Picks and Pans Review: Armchair Fitness

updated 06/13/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/13/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

For those who prefer to (or can only) take their exercise sitting down, exercise instructor Betty Switkes offers three 20-minute armchair workouts to stretch and strengthen flaccid muscles and pep up circulation. It's a promising idea sabotaged by haphazard direction. Switkes sits in a shabby living room with a democratic assortment of ordinary people who could have been plucked from a supermarket line. A trim but shrill instructor, with a voice that seems to bounce off the rafters, Switkes punctuates her orders with lots of "Wooooos," "Weeees" and "Terrifies!" But don't think you won't get a good workout. There are lots of flapping arms, undulating shoulders, rotating heads, twisting wrists, swinging legs, fiddling fingers and tapping feet-all to the beat of a piano-bass-drum combo that sounds like a bad Vegas lounge act. There's also some embarrassing patter: "Get ready...to ride that horse... wave to your buddies on the trail" and "We're bouncing basketballs...dribble, dribble..." Gag, gag. (CC-M Productions, $42.45,301-588-4095)

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