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The Inspiration

Angela Lansbury’s Positive Moves

BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. MURDER SHE WROTE. KNOWN PRIMARILY FOR HER WORK ON THE STAGE AND SILVER SCREEN, ANGELA LANSBURY’S CAREER IS AS VARIED AS IT IS ESTEEMED.

And while we may know her for solving mysteries, or as the lovable teapot in Beauty & the Beast, Lansbury made a lasting impression on the fitness world with her 1988 exercise tape Positive Moves.

In 1988, celebrity exercise tapes were all the rage. Everyone from Heather Locklear to Cher to Milton Berle was releasing a VHS of exercise moves you could do in the comfort of your living room. Angela Lansbury’s Positive Moves: My Personal Plan for Fitness and Well-Being was not just an opportunistic cash-grab, rather an opportunity to use her influence and reach to educate a section of society who could  greatly benefit from the positive moves Lansbury promoted.

The film, which spans all of 89 minutes, is a master stroke of fitness lifestyle and philosophy. Lansbury runs the gamut — from walking, to a short bike ride, to showing viewers how to do stretches in the living room, to what Lansbury has dubbed, “on-land swimming,” which is, essentially, a standing stretch where one mimics the motion of breaststroke.

Throughout the movie, Lansbury effortlessly expounds exercise wisdom. Her tranquil voice and soft tone make it ever the more personal — as If she’s speaking to you when she softly says, “Self acceptance is vital. Give yourself a break, there’s something to like in every body.”

Whether she’s singing the simple praises of riding her bike, or teaching you what she describes as “a rhythmic dance like movements that gives us a greater sense of balance and coordination,” Lansbury has an undeniably affective tone, one that makes you feel like you can do anything, and that you should be actively trying to integrate motion and exercise into your everyday movements, as much as possible. After all, she was 63 when she made this film, and she looks incredible.

You can still snag a copy of the VHS tape on Amazon, as well as her 1990 book of the same name, but if you really need a fix, we’ve embedded a portion of Positive Moves for your enjoyment. 

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