When two Denise Austin DVDs arrived in the mail recently, I knew just the person to ask to review them: my sister Debbie.
Debbie introduces herself below in her review, but as her little sister, I grew up wanting to be her – to look like her, to dress like her, and to be overall cool like her. One of my favorite memories of Debbie was when we’d go camping in what our family fondly referred to as The Bear Coffin (see “Camping Adventures in the Bear Coffin.”)
As I wrote, Debbie was always kind to me, even when I stole her crutches after she’d injured her foot and after she busted me tape recording her and her boyfriend’s private conversation. She was politically active and tried explaining Vietnam and Watergate to me even though I was more interested in watching Captain Kangaroo and hanging upside down from our backyard elm tree. Mom often made us matching clothes, and during a trip to South Dakota, we both wore what I called our Wonder Woman shorts. They had white stars on blue and purple stripes and I remember being jealous of my beautiful sister who was tall and thin and filled out her shorts in a way my 8-year-old body could not (and never did, for that matter).
So now that you know her a little from my perspective, here’s Debbie and her perspectives on exercise and Denise Austin’s DVD “Quick Burn Cardio.” To throw your name in the hat to win this DVD, leave a comment or send an email to email@example.com. I’ll draw a winner on Sunday!
From Debra’s Mat: Exercises You’ll Actually Do
My name is Debra Haraldson, the 54-year old sister of Lynn, who asked me to review some exercise DVDs she receives on occasion. She knows to send me only those appropriate for my age and, um, mature body type. If she sends me a kick boxing, Tae Bo, cardio fat burning, boot camp DVD, she’s off my Christmas card list. I’m not a stranger to exercise but sometimes it eludes me, especially on those cold, dark mornings when the only work out I get is hitting the snooze button and pulling the quilt over my head.
Exercise is a necessary evil. When people say “I love to work out” or “I live at the gym” they are lying liars who tell lies. OK, well, perhaps they aren’t but they are INSANE. My exercise of choice is walking. If it’s light and dry at 6:15 a.m., I’m out walking. Plug in my iPod with my NPR podcasts, and I’m good to go. But when October rolls around, it’s dark and usually raining (I live in suburban Seattle) so I have to dust off the dreaded DVDs, move the ottoman to the side, open a window, turn on a fan and start my step aerobic routine.
I prefer step aerobics because the step really gets the heart pumping, and it offers low impact versions of the moves, as demonstrated on the DVD either by the woman still retaining her baby fat or the woman who just this week started an exercise program and is sweating just warming up. I used to do high impact step aerobics but then, well, I got old.
Lynn sent me Denise Austin’s “Quick Burn Cardio” to review. I like Denise Austin. She can be too bubbly at times but I like her common sense approach to working out. “Just do what you can – this is for you” she repeats often enough that I believe her. Some instructors act like drill sergeants. Been there, done that, hated it. This DVD has a 5-minute warm up and a 5-minute cool down. Just enough time for both. In between you can choose either a 20-minute “Interval Training” or a 20-minute “Cardio Weight Training” routine. Or, if you are truly crazy, both.
There’s plenty of high impact moves in the Interval Training but you can certainly convert them to low impact if your joints can’t take the blows or if you are tiring too soon. One women is there to demonstrate all of the low impact alternatives so I tended to watch her. There are also moves where you are fully standing up, then suddenly, on the floor. That isn’t so bad – it’s the getting up that’s hard! I compromised by meeting my knees halfway.
For the “Cardio Weight Training” portion, I suggest standing on thick carpet or an exercise mat. Use small weights, 1 or 2 pounds and you’ll need two of them (of the same weight.) I made the mistake of grabbing a five pounder and practically separated my shoulder from its socket. Work up to a higher weight if you want. Her floor routines were hard on my hips and knees, and I don’t have problems with them normally. Just use common sense. When the pushups began, I took that as a sign from the gods to take a break and have some water!
In my experience with exercise DVDs, the instructors have you doing a routine so long, you’ll see it in your sleep. Denise reduces these to several very short routines so that they don’t become boring. You can also follow the routines with or without her voice instructions, listening only to music.
Overall, I liked this DVD. Some instructors get so fancy with their moves that I get frustrated because I can’t keep up. Exercise should be fun (OK, so I’m a liar too) and not a modern dance audition.
Until next time.