Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fascinating People - Part 2

I have always been fascinated by Jack LaLanne, the original exercise guru. Sadly, Jack passed away a year ago on January 23, 2011, at the age of 96. His story is remarkable and warrants our attention.

I remember watching him on TV when I was a child. LaLanne's TV exercise program ran from 1951 to 1985. What always impressed me was his contagious enthusiasm. The man not only practiced what he preached, but he was one of the first who tried to convert the rest of us to healthier lifestyles.

Jack LaLanne once said, "The only way you hurt your body is not using it. Take care of the most important thing in your life -- your body."

He was the picture of fitness and loved to perform "feats" to drive home the point. At the age of 60, he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf while towing a 1,000-pound boat. At the age of 70, he towed boats across Long Beach Harbor while being handcuffed.

Some of Jack LaLanne's tips for longevity include:
Exercise 30 minutes a day, three to four times per week.
Change your exercise routine every two to three weeks to avoid boredom.
Set short-term fitness goals and stick with them.
Change a few bad habits by starting good habits.
Eat foods in their natural state and in as many varieties as possible.
Pass on caffeine, sugar and cigarettes.
Drink plenty of water.

Sounds simple, doesn't it? Truth is that getting fit is not difficult. But it requires sacrifice and commitment. Jack LaLanne believed that "Exercise is king and nutrition is queen; together you have a kingdom."

Along with walking, LaLanne continued his two-hour daily workouts into his 90s. LaLanne died of respiratory failure due to pneumonia at his home. He had been sick for a week but refused to see a doctor. He had been performing his daily workout routine the day before his death. As mentioned before, he was 96 years young.

In this day of extreme overweight and rising diabetes, it's obvious that many of us are on the wrong track. Jack LaLanne, however, was ahead of his time and by golly, it appears he was right. It's too bad that so few of us actually "got it."

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