Montag, 24. Januar 2011

Good bye, Jack LaLanne

Sad news popped into my screen as I took a first look into global news this morning:
Jack LaLanne died on January 23rd 2011 at the age of 96 because of a respiratory failure due to pneumonia.

As often as this term is used but in my eyes (and certainly all those interested in fitness and health) this truly marks the end of an era. Although 96 is a tremendous age I would have hoped for many years to come for this great man.

To honour his lifetime achievement let us look back on a few of the most outstanding things that made Jack so special.
He hosted a TV fitness show during the 1950s-70s in which he encoured all Americans to get up on their feet and do gymnastic workouts at home. His motto was the most simple you could imagine: "The only way you can hurt your body is not use it!". He never got tired to remind everybody of the two easiest things needed for a healthy life - Eat right and exercise.

By sticking to this routine of daily exercise and healthy nutrition he kept an impressive physique, no matter what age.
  • Setting a world record he swam the entire length beneath the Golden Gate Bride in 1954, underwater and with 160 pounds of equipment.
  • Jack LaLanne still holds another world-record in push-ups: in 23 minutes he did over 1,000 of them on the TV show "You asked for it" in 1956. He was 42 back then.
  • At the age of 60, he swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco for the second time. Handcuffed. Shackled. Towing a 1,000 pound boat.
  • In 1979 he swam handcuffed and shackled once again. This time in a lake near Tokyo towing 65 boats filled with 6,500 pounds of wood.
  • With 70 he did the same handcuffed and shackled swim with (guess what) 70 boats and several guests on them, fighting strong winds and currents as he covered a mile in the Long Beach harbour to the Queen Mary - this was in 1984.
Jack LaLanne was also a pioneer for modern fitness and bodybuilding. Many things that we take for granted in modern fitness these days were introduced by Jack, including the usage of weights (even athletes didnt use those before), the combining of exercise and healthy nutrition, as well as weight workouts for women and elder people.
Throughout the years he has been a role model and motivator for every person watching his show. He was without any doubt one of the greatest and most encouraging health instructors of all time, the definition of a true fitness-guru.

    He will be remembered and I hope that despite the nowadays amusing looking footage from his TV shows many generations to come will value what he stood for.