It's hard to believe that America's queen of home workouts, Denise Austin, would have any new fitness ground to tread, but alas, she keeps coming up with new ways to get viewers off the couch and onto their exercise mats.
Her latest is Shape Up & Shed Pounds (Lions Gate, $14.98). Subtitled "Kick-Start Weight Loss!" and labeled "Perfect for beginners!" it's delivered just in time for New Year's resolutions made by anyone who kinda sorta didn't get around to working out last year.
It is a beginner's workout; advanced exercisers will get bored early and want to move out of the room, onto something more heart-pounding. The DVD includes two routines: a 30-minute low-impact cardio workout that incorporates power-walking and dance moves such as the mambo, and a 20-minute stretch-and-tone segment that borrows moves from yoga, Pilates and traditional core and ab exercises. Do them together for a complete workout, or alternate on different days if you're short on time.
This is a low-key DVD for which you need no additional equipment. It's low-impact, so it's easy on the knees and joints.
And it's also low-stress. If you are a beginner, you want Austin to be your workout buddy before you graduate to someone less nice, like Jillian Michaels.
-- Stephanie Allmon