I was thinking about Jack LaLanne, “The Godfather of Fitness,” before, during and after my 5-mile run this morning. The running conditions were not ideal. It was cold and overcast, and I was torn between burrowing my head in the Washington Post sports page, and getting out the door to pound some more pavement. I listened to Jack, who wanted me to pound the pavement.
“Inactivity is the killer,” was the mantra of LaLanne, who died last week at age 96. Jack had a sense of humor about the Grim Reaper’s eventual arrival, saying “I can’t die, it would ruin my image.” For LaLanne, though, the sedentary lifestyle was a slow death. He believed age was not a barrier, and you could exercise with gusto in your 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s. LaLanne continued with his two-hour workouts into his 90s, and he celebrated his 95th birthday with the release of a new book, Live Young Forever.
Like Will Munny says in the award-winning 1992 movie Unforgiven, “we all got it coming, kid.” We can’t cheat death – but I think we can stave it off and improve our moods and mind-sets if we start moving and exercising a bit. It’s right at the top of Jack LaLanne’s 10-point self-improvement plan.