Jack lalanne is often called the “godfather of Fitness” and has assisted millions in achieving better health through exercise and healthy decisions. Jack admits it was not always this way.
Jack LaLanne believes in daily, vigorous, systematic exercise and proper diet. “My top priority in life is my workout each day.” Jack LaLanne lives by what he says to others, and he has been doing it for over seventy-five years.
Jack Lalanne and his wife Elaine Lalanne
Having achieved such feats as doing 1,033 pushups in twenty-three minutes; swimming handcuffed from Alcatraz to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco…twice; maneuvering a paddleboard thirty miles for 9½ hours non-stop from Farallon Islands to the San Francisco shore throughout his youth; and, as recent as age sixty-six, towing ten boats in North Miami, Florida, filled with seventy-seven people for over a mile in less than one hour, this modern day superhero is promoting a new type of chiropractic clinic as he, himself, is, in fact, a chiropractor. This new model chiropractic clinic is targeting the baby boomers for continued health, by including exercise and strength training, in addition to chiropractic adjustments in a program called Stay Fit Seniors
Turning ninety-three in September 2007, Dr. LaLanne discusses some of the concepts surrounding Stay Fit Seniors in an exclusive interview with The American Chiropractor (TAC).
TAC: Dr. LaLanne, how did you become so interested in Physical Fitness in the first place?
LaLanne: A health lecture, Gray’s Anatomy, the YMCA and a Chiropractic Degree were the foundation of my seventy-seven year career in Physical Fitness. When I had to drop out of school for six months due to ill health at the age of fourteen, my mother took me to a health lecture that changed my life. There was one phrase I heard there that rang through my head and that was, “If you obey nature’s laws, you can be born again.”
After that, I bought Gray’s Anatomy and read it cover to cover, joined the local YMCA, and discovered a set of weights that were only being used by two older men. Lifting the weights, I began to develop exercises for different parts of the body and, before long, I had a gym in my backyard. Men who could not pass the physical for the police and fire departments heard about me—the young man who was putting muscle on everyone who came to him.
During that time, I had visions of becoming a medical doctor, but I wanted to help people before they got sick. So, in 1936, I opened the first modern health club in the United States in downtown Oakland, California, paying $45.00 a month rent. And, at night, I attended Oakland Chiropractic College and obtained a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. Many of my students were sent to me from MD’s, therefore, I was reluctant to put my chiropractic into practice, because, in those days, chiropractors and MD’s were not exchanging patients like they do today.
“Seniors are demonstrating decreased blood pressure and cholesterol levels while increasing muscle mass and more”
TAC: Tell us about the services and products Stay Fit Seniors offers chiropractors and how or why they are offered.
LaLanne: Stay Fit Seniors is a new innovative exercise program for those sixty years or older that combines exercise and chiropractic care. The program is offered at chiropractic offices throughout the country and is free to seniors who pay for chiropractic treatments. Two chiropractors out of New York, Dr. Roger Russo and Dr. Tony Lauro, came up with the concept and, when I heard about the idea, it was something I totally could endorse. The program is intended as a means for a healthy life style and consists of a seven station thirty-minute Hydraulic Circuit training routine which creates minimal stress on the joints. The first fifteen minutes of the routine is designed to improve flexibility and warm up muscles and the second fifteen minutes delivers muscle strengthening. The circuit training is free to patients of an attending chiropractor. More information is available at STAYFITSENIORS.COM.
TAC: Now, not many people ever knew that you are actually a chiropractor. Can you tell our readers about some of the ways that this type of education may have helped you?
LaLanne: The study of chiropractic helped me continue to learn about the workings of the muscles, bones and nerves of the body, which, in turn, helped me develop the leg extension machine and the weight selector pulley machines.
Swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf, for a second time, handcuffed, shackled and towing a 1,000-pound boat.
TAC: Did it ever hinder you in gaining access to circles of health care givers?
TAC: What kind of results are being seen with the exercise programs in conjunction with chiropractic?
LaLanne: Results are fantastic as long as the patient continues to exercise. As chiropractic corrects subluxations, these corrections are stabilized and strengthened through resistant training exercise. Seniors are demonstrating decreased blood pressure and cholesterol levels while increasing muscle mass and bone density. Seniors are experiencing a healthier attitude about living.
TAC: How intense is the screening of the senior citizens prior to placing them on an exercise program?
LaLanne: Seniors are asked, if they are under any medical restrictions, not to exercise; if there are no restrictions they are asked to perform movements similar to those used on the exercise equipment. During the exercise, they are prompted to check their pulse rates every seven minutes to ensure that they are performing the exercise safely.
TAC: What is the most common problem you see among chiropractors today?
LaLanne: I’d like to see them get more into proper nutrition.
TAC: What is the biggest problem or challenge you see in the chiropractic profession today?
LaLanne: Trying to tap into the 90 percent of the population that does not utilize chiropractic services. Almost half the new patients coming to Stay Fit Seniors have never been to a chiropractor before.
TAC: Can you think of one change that a chiropractor can do to significantly impact his/her practice’s growth immediately?
LaLanne: Use themselves as an example for their patients. In other words, they should be in as good a shape as they want their patients to be. Also, perhaps implement a nutritional program for their patients.
TAC: Do you have any recommended marketing strategies that chiropractors can do to attract new patients and to keep current patients?
LaLanne: Stay Fit Seniors Program, along with a new nutrition program.
TAC: Where do you see the future of chiropractic headed?
LaLanne: I see it continuing to improve. The happier chiropractic patients are, the more they will tell their friends and then more people will start using chiropractic services.
TAC: Any final words for our readers?
LaLanne: The medical professions today all agree that, if you’re sixty, seventy, eighty, or ninety, you can still build muscle through resistance exercises.