Why To Exercise Today: Stay Strong And Die At 96 Like Jack LaLanne

Fitness guru Jack Lalanne, in his nineties in 2005
Fitness guru Jack Lalanne, in his nineties in 2005

Jack LaLanne has died of pneumonia at 96, but boy, did he live. A couple of excerpts from his inspiring and comical New York Times obituary today:

At 60 he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf handcuffed, shackled and towing a 1,000-pound boat. At 70, handcuffed and shackled again, he towed 70 boats, carrying a total of 70 people, a mile and a half through Long Beach Harbor.


Mr. LaLanne, 5-foot-6 and 150 pounds or so with a 30-inch waist, maintained that he disliked working out. He said he kept at it strictly to feel fit and stay healthy. He built two gyms and a pool at his home in Morro Bay, and began each day, into his 90s, with two hours of workouts: weight lifting followed by a swim against an artificial current or in place, tied to a belt.

And don't miss the perfect kicker at the end:

Mr. LaLanne promoted himself and his calling into his final years, often accompanied at events by his wife, a physical fitness convert but hardly a fanatic. He brimmed with optimism and restated a host of aphorisms for an active and fit life.
“I can’t die,” he most famously liked to say. “It would ruin my image.”

Not at all, Jack, not at all.

This program aired on January 24, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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Carey Goldberg Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.



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