Here’s How Jennifer Garner’s 83-Year-Old Mom Stays in ‘Tip-Top Shape’

Photo: Jennifer Garner / Well+Good Creative
Jennifer Garner never fails to inspire—with a pizza recipe, with a relationship tip, with a workout. And her 83-year-old mom is right up there with her.

In a recent Instagram video, Jen introduced viewers to her mother, Pat Garner. Together, the duo completed an easy workout that's responsible for keeping her in "tip-top shape."

"My mom started working out at the age of 80, and at 83, with the guidance of her beloved trainer Mike Irving, she is an expert," writes Garner. "Naturally, I asked Mom to train me during a recent visit."

From bicep curls and resistance band training to walking and modified ballet barre push-ups, Jen and her mom completed a full-fledged workout (with a break to pick up the kids from school), tracking their progress along the way with an Apple Watch.


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If you're looking for an easy, low-impact workout to get your heart rate up, take some notes from Pat Garner, the new fitness sensation.

The workout Jennifer Garner does with her mom, Pat Garner

1. Walking

The video begins with Pat explaining how she usually does a circuit that incorporates walking around the gym, presumably for cardio. While running often overshadows its less popular cousin, walking is an excellent low-impact exercise, according to cardiologists. Add some speed and incline, and walking makes you work up a sweat in no time.

If you want to take a page from Pat's book, go and stretch your legs on a brisk walk. No, it doesn't have to be around the gym—try picking a more challenging route that gives a good variety of hills and flat terrain. Experiment with smaller steps, too. A trainer previously told Well+Good that adding shorter strides with elevate your speed opposed to longer, lengthened strides that can slow you down.

2. Dumbbell exercises

Toned arms must run in the family because part of Pat's workout routine involves a variety of weighted arm workouts, like bicep curls, standing overhead presses, front dumbbell raises, and hammer curls.

Add a few dumbbell exercises to your workout. You don't need anything super heavy—3-, 5-, or 8-pound weights should suffice, or a pair of chic Bala bangles that slip right over the wrist. Try this 7-minute arm workout that doesn't skimp on the sweat. Or slow things down and add in some new moves from this pilates-inspired arm workout.

Here's the right way to do a bicep curl:

3. Resistance band exercises 

Who can resist a good resistance band workout? Part of Pat's circuit swaps out dumbbells for resistance bands, which aid in grip strength, help stabilize muscles, and more.

Put down the weights and get your hands on a decent set of resistance band, like this colorful set of five for under $10. Then, get to work. The bigger the muscle, the heavier your band should be.

This 20-minute resistance band workout is a great place to start:

4. Ballet barre push-up

Throughout the circuit, Jen and Pat use a ballet barre to do standing "push-ups" and really build their arm strength.

The good news is, you don't need a fancy home gym with a built-in ballet barre to do this workout. You can play around with one of more than a dozen push-up variations, like the plank push-up (quite easily the hardest no-equipment move in the gym) or the Russian push-up (which is practically a full core workout), to find something that matches your skill and ability.

Here's how to do a standard push-up:

5. Aerobic step-up

The last exercise to steal from Pat is an '80s-inspired aerobic step-up, which is used to improve balance and mobility.

Need some ideas? A box jump will increase your cardio while testing your balance. Or challenge yourself to the 10-minute full body mobility workout in the video below. Feel free to add a chair to this workout for stability as you test your balance.

Try this 10-minute full-body mobility workout:

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