Jane Fonda Shares Why She Works Out: 'The Best Way to Fight Depression Is to Keep Moving'

The 85-year-old opened up about all the benefits she’s experienced by staying active for more than four decades

Photo: Sansho Scott/BFA

Jane Fonda is reaping all the benefits of maintaining a healthy and active liftestyle.

During the opening of H&M's Move Studio in New York City on Wednesday, the 85-year-old spoke about all the positive things that have come from working out over the years.

Fonda, who famously revolutionized the workout industry 1980s with her at-home exercise tapes, admitted that not only did she realize that the "shape of my body" was changing when she first started working out, she also saw improvements with her mental health.

"I come from a long line of really depressed people, and the best way to fight depression is to keep moving," she said.

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Actress Jane Fonda poses for a portrait in 1984 in Los Angeles, California.
Harry Langdon/Getty

Fonda added that she "thanks God every day" that she's been staying active for more than four decades.

"You've got to stay strong," she said. "I have a grandson who's 3 years old, and I can still pick him up. I mean, I have to bend my knees and, you know, it takes a long time to get him up there, but I can still pick him up. You want to be able to carry your own bags."

"You have to be able to, you know, make love," Fonda continued. "I don't remember much [about that], but do I remember you need flexibility!"

She admitted that she's definitely grown into her love for working out and she didn't always value fitness.

"I didn't know that it was important to do 'til I was in my 30s," she explained, noting that she used to make up excuses to get out of gym class growing up. "I had a 'constant period' all during school so that I couldn't do gym — anything to get out of gym.

"It wasn't until my late 30s [or] early 40s that I started to actually become active … [and] life before I was active, it wasn't nearly as good as when I started to move," Fonda continued.

The Academy Award winner also commented on her being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which she revealed in September. Back in December, Fonda announced that her cancer is in remission. "I won," she quipped during Wednesday's event.

Last month, Fonda opened up to Entertainment Tonight about going through cancer treatments and admitted that chemotherapy "hit me hard."

"It was the first time that I thought, 'OK, this is what most people experience.' Because the kind of chemo that I was taking wasn't so bad in the beginning," she said, noting that it got more draining as time went on.

The actress said she learned her cancer was in remission right before her 85th birthday, which gave her a bigger reason to celebrate but also allowed her to reflect on mortality — something she says is important to do.

"I think about death a lot. I have for the last 30 years," Fonda told ET. "I think that's a healthy thing to do. It's hard to live right if you don't think about death. It's a part of life."

"Other cultures aren't so afraid of thinking about death as we are," she continued. "I spend a lot of time thinking about it and it's made my life a lot better. And when you get a cancer diagnosis, you think about it even more and you want to be sure you get the things done that you want to get done, so when the time comes you won't have a lot of regrets."

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