Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Jack LaLanne

Jack LaLanne, the man credited with popularising fitness in America, died on Sunday aged 96. For decades he hosted a television workout show and opened America's first health clubs inspiring a generation of exercise enthusiasts.
If you've ever joined a gym, used a weight machine or owned an exercise video, then it's Jack LaLanne you should thank, or blame.
Jack  LaLanne Jack LaLanne hosted America's first national TV exercise show, alongside his wife.
His efforts to get Americans healthy and fit will live well beyond his 96 years.
Mr LaLanne, who died from respiratory failure due to pneumonia at his home in Morro Bay in California, was a fitness fanatic who encouraged millions of others to follow his lead.
Heavy weights He was a "pioneer" who brought health clubs and gyms to the masses, says Philip Haberstro from the National Association for Health and Fitness.
Jack LaLanne opened his first health studio in 1936 in Oakland, California. Up until then, says Mr Haberstro, gyms were the preserve of bodybuilders, weightlifters and the military.
Mr LaLanne placed an emphasis on using weights to work out, inventing the first leg extension machine, pulley machine using cables, and the first weight selectors - versions of which are still seen in modern day gyms and health clubs.
Writing on his website, LaLanne recalled the resistance he met from people at the time.
"The doctors were against me - they said that working out with weights would give people heart attacks and they would lose their sex drive. Women would look like men and even varsity coaches predicted that their athletes would get muscle bound and banned them from lifting weights."
The Motivator Despite the initial scepticism Jack LaLanne expanded the number of health clubs he ran, inviting women to them and encouraging the elderly and disabled to exercise.
By the 1990s there were more than 200 Jack LaLanne health clubs in the United States, which now operate under the name Bally Total Fitness.


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