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Can We Beat the Game of Life? Part 2

Father of Fitness

If Adelle was the Mother of Nutrition, Jack Lalanne surely was  the Father of Fitness. They both become very famous for their philosophies on health and vitality; hers  mainly with food, his mainly with fitness. They both knew how important both nutrition and exercise were and the role each played in living a healthy life.  They both knew it was about creating a balance of eating healthy and getting moving. They were also both against additives and preservatives and knew how bad these things were and were very ahead of their time in that sense.

Jack Lalanne


The father of fitness, Jack Lalanne advocated exercise and weight training long before they were in vogue. He was among the first to encourage women to lift weights- and to dispel the misconception that it would make them look masculine. He opened his first health spa, in Oakland, in 1936, and later had more than 200 health clubs. For 34 years, from 1951 to 1985, he hosted “The Jack LaLanne Show,” a popular TV fitness show that aired throughout the United States and Canada.

At age 42, he set a Guinness world record for fastest completion of 1,000 push-ups (23 minutes). At age 60, he swam from Alcatraz to Fisherman’s Wharf while handcuffed, shackled and towing a 1,000 pound boat.

He has defined age as not being able to do things you used to, saying people can ward off age, reverse it and prolong life through exercise. If exercise can help you do things you haven’t been able to do in 10 years, it’s rejuvenating, he says. His longevity advice boils down to weight training, aerobic activity, plus a good diet that includes a lot of fruits and vegetables. His book “Revitalize Your Life” touts his “secrets” to reversing aging and living longer, and remains a top seller in its genre. “Live Young Forever,” which is due out in September, promises “12 Steps to Optimum Fitness, Health, and Longevity.”

The verdict: “I love Jack LaLanne,” says Tom Perls, a geriatrician and director of the New England Centenarian Study, “he’s living proof of the saying: “The older you get, the healthier you’ve been.’”

Adds Olshansky: “He was way ahead of his time… Decades ago, he was onto the most important ways we can influence aging, by exercising and eating fruits and vegetables.”


Jameson, M. (2009, July 13). Trying to beat the game of life. Los Angeles Times, pp. E3