The 82-year-old actress has starred in an impressive list of movies over the years, but currently, everyone knows her as Grace Hanson in the hit Netflix series Grace and Frankie, which was just renewed for its seventh and final season—making it the longest-running original series on the streaming service.
When it comes to health and fitness, Fonda isn’t calling it quits either. Her workout book and collection of fitness DVDs were a sensation in the 1980s, and while her days of high-intensity aerobics, leotards, and leg warmers are now behind her, the fitness guru still maintains her healthy lifestyle.
Like many other celebrities, Fonda’s faced scrutiny for plastic surgery she’s had done on her jawline and under-eyes, procedures she says were “minimal” but bought her “an additional 10 years of professional work” as an actress. But these days, Fonda is pretty content with being an octogenarian and isn’t letting age hold her back from living her best life.
“I have a fake hip, a fake knee, and I’ve had a number of back surgeries, so I’m sort of half-metal and half-bionic now. I have osteoarthritis and getting in and out of a car is a challenge. But I feel lucky that I did a lot of fitness work earlier in my life because it means I’m stronger now,” she told the Daily Mail in 2016.
So what exactly is Fonda doing to stay strong and healthy in her 80s? Here’s everything you need to know, in the star’s words herself.
For starters, she still works out.
Fonda takes a long walk every day, and she’s become a fan of resistance training, yoga, and cross-country skiing. “I’m never going to stop. The most important thing is to keep moving, to stay active. That’s what I do and that’s how to stay strong,” she told the Daily Mail.
Too many people give up on exercise at a certain point, she says. “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.’”
But she’s adjusted her workouts to be age-appropriate.
“There are a lot of things that I can’t do that I used to do. So I do things that are safer when you’re older,” she told Healthy Living. “I walk. I lift lighter weights. I move more slowly. But keep moving. Keeping your body active is absolutely critical. If you’re in a wheelchair, move your arms.”
She believes in long-term lifestyle changes, not diets.
“Most diets focus on weight loss on the scale, and they enforce temporary (and often unhealthy) restrictive behavior. Unfortunately, this scenario sets us up to fail,” Fonda explained in a video for BeFit. Instead, Fonda recommends tossing out the scale (she doesn’t own one herself) and shifting your entire lifestyle to be health-conscious, which includes finding health-minded friends, setting a regular workout routine, starting your day with a nutritious breakfast—and allowing yourself to indulge in a piece of chocolate every once in a while.
She prefers to keep busy rather than retire.
Many people retire by their 60s, but at 82, Fonda isn’t ready to call it quits. “I needed a steady job. It’s hard to be an older actor and be in regular work—people forget this is how we earn our living,” she told the Daily Mail. “I support other people besides myself and I need to bring in money. Plus, it’s fun. I never would have thought that at my age I could say I’ve been working too hard to spend time pampering myself, but I’m happy to say that’s the case.”
She doesn’t take her energy for granted, though. “If you had told me when I was 20 or 30 that I would still be acting at 80 on a show like (Grace and Frankie), I would have said, ‘You’re out of your mind.’ I didn’t think I’d live this long,” she recently told Ellen DeGeneres. “Every day I get up and I want to pinch myself. I feel very blessed.”
She favors natural makeup for mature skin.
Time on the big screen comes with lots of glam photoshoots, but Fonda doesn’t pack on the powder. Her long-time makeup artist, Shawnelle Prestidge, told New Beauty that she prefers to use light, buildable foundations that look more natural on mature skin.
She’s not afraid to address her mental health struggles.
While Grace and Frankie has its fair share of hilariously awkward scenes, Fonda resonated with some of the more complicated emotions that came with portraying Grace.
“I had a nervous breakdown during the first season, and I discovered it’s because the very first episode our husbands tell us that they are going to leave us after 40 years and marry each other and that triggered abandonment,” Fonda recalled in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. (The actress has been married three times, and her longest marriage was with her second husband of sixteen years, Tom Hayden.)
“It took me a season to come to care for my character,” she revealed. “I had to go back into therapy and start Prozac.”
Her most important lesson for aging gracefully?
Don’t try to be perfect: “It’s a losing battle and you’ll just be unhappy,” Fonda told Healthy Living. “Your anxiety will drive you to do things like eat too much or drink too much or whatever.”
Instead, funnel your energy into introspection and seek meaningful relationships with others. “I meditate for 45 minutes to an hour every day. That keeps me calm and grounded,” she said. “Trying to be intentional about how we live, staying interested, staying curious, paying attention to young people, cultivating young friends—these kinds of things are, I think, important to staying youthful.”
Slideshow: These 40 fit celebrities over 40 will inspire you to hit the gym (Provided by Prevention)