Health and Fitness Legend Jack LaLanne Dies

“Exercise is king, nutrition is queen. Put them together and you got a kingdom,” Jack LaLanne told our KSBY television crew two years ago. LaLanne was way ahead of his time in regards to health and fitness. His daughter says he was still working out until just a few months ago. LaLanne died today in his Morro Bay home in California at age 96. Morro Bay is on the California Central Coast where I live. I never met the Godfather of Fitness, but I did put together a special report for KSBY Television about living a long and healthy life in which a producer interviewed him. It was just two years ago and when our crew got there he just finished a workout. Our story looked into how much genes played a factor into living a long life. LaLanne told us, “This whole stuff about genes, my dad died at 50. Do I have to die at 50. It’s an athletic event, you got to work at it.”

LaLanne knew years ago what people are starting to realize now. Eating well and exercising has a direct impact on your health, and is probably a lot more important than relying on your genes. When I was putting together this story I never realized how strong and muscular LaLanne was when he was younger! Some of the old footage from his younger days was simply amazing. You can see some great videos below. Speaking of videos, LaLanne first took “The Jack LaLanne Show to the airwaves in 1951. It later became syndicated nationally and ran for more than 30 years. A tv guy who was into health and fitness. Definitely my kind of guy. Recently after starting this website and our health and fitness radio show Living the Run, a friend joked that I was the next Jack LaLanne. I consider that one heck of a compliment, but there will never be another or a next Jack LaLanne. I would like to thank LaLanne for all he did in helping people get fit and healthy, and always spreading the great word about proper health and nutritition. We all owe him a great deal. Thanks Jack…
Below is a news story from Reuters.

(Reuters) – Jack LaLanne, a one-time sugar-holic who became a television fitness guru preaching exercise and healthy diet to a generation of American housewives, died on Sunday at age 96, his daughter said.

LaLanne, who became U.S. television fixture in his close-fitting jumpsuit starting in 1959 and came to be regarded as the father of the modern fitness movement, succumbed to pneumonia following a brief illness at his home in Morro Bay, along the California’s central coast.

“He was surrounded by his family and passed very peacefully and in no distress … and with the football game on Sunday, so everything was normal,” Yvonne LaLanne, 66, told Reuters.

She said her father had remained active until a few months ago, including the taping of a recent public TV special.

Well into his 90s, LaLanne exercised for two hours a day. A typical workout would be 90 minutes of weightlifting and 30 minutes of swimming, changing his routine every 30 days.

He preached the gospel of exercise, raw vegetables and clean living long after his contemporaries had traded in their bicycles for nursing home beds.

“I can’t die,” LaLanne would say. “It would ruin my image.”

LaLanne was born Francois Henri LaLanne on September 26, 1914, in San Francisco, the son of French immigrants. He said he grew into a “sugar-holic” who suffered terrible headaches, mood swings and depression.

In desperation when he was 14, LaLanne’s mother took him to hear health lecturer Paul Bragg, who urged followers to exercise and eat unprocessed foods.

The young LaLanne swore off white flour, most fat and sugar and began eating more fruits and vegetables. By age 15, he had built a backyard gym of climbing ropes, chin-up bars, sit-up machines and weights.

Soon, LaLanne, who was only 5 feet, 6 inches tall, was playing high school football. He added weight-lifting to recover from a football injury and was hooked.

LaLanne opened the nation’s first modern health club in Oakland, California, in 1936. It had a gym, juice bar and health food store. Soon there were 100 gyms nationwide.

Without bothering with patents, LaLanne designed his own exercise equipment, which he had built by a blacksmith. In 1951, he started using television to get the first generation of couch potatoes to try jumping jacks, push-ups and sit-ups.

“The Jack LaLanne Show,” which went national in 1959, showed housewives how to work out and eat right, becoming a staple of U.S. daytime television during a 34-year run.

He also was known for a series of promotional fitness stunts. At age 45, in 1959, he did 1,000 push-ups and 1,000 chin-ups in 86 minutes. In 1984 a 70-year-old LaLanne had himself shackled and handcuffed and towed 70 boats 1.5 miles in Long Beach Harbor.

LaLanne said in 2007 his focus was always to help people the way Paul Bragg had helped him, adding, “Billy Graham is for the hereafter, I’m for the here and now!”

(Additional reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Bill Trott and Chris Wilson)

A Transcript of my story I did with LaLanne in November of 2009. “Central Coast Fitness Legend Jack LaLanne Weighs in on Living to 100″:

Many credit the advances in modern medicine and healthier lifestyles.

Some say it’s simply a matter of good genes.

Whatever the reason may be, there is no denying the fact people are living much longer than they used.

The debate definitely continues on just what it takes to live to 100 years old or if you have a say in the matter at all.

At 95, Central Coast resident and fitness celebrity Jack Lalanne is well on his way to triple digits.

And Lalanne definitely has his say in the matter.

“I just finished working out and I’m pooped,” Lalanne said after a workout at his home.

At 95 Lallane says he still works out everyday.

It’s Something the fitness guru has done on the KSBY airwaves for years and nationally for more than three decades.

“Exercise is king, nutrition is queen. Put them together and you got a kingdom,” added Lalanne.

100 years ago living to 100 was almost unheard of. But the number of centenarians is growing rapidly and has more than doubled since 1990 alone.

But why are people living longer?

Dr. Oz a frequent guest on Oprah says 70 percent of how you age comes from how you live.

Other experts say your genes play a more significant factor.

“I would say 75% would play that they are going to be healthy to a long health span depending on their parents and grandparents,” Yvonne Deena a registered nurse said.

Lallane says he’s living proof that you can control your own health destiny.

“This whole stuff about genes, my dad died at 50. Do I have to die at 50. It’s an athletic event, you got to work at it,” Lallane said.

At the Village at Garden Creek Assisted Living Center in San Luis Obispo there are plenty of seniors smiling and tapping their toes well into their golden years.

“I smoked until I was 50 years old then I quit,” Temple Herron who is 103 said.

Besides smoking until he was 50, Herron, a world war two veteran also survived a plane crash and a torpedo attack.

As for his genes, he definitely has a good pair.

“My mother lived to be 90 and six months and my father 89 and six months,” Herron said.

No matter what you believe most experts agree that exercise and a healthy diet will help you live a longer life.

As for the man who on his 60th birthday swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco handcuffed and towing a one thousand pound boat, he says enough with the excuses.

“Living long it’s an athletic event as I said. You got to eat right, you got to exercise, you got to have goals and challenges. Forget about the good old days, the good old days are right this second,” Lallane said.

Jack also says if it’s man made don’t eat. Stay away from the cakes, pies, and ice cream. He says the five seconds on the lips is not worth the lifetime on the hips.

New York Times article


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