Jack LaLanne, who spent more than eight decades living, breathing and promoting health and wellness, passed away at the age of 96 on Jan. 23, leaving behind a legacy that will undoubtedly influence millions for generations to come. And he did it all with a doctor of chiropractic degree, embodying the whole-body wellness lifestyle his fellow chiropractors espouse every day in practices across the nation and around the world. In honoring him for a lifetime of service to health care and all those he helped achieve a healthier lifestyle, we recap some of Jack's legendary accomplishments and share his insights on how you and your patients can optimize health.
While LaLanne never used his chiropractic degree in the clinical setting, his interest in musculoskeletal health was obvious; for example, way back in 1936, he opened the first modern "physical culture studio" - what today would be known as a health spa. Before that time, weight training was generally thought of as reserved for bulky, muscle-bound body-builders, not the general public, and certainly not for women. Decades later (2007), Jack became involved in "Stay Fit Seniors," a nationwide program developed by two doctors of chiropractic to provide seniors with circuit training within chiropractic offices.
LaLanne's fitness exploits are legendary, of course; consider the following from his remarkable life:
- At age 40, swam the length of the Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco) underwater with 140 pounds of equipment, including two air tanks.
- At age 41, swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf (also in San Francisco), handcuffed, shackled and towing a boat.
- At age 42, performed a world-record 1,033 push-ups in just 23 minutes on national television.
- At age 43, swam the Golden Gate Channel towing a 2,500-lb boat.
- Age 45: Completed 1,000 push-ups and 1,000 chin-ups in 88 minutes.
- At age 60, repeated his swim from Alcatraz to Fisherman's Wharf, again handcuffed, shackled and towing a 1,000-lb boat.
- At age 61, swam the length of the Golden Gate Bridge, underwater, for a second time handcuffed, shackled and towing a 1,000-lb boat.
- At age 62, commemorated the "Spirit of '76" by swimming 1 mile in Long Beach Harbor, handcuffed, shackled and towing 13 boats (representing the 13 original colonies) filled with 76 people.
- At age 70, towed 70 boats containing 70 people 1.5 miles from the Queen's Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary.
The following is excerpted from an interview LaLanne graciously did with us in 2007, published in our consumer magazine, To Your Health (December 2007 issue). Share the following with patients as you remind them of Jack's incredible life and the power of true health:
- "If you put the right fuel in your human machine and you exercise regularly, it's like putting money in the bank - the more you put in, the more you can take out. Remember, you are a walking billboard."
- "Exercise is king, nutrition is queen. Put [the two] together and you've got a kingdom!"
- "So many people over 40-50 years old think they're over the hump. They say, 'I can't do this' or 'I'm too old for this.' It's ridiculous. There are more older people getting in shape now than ever before."
- "Good health has got to start in school. We have to teach kids pride and discipline in how they feel and what they do. Kids need compulsory physical education in school and we have to get the junk food out of school cafeterias. They learn bad habits when they're young, and by the time they reach 50, the bad habits have taken their toll."
- "Ever read a label on canned soup? You can't even pronounce all those artificial ingredients and additives. And people put that in their bodies and end up in the grave."
People have to learn about keeping in shape for life."