If you’re on the hunt for a fun at-home workout that won’t feel monotonous and love a retro, cheerful host happily pep-talking you through some dance moves, you might be thrilled to find that you can access the best of VHS/DVD-era fitness videos for free online. While yeah, these actually are your mama’s kitsch experience, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the blast from the past.
To be clear, there’s a lot of framing in older workout videos that makes a 2021 body positive brain cringe. The focus on fitness through the lens of “sweat off pounds, weight loss is a priority” diet culture nonsense talk instead of about what makes you feel good can be super not great for people who are trying to have a healthy, positive relationship with fitness. So we can’t encourage you to take these retro, kitschy videos at face value or to internalize any of the messaging unless you can compartmentalize it as “just for fun.”
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We can say, though, that if you’re in the mood for a blast from the past, some ridiculous workout gear and some upbeat, dance-y cardio-friendly routines that you can do while at home, you should check out a few of the below (including some DVD options if you love ’em enough to want to keep them forever).
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Richard Simmons Sweatin’ to the Oldies
The platonic ideal of retro fitness, Richard Simmons is like a Fitness Bob Ross. He makes you feel supported and loved as you shimmy, step and “sparkle” through his routines (plus, there’s a diversity of body types that feels rare and reassuring for older workout videos). And right now that’s something we deserve.
Jane Fonda Walking Cardio Workout
Jane Fonda’s branded workouts feel so quintessentially 80s that they’re worth a try at least once. And if Fonda herself is revisiting these retro routines, why wouldn’t you want to? If you want more than what Youtube has to offer her classic workout collection is also available on DVD on Amazon.
Cher Fitness Hot Dance
Working out with celebrities was totally en vogue in the 80s and 90s, so it’s not a surprise that Cher joined the ranks of divas sharing their workout routines in fitness class. The soft goth workout gear and “Turn Back Time”-era looks make this one a must-try routine.
Cindy Crawford ‘Shape Your Body’
The filming style of this feels like an artsy, moody sibling to the campy videos of other divas of yore. There’s sets of different moves with some narration from Crawford and trainers, so it feels like you’re really virtually working out with your supermodel BFF.
Alyssa Milano’s Teen Steam Workout
Geared toward a younger set, teenage Alyssa Milano’s workout video feels like a really non-threatening intro to fitness videos. She and some friends are in a bedroom set and walk you through a few different moves (with some running commentary throughout) and the occasional fantasy music video dance sequences to keep things interesting.
Looking to build out a home gym without wrecking your wallet? Check out our favorite affordable workout gear:
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