When I was a little girl there were 2 TV shows I could NOT interrupt my mother during. One was General Hospital (and oh, how she loved when Richard Simmons was in the cast) and the other was the Jack LaLanne Show. Along with my German shepherd, King, mom would turn his show on, downstairs in the basement, and exercise along with Jack, his wife Elaine and their German shepherd, Happy. His show aired from the 1950’s to the 70’s and Happy’s job was to encourage kids to wake their moms up and drag them to the television where he would demonstrate exercises using only a chair or a towel. My mom never needed to be dragged. Much like Mr. LaLanne himself, my mom was way ahead of the diet and exercise curve. Looking back, there certainly couldn’t have been better role models for me…Jack, Elaine and my mom, Ruth.
Can you imagine how progressive and passionate about fitness this man was to open a women’s health studio that included weight-training in 1936?!?! There are still, to this day, people that haven’t gotten the importance of this almost a full century later. His theories on “inactivity being a killer” and it “never being too late to start,” were way ahead of the times, and female athletes would often have to sneak in to use his facility in his home town of Oakland, California for it was “absolutely forbidden in those days for athletes (and women) to use weights.
LaLanne’s own fitness routine consisted of 2 hours of weight training and and hour in the swimming pool. It’s not so far off from the routine I would choose for myself, if I could. About 25 years ago, I found myself teaching at one of his clubs. Though the club has changed names, we at Tamarac Fitness Center still live by his philosophies. Exercise…”It’s a lifestyle. It’s something you do for the rest of your life. How long are going to keep breathing? You just do it.”
I would like to say REST in peace, but somehow asking Jack LaLanne to rest anywhere, just doesn’t seem right. After all, I am pretty sure my mom has different plans for you. I will simply say thank you for the huge contribution you made on this earth in your 96 years of great health! You and your legacy will forever inspire people to get moving. You are not only an icon, and the Godfather of Fitness, but to me, a mentor extraordinaire. My commitment to you is to keep spreading the word on exercise and how it really is THE magic bullet.
And on that note, I am off to start spreading.