Jack LaLanne passed away last month at the age of 96, and his devotion to health, nutrition and physical fitness will be truly missed. As he once said, "People don't die of old age, they die of neglect" -- and he certainly lived up to this statement. Even in his 90s, he easily looked decades younger.
A Powerful Role Model and Champion for Fitness
Many people do not know that LaLanne described himself as a sugar and junk food addict as a child, and he reportedly was very violent, attacking his brother with an axe and even setting his parent's house on fire. He then attended a lecture given by nutritionist Paul Bragg, and was inspired to change his diet and lifestyle, which he later blamed for his violent behavior.
LaLanne was an inspiration in many walks of life. Trained as a chiropractor and credited with opening one of the first health clubs in the United States, he also created the leg-extension machine and many other pieces of fitness equipment that are widely known today.
He was clearly a man ahead of his time.
Throughout his years he performed a series of fitness stunts, like completing more than 1,000 push-ups in just over 20 minutes, hosted a successful fitness television program, spoke widely about the benefits of raw fruits and vegetables and later began speaking to students, sharing his pearls of wisdom about how to live healthy.
No doubt about it, Jack LaLanne was a powerful role model to many, and it's important that his inspirational message will continue to be heard.
Do You Want to Reap Some of the Benefits That Jack LaLanne Spoke Of?
Jack worked tirelessly to help others transform their lives for better health -- a mission that is very close to my own. He was also a major testimony to how exercise and optimal nutrition can help you stay young well into old age. If you take nothing else away from this article, let it be the notion that it's never too late to make changes for the better when it comes to your health. And this is ESPECIALLY true for your diet and exercise habits.
As Jack said, "Exercise is King, nutrition is Queen, put them together and you've got a kingdom."
Now, when Jack started out healthy eating and exercise were still relatively new concepts on the health radar. In the year 2011, it's no longer breaking news that a healthy diet and exercise can make you feel better and lower your risk for countless chronic diseases.
Yet, despite having this knowledge, most Americans are STILL not following the advice.
A study by the American Diabetes Association revealed that Americans' greatest fear is actually developing a chronic illness. This was more feared than going into debt, getting a divorce or losing a job -- yet 67 percent of those polled also acknowledged that they followed a poor diet and 83 percent recognized being overweight or obese, both of which can directly lead to chronic disease.
Only about 26 percent of U.S. adults are eating three or more servings of vegetables a day, which means the majority are eating hardly any. And research shows that most people are not exercising even at minimum recommend levels. What this says is that the knowledge is basically there, but it has not yet permeated deep enough to prompt change in a lot of people. Unfortunately, many wait until they're sick to start cleaning up their lifestyle, and for some this may be too little too late.
Diet and Exercise Together Really is Key
Eating healthy is extremely important. I can't say enough about it in terms of its ability to support your optimal health on just about every level, and I encourage virtually everyone to eat according to your nutritional type to ensure your body is getting the right fuel it needs.
But even people with the healthiest diets in the world still need to exercise to reach the highest levels of health, and this is one area where Jack also focused. There's an overwhelming amount of evidence confirming that physical exercise is the key for disease reduction, optimal mental, emotional and physical health, and longevity.
After reviewing 40 papers published between 2006 and 2010, researchers found that exercise reduces the risk of about two dozen health conditions, ranging from cancer and heart disease to type 2 diabetes, stroke, dementia and depression.
Exercise also slows down the rate of aging itself, providing perhaps the closest example of a real life fountain of youth as we will ever find.
This is in part due to exercise's effects on telomeres. Telomeres are strands of DNA at the ends of your chromosomes that protect them from damage. The progressive and gradual erosion of telomeres leads to aging on a cellular level -- think of them as a kind of biological clock.
As telomeres shorten more, cell death occurs. These cell deaths are associated with serious disease and premature aging.
The leading anti-aging research is on how to prevent telomere shortening and develop therapies to lengthen telomeres, as many experts believe that lengthening telomeres could actually turn the biological clock backward. Well, exercise has been associated with preventing telomere shortening, so it is clearly a very powerful anti-aging strategy.
Two of My TOP Wellness Strategies are the Same as Jack LaLanne's
This site contains hundreds of thousands of pages of valuable information to help you along your health journey, and it's available for free at your fingertips by using the search engine feature above. Here you'll find information of all sorts to increase your health, ranging from vitamin D and emotional wellness to reducing EMFs and other environmental toxins.
However, if there were just TWO pieces of advice I could offer -- the two that would give you perhaps the most bang for your buck -- it would be this: eat healthy and exercise (these will also help support my third piece of advice … stay happy!).
If you want to have even a fraction of the energy and lust for life that Jack LaLanne had even in his 90s, learn the concepts in my:
- Nutrition Plan: This program comes from decades of experience in which I have researched extensively, conferred with my professional colleagues, and, most importantly, successfully treated tens of thousands of patients using healthy foods.
You'll learn about how to eat to thrive, not just survive, including a focus on raw foods, healthy fats, vegetable juicing, and paying attention to wholesome food quality.
- Peak Fitness Program: I recently coined the term "Peak Fitness" to represent a comprehensive exercise program that includes far more than merely cardio training. It can improve your health in ways you cannot get from typical methods of exercise, including greater weight loss from less exercise time.
While this program still includes some conventional aerobic and core-strengthening exercises, strength training, and stretching, the major change is that twice a week you do 'Sprint 8 exercises,' which raise your heart rate up to your anaerobic threshold for 20 to 30 seconds, followed by a 90-second recovery period.
These Peak Fitness exercises have the benefit of really boosting your fat metabolism, which may be what's missing from many people's routines. But in addition, and perhaps even more importantly, they engage your super-fast muscle fibers, which can increase your production of growth hormone.
Human growth hormone (HGH) strongly influences your biological aging process. The higher your levels of growth hormone, the healthier and stronger you're going to be. And the longer you can keep your body producing higher levels of HGH, the longer you will likely experience robust health and strength.
Taking the initiative to make healthy changes in your life is perhaps the most important way to use your time and energy, and this is what Jack LaLanne tried to instill up until his very last days. Fortunately, you can still take self-responsibility, educate yourself, and make better, healthier choices so that you can benefit from this message now and for many years to come.