February 1st, 2011 by Digestive Detective
Last week a true icon of health & fitness, Jack Lalanne, passed away at the ripe, old age of 96. Lalanne was ahead of his time, serving as a pioneer in the industry with a laundry list of accomplishments:
A sugar addict as a kid, he changed his life at 15 by swearing off flour, most fat, and sugar and concentrating on eating fruits and vegetables.
- He opened the first modern health club in the US in 1936 in Oakland, CA. It was equipped with a gym, juice bar, and health food store. Think about the timing... we were still in the Great Depression... Jack LaLanne was gutsy and bold like no other.
- In 1951, he started his own TV show. This is where he made famous his one-piece jumpsuit zipped open halfway down his chest with “Jack” stitched over his heart. His show was on air for decades.
- At the age of 45, in 1959, he did 1,000 pushups and 1,000 chin-ups in 86 minutes.
- At the age of 70, in 1984, LaLanne shackled and handcuffed himself to tow 70 boats with 70 people 1.5 miles in Long Beach Harbor.
- Up until his death, he did 90 minutes of weightlifting and 30 minutes of swimming everyday. He continued to preach the gospel of exercise, raw vegetables, and clean living.
- In 1986, Lalanne was awarded the IDEA Health & Fitness Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
Jack was an inspiration to millions of people; he lead by example and not only talked the talk, but walked the walk AND THEN SOME (how many 70 year olds do you know that have swam 1.5 miles shackled to boats!).
Individuals like Lalanne are the exception - larger than life individuals who possess the ability to magnetize the masses with their electric personas and indomitable spirit. In our own lives, we may be drawn to such "larger than life" figures for inspiration, but can also find inspiration much closer to home.
For me, the individual who inspires me to live a healthy, fit lifestyle is my grandfather. Joe, or Pop Pop as we called him, was active all throughout his life, first working for the phone company as a telephone lineman. Being a lineman back then was challenging labor as it required climbing telephone poles all over the city throughout the workday. As he progressed in the company, his job requirements changed, but he continued to remain physically fit and active, working out at the local YMCA, often swimming on his lunch breaks. Recreationally he played softball, rode horses and participated in bowling leagues as well. Upon retirement, my grandfather remained active in his older age by walking 5-10 miles every day at the local high school track. The track was a source of physical fitness as well as a place for social interaction; it was this social interaction, along with his habit of completing the newspaper crossword puzzle each day, which kept him mentally fit and sharp all throughout his life.
My grandfather was an example of physicality and fitness, and maintained those habits all his life (along with helping to raise 5 rambunctious children).
The question is, "who inspires you?" Who is it that motivates you in being the best, healthiest version of yourself? What characteristics do/did they possess that you strive to emulate in your own life?
Find that person for yourself and follow their lead; become inspired and aspire personally to adopt a mindset and way of living that leads you to greater health & wellness.