatory,” he wrote on his website. In 1981, Simmons told the Washington Post that he went to Europe as a 268-pound teenager and modeled for Dannon yogurt and other brands.

In the 1970s, Simmons moved to Los Angeles and opened a Beverly Hills-based salad bar, favored by Diana Ross and Barbra Streisand, reported the Washington Post. An attached gym called “Slimmons” was operational until November 2016.

According to his website, Simmons created 65 fitness videos like “Dance Your Pants Off,” “Party Off the Pounds” and “Sit Tight” for disabled people. He also sold the weight loss tools Deal-A-Meal and FoodMover and published nine books, including the 1998 autobiography Still Hungry-After All These Years and Never Say Diet, the 1982 New York Times Best Seller.

Simmons also wanted children to value health and fitness — in 2010, he assisted with passing the the Fitness Integrated with Teaching (FIT) Kids Act to promote physical education in schools.

This week, Simmons tweeted motivational messages such as, “Get up and move!” and “Are your snacks healthy?” On Friday, actress Jane Fonda, also famous for the 1982 namesake workout, reenacted the routine on TikTok to raise awareness for climate change.

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC and WHO’s resource guides.

Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:

Want daily pop culture news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo Entertainment & Lifestyle's newsletter.