Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Why Jack LaLanne Mattered


If Percy Cerutty had an American brother it would have been Jack LaLanne. Jack was the real deal, a man, like Cerutty, who recognized the absolute necessity of living a life in which physical exercise was a priority. The following is an archived article written after Jack died.


For those under the age of 40 years old and before this past Monday, the name Jack LaLanne probably brought to mind a likable old man you saw on television hawking a juicer bearing his name. Jack died Sunday at the age of 96 and the newspapers did a pretty good job of covering many of the things he did and what he accomplished during his life. I have a photo of him taken at the age of 85 doing fingertip push-ups with his arms extended in front of him. This picture serves as an inspiration to me as I move through my sixties. I found it interesting that he was covered mostly by the entertainment media and was pretty much ignored by the sports channels such as the ESPNS'. Perhaps this was due to the fact that Jack only had a television show that ran from the '50's to the '70's and was not a prominent member of some pro sports team. His show encouraged everyone,particularly housewives, to exercise and eat right. He did workouts that could be done in your living room,he showed you how to do them and went heavy on the encouraging and inspiring of his viewers. I must add that the physical feats he performed during his life are legendary. In case you are not familiar with some of the incredible things he did, simply do a Google search and prepare yourself to be amazed.I suggest you go to Wikipedia.com where you will read the best account of what he did and accomplished.If you have any interest in being fit and getting the most out of life,then this is a must read for you.I suppose it would have been too much to expect ESPN to give any coverage of Jack's life.After all, they had to give wall to wall coverage on whether or not a pro-football quarterback, who had played the day before and had sustained a Grade 2 MCL tear during the game,was being a wimp for leaving it. We were treated to endless cliche filled commentaries by barely articulate former players who act as the "experts" on ESPN saying things like,"in my day,if you could walk,you could play." Of course there was also my favorite,"This is the biggest game of his life,you have to step up,you may never get this chance again." Utterly asinine ramblings.


I digress, sorry. You see, Jack did some physical things that I doubt any athlete around today could do but that's not why he mattered. Jack mattered because for 77 years he preached that to live life to the fullest you had to be physically fit.He was right on the mark when he taught that with the pursuit of physical excellence came a positive outlook and attitude as well as an enthusiasm for life. He realized what many of us have come to realize,that a sedentary life eating crappy foods and satiating every desire you have is a road to ruin and unhappiness. He taught these truths decades before anyone else did.
Thanks Jack, for a life well lived.

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