In the previous article in this series on Longevity, I told you about the amazing Joe Rollino, an incredible master of longevity, who died far too soon at age 104.
If you read the article, you will recall that Joe was hit by a car on Jan. 11, 2010, and passed away shortly thereafter. Otherwise, Joe would still be going strong. His daily routine was to get up very early, walk 5 miles, and then possibly go for a swim in the icy, frigid Atlantic ocean by Coney Island, in Brooklyn, NY.
Today I want to tell you about another amazing master of longevity, one that is still going strong – Jack LaLanne.
Jack Lalanne, born in 1914, is now 95. He is considered the “godfather of fitness,” and is well-known for the many books he has written, the fitness television show he hosted from 1951-1985, and for the juicer that bears his name that he sells on TV.
But Jack LaLanne is no hawker of questionable goods. He is the real deal – a model for how to live a healthy, vital and long life, a Low Density Lifestyle life.
His passion is living a healthy and fit life, and he is recognized for his success as a bodybuilder and for his prodigious feats of strength.
But it wasn’t always that way for Jack – he was a sickly child who was addicted to sugar and junk food. At age 15 he heard a lecture on health and nutrition that had a profound impact on him, and from there decided to focus on his health.
He changed his diet and started exercising regularly. He made these lifelong habits, and he blames overly processed foods for many of today’s health problems. He advocates an organic, vegetarian diet as the best type of diet to eat, and his simple rules of nutrition are, “if man made it, don’t eat it”; and “if it tastes good, spit it out.”
His interest in health led Jack to take pre-med courses in college, and to attend and graduate from a chiropractic college. Yet his newfound interest in personal health steered him away from the idea of treating disease for a living, and instead, his focus became helping people to avoid disease by achieving optimal health and fitness.
In 1936 in Oakland, CA, he opened up the first health spa/gym way before it was fashionable, and at the gym he preached the benefits of weightlifting. Meat and potatoes was the standard fare back then, yet LaLanne, far ahead of his time, opened a combination gym, juice bar and health-food store.
In the 1950s, on his TV show, LaLanne suggested that daily calisthenics rather than girdles would keep housewives trim. “My whole career, doctors and so-called experts called me a crackpot and charlatan,” he says. “But I was right.”
He celebrated his recent 95th birthday with the publication of his new book, Live Young Forever. In the book, Jack teaches you how to achieve a vibrant, motivated, stress-free, sexually active life that will make waking up a joy for decades to come.
That sounds to me just like a Low Density Lifestyle life.
Even at age 95, Jack LaLanne continues to work out daily, exercising for two hours every morning. He spends an hour and a half in the weight room, and then a half hour either swimming or walking.
And for various prior birthdays, he has done all kinds of prolific activities to show off his fitness. For example:
***in 1976, at age 62: To commemorate the “Spirit of ’76”, United States Bicentennial, he swam one mile in Long Beach Harbor in Southern California. He was handcuffed and shackled, and he towed 13 boats (representing the 13 original colonies) containing 76 people.
***in 1979, at age 65: Towed 65 boats in Lake Ashinoko, near Tokyo, Japan. He was handcuffed and shackled, and the boats were filled with 6,500 pounds of Louisiana Pacific wood pulp.
***in 1980, at age 66: Towed 10 boats in North Miami, Florida. The boats carried 77 people, and he towed them for over one mile in less than one hour.
***in 1984, at age 70: Once again handcuffed and shackled, he fought strong winds and currents as he swam 1.5 miles while towing 70 boats with 70 people from the Queensway Bay Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary.
And what is the key to longevity, according to Jack Lalanne, the master of longevity? Let’s hear it from Jack, in his own words:
“You have to work at longevity. Exercise is king and nutrition is queen: together, you have a kingdom. My ‘secret’ is that you have to plan for your life. Some older people are now starting to exercise, but there are too many fat people. They spend time watching TV and drinking at the bar, then they say they don’t have time to exercise. People need to get their priorities straight.
“To live a long life, you have to work at living. Most Americans work at dying. You wouldn’t give your dog a donut and coffee for breakfast. Yet people fill their bodies with junk and then wonder where their physical health has gone.
“Life is like planting seeds. Put junk in, junk comes out. Exercise is also essential. Exercise increases your life expectancy and gives you a reason to get up in the morning. With a sound program of physical fitness, everyone can lead healthy and productive lives in their golden years.
“You control your life. My dad died at 50, but your genetics don’t control your longevity. Do the things that are under your control. Man can live to be 150. Common diseases like diabetes can be controlled by diet and exercise. Stay away from animal fats and processed foods. Read every food label, and if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, don’t buy it. Buying nutrient-empty foods is like putting water in the gas tank of your car. But good food by itself is not enough. You need a healthy lifestyle as well.
“Nutrition and exercise should be an important part of everyone’s life. Life should be a happy adventure, and to be happy you need to be healthy. Just take things one step at a time, and remember that everything you do takes energy to achieve. You need to plant the seeds and cultivate them well. Then you will reap the bountiful harvest of health and longevity!”
Thank you Jack LaLanne. You are a true visionary and pioneer. Listen to his words well, and you too can live a long and vital life.
[…] during this series on Longevity, we turn to another master of longevity: Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara of […]
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