To honor the legacy of American fitness guru Jack LaLanne, who died at the age of 96 on January 23, US fitness and health magazine Self reports on the five essential truths of the "Godfather of Fitness."
LaLanne, a brawny showman who towed boats while swimming handcuffed to encourage Americans to get healthy, brought the concept of daily exercise to the American masses long before it became the norm. He opened what was believed to have been America's first fitness club, in Oakland, California, in 1936. He invented much of the exercise equipment seen in today's gyms, including leg extensions and cable-pulley systems. Jumping jacks? Named after LaLanne himself. Last year, LaLanne released a new book titled Live Young Forever, in which he discussed how he stays healthy and active in his twilight years.
According to Self, the LaLanne legacy includes the following five pointers:
1. Pump iron: When LaLanne came onto the scene, lifting weights was relegated to bodybuilders. "But through his fitness clubs and TV show, he helped Americans realize that strength training isn't just about baby oil and bulging biceps," writes Self. Rather, pumping iron stabilizes joints, boosts metabolism, burns more fat, and keeps you healthier, longer.
2. Eat a high-fiber diet: "What I do today, I am wearing tomorrow," LaLanne once said, reported in the article. "If I put inferior foods in my body today, I'm going to be inferior tomorrow, it's that simple.'"
3. Ladies, this includes you too: Before Jane Fonda, LaLanne was encouraging women to the hit the gym, back when most health clubs catered only to men.
4. Challenge yourself: At age 42, LaLanne did a record 1,033 pushups in 23 minutes. That swim while reportedly towing 10 boats carrying 77 people? LaLanne was 66 years old.
5. Scales are not an accurate measure of fitness: The better gauge is how your clothes fit, how strong and fit you are, and how you feel, cites the magazine.