This is the 38th installment of the classic actress beauty tips that I have read about and tested.
Actress Angela Lansbury has had a long and varied career. Lansbury started in films in 1944 and on the stage in 1957, and she still works in both mediums today. She was active on television with her own show. And she even joined the exercise craze of the 1980s, releasing the video “Angela Lansbury’s Positive Moves: My Personal Plan for Fitness and Well-Being.”
But this video isn’t filled with crunches, leg lifts, arm circles and donkey kicks. I even really hesitate to call this a “workout video” or even strength training. This is more a series of stretches, movements, and advice encouraging the viewer how to stay active in small ways.
Angela Lansbury filmed the video in 1988 at age 63, while she was still making “Murder, She Wrote.” She later followed up with a book version in 1990.
In the video, Angela Lansbury admits to not being a fitness expert or diet fanatic, but that she takes 30 minutes each day to do these stretches so she can continue the lifestyle and activities she enjoyed when she was younger. Her stretches and movements also don’t need any equipment or a “tricky outfit.”
“I made this tape because I want to share the thoughts and truths of staying healthy and active,” Lansbury said in the video. “It’s never too late to maintain fluid and graceful movement.”
Before she swings into action, we see Angela Lansbury in a bath towel in her bathroom. She tells us that every morning she gives herself a mini massage with aloe lotion, which allows her to stay in touch with her body and see if she’s in shape.
Exercises begin with 10 minutes of gentle stretches on Angela’s back porch, while she wears a comfortable looking, long-sleeved body suit. The gentle stretches include breathing while slowly lifting your arms up and down, bending over while stretching arms up behind your back, or doing breast stroke and back stroke motions while standing.
After these—if the viewer has time—Angela invites us inside for some more in-depth stretches on the floor, which include glute bridges, laying on the floor with your knees to your chest and moving them to either side of your body, or moving your leg up and down with the assistance of a scarf or resistance band around the foot.
Following all of this, we go into some rhythmic movement and moving freely. Angela walks in a jazzy manner, prances a bit and encourages you to move easily and feel loose and free—there’s no right or wrong way!
She also demonstrates that our gestures and body language can make a tremendous difference in what people think about us and our success. All the while, Angela is encouraging us to be positive and banish bad thoughts.
“If I have a negative thought, I say cancel that—I’m going to expect the best,” Angela says.
Now that we are done with our fitness, the remainder of the 50-minute tape is advice on little activities you can do to stay active around the house.
“Puttering is valuable for your health and contributes to your longevity,” she said.
- Taking a walk. Angela briskly walks down the street in khaki pants, a button up shirt, and a sweater around her shoulders. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
- Take a five or 10-minute cat nap. “Women of a certain age have to martial their forces if they want to do things that they can enjoy.”
- Activities like gardening don’t require a lot of thought and releases the tensions of the mind.
- Sewing, which requires a lot physically. If you don’t like to sew, Angela suggests home decorating, refinishing furniture, or mowing the lawn.
- Washing your car. We see Angela washing her Mercedes.
- Baking bread.
- Indulge in small ceremonies that are comforting. Angela still has tea in the afternoon with a cookie to enjoy peace and quiet.
- Bike riding.
She tells viewers that she doesn’t diet but eats the following throughout the day:
- Breakfast: Fruit and cereal
- Lunch: A “salad sandwich” or a large salad
- Dinner: Poultry or fish with vegetables
- Dessert: Tofu based ice cream
Other philosophies and lifestyle tips:
- Sexuality: Take a bath with soft towels and fragrant oils. Angela tells us: “Femininity and sexuality go hand in hand. They used to think women lose interest in sex after menopause, but now we know it’s not true.” Angela tells us how to keep romance in life, and that it’s important for a woman to maintain a mystery about herself at any age. “A woman of loveliness and dignity feels good and know she’s looking her best. She can continue to get attention as a feminine, sexual person.”
- Glamour: “I never was considered a beauty but I can project the illusion of great glamour.” Women who aren’t actresses can also emit glamour, she tells us as she puts on earrings and is dressed in a lace dress.
The idea to the do a fitness tape was the idea of Angela Lansbury’s agent, Lee Stevens of the William Morris Agency, according to a 1988 article.
“My immediate answer was, ‘Go on with you. I’m not interested in that. I’ve never been to an exercise class in my life,’” Angela is quoted in a 1988 newspaper article. “…It’s surprisingly personal and extremely revealing of me. I hope it will be the kind of gift younger women want to give their mothers for Christmas.”
Throughout the video, Angela Lansbury seems very happy, sincere and encouraging. Seeing that she is still working and making appearances in 2017, I do believe she practiced the lifestyle she describes in this film.
Do know that this video isn’t Crossfit or even aerobics. And while you won’t be drenched in sweat at the end, Angela’s movements are a great stretch. These are good exercises to increase and maintain flexibility, mobility and balance — especially those who are older. I think it also could be a good start if you are looking to begin exercising.
The only downside to the film is the new age 1980s music, but otherwise, Angela Lansbury’s video is pleasant—and positive.
You can watch the whole exercise video here:
Other exercise videos we have tried:
- “Jane Fonda Workout” (1982)
- “Jane Powell Fight Back with Fitness” (1986)
- “Do it Debbie’s Way” (1983)