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R.I.P.(ped) ... Jack LaLanne

January 28, 2011 - Phyllis Sigal
I was so sorry to hear of Jack LaLanne's passing on Jan. 23, at the age of 96.

The fitness guru was way ahead of his times when he got couch potatoes off their butts, in order to get them moving along with him as he exercised. He talked about fitness, he talked about eating right and he talked about the affect stress has on our bodies.

And that was in the 1960s. His show was televised from the 1950s through the 1970s. He, along with his dog Happy would tell kids to wake up their moms and bring them to the television to exercise.

I remember my mom pulling a kitchen or dining room chair into the living room, in front of the television. A chair and a towel was the only equipment needed for Jack's exercises. I would usually sit on the couch and watch; sometimes I got up and exercised along with her.

She thought that guy in his tight-fitting one-piece, belted jumpsuit was gorgeous. Heck, you could see his ripped abs right through that jumpsuit. And his arms, well ... just look at those well-developed biceps.

He was still exercising up until the end, according to a story published by The Associated Press. Not only did he exercise, but he opened fitness studios, he marketed Jack LaLanne's Power Juicer, he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco at the age of 60 — handcuffed, shackled and towing a boat! At the age of 43, he did more than 1,000 push-ups in 23 minutes on a television show.

“The only way you can hurt the body is not use it,” LaLanne said. “Inactivity is the killer and, remember, it’s never too late.”

Yep, Jack, I hear you.

I've been exercising for a couple of years along with Margaret Richards on West Virginia Public Television. She's in her 60s and looks pretty darn good.

And just this week, actually, two days after Jack died, I began exercising along with assorted fitness teachers on ExerciseTV On Demand. On Demand is really great because you can do it whenever you want. There are a variety of 10-minute workouts, too.

Who doesn't have 10 minutes that they can spend tightening up those abs or that butt?

I just wish ExerciseTV would bring back some of Jack's old shows. I bet even my mom (who's 89) would still think he's gorgeous.


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