Friday, May 29, 2015

HOW TO LIVE YOUNG - THANK YOU, JACK LA LANNE!



“Good health and good intellect are the two greatest blessings in life. If you are born with health, as most of us are, you have hope. And if you have hope you have everything.” from the book
Live Young Forever by Jack LaLanne

I have a birthday coming up.  Whoop - dee- doo. A few years back, I hit the big 5 - 0 so now as I steep in Middle Agedom and  creep closer to  AARP senior benefits, my wish is to stay as youthful as I possibly can and not feel like an old bag!  

Yep! I want to think, act, look and feel young!  I want to look at myself in the mirror and say: “Wow! I look good...for someone over the hill.” Or “Not bad” - for an old lady.”

Or wait one minute...what did I just say?

My thoughts said that I was “over the hill” and “an old lady”. Now... how am I going to act, feel, look and THINK young with thoughts like that?  

The sad truth is that I have a lot of company. Many people see aging as a CURSE!   And I know for a fact that  many women are scared to death of growing old and  getting wrinkly, feeble, fat, bent over, shriveled up, useless, sickly and unattractive. Our society glorifies youth!  Let’s face it, anti-aging cosmetics and procedures  are a booming business.  Men and women spend a lot of money trying to turn back the clock.  But if negative thoughts of aging are still at the back of everyone’s mind over 50 (realistically over 40!), then any work done “on the outside” is only a temporary fix.

I  truly believe that there is a silent epidemic of undiagnosed depression among Baby Boomers and seniors.  Does that surprise you?   

The question I have is how can we change this? How can we change negative thought patterns about aging? Is it possible to tap into the fountain of youth and age with dignity, good health, vitality and joy? Is it possible to view aging as a BLESSING?

I found my answer in the book Live Young Forever written by  iconic fitness guru, Jack La Lanne when he was 95 years old.

Jack LaLanne, now that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time( to quote Obi-Wan) had a popular exercise and fitness TV show, The Jack LaLanne Show, that ran between 1953 and 1985.(As a kid, I remember standing in front of our big black and white TV and doing “jumping jacks”  with Jack! )

Jack, known as “The Godfather of Fitness” was also considered a crackpot!  He was crazy about staying fit! He would preach with this over the top  evangelical enthusiasm, the importance of  exercise, good nutrition, staying in shape and to top it all off, wore this tight knit jumpsuit that well,  ok - looked ridiculous.  But  remember, this was back in the 60’s.  We  knew very little about nutrition and staying fit. (And thanks to  Elvis, male jumpsuits became a little more in vogue! ;))


When Jack opened up his first modern gym in 1936, doctors were completely against him… “They said working out with weights would give people heart attacks, they would lose their sex drive and women would look like men.”

But the truth is that Jack was way ahead of his time.  Jack looked great and was in great shape well into his nineties.  He had tons of energy, was very healthy, loved what he did, was exuberantly happy,  and wound up living a long life. Hey, wait, maybe Jack was onto something…(Watch this vintage video - Jack was a great motivational speaker.)



In his book, Live Young Forever, Jack La Lanne shares  his philosophies and a  lifestyle course for “optimum health, fitness and longevity” in 12 steps. Jack “fervently believes that every human being can attain maximum health and fitness”. This is my philosophy too.  Here are the 12 steps to a healthier and better you, with love from Jack:

STEP 1: MOTIVATION - You were born with the greatest gift of all: physical health. So why are you continuing to let it get away? This is the time to answer the question: Are you going to continue as you have, clogging your arteries, and adding layers of fat to every part of your body, risking ill health, aches and pains and an early grave? Or are you going to devote the rest of your life to being fit, feeling eternally great and eating only healthy nutrition that will not only keep you tight and lean but will stand you in a good stead to live for longer than the average person?

To get and stay motivated: Check yourself out in the mirror; relax and get mad. Read books and magazines that have inspiring photos and articles. Develop a positive attitude and visualize how amazing you are going to be!  Recognize that willpower has to be nurtured. You have the ability to rev up your engine of commitment and never give up!

STEP 2: STEP AWAY FROM KILLER HABITS AND REDUCE STRESS - Do everything that is healthy for you mind and body. No junk food, excessive prescription drugs,  recreational drugs,or cigarettes, and very limited alcohol. Work out at least three days a week. Learn to completely relax at different times during the day. Don’t chase massive wealth or actively seek happiness through possessions. Happiness comes from within.  If someone cuts you off on the highway, or a friend, coworker or family member gives you a scowl or shows aggression, ignore it. Let no one, and I mean no one, ruin your day.

STEP 3: HAVING GOOD HABITS: Eat organic, natural foods when possible Strive to reduce junk-food intake to zero. No tanning beds. No smoking. Wash your skin thoroughly on a daily basis. Natural cotton products are superior to those containing polyester. Turn that frown into a smile, now.

STEP 4: EATING CLEAN:  You are what you eat. What you eat today will be walking and talking tomorrow. Food is what we use to build and repair our body tissue. The quality of blood, brain and muscles will be in direct relation to the quality of the food you eat. Choose fresh foods instead of canned as much as possible. Try to purchase only organically raised meats and fish.

STEP 5: MAINTAIN PERFECT POSTURE:  Always sit and stand with your back straight. A strong erect posture expresses to the world at large strength of will, alertness, poise and joy of living. Good posture is needed for proper balance and a prerequisite for a healthy body.  Correct posture helps control stress.

STEP 6: STAY  WELL HYDRATED -  Drink  natural mineral or spring water whenever possible. Filter your tap water. Limit the amount of caffeinated drinks you consume.

STEP 7: STRETCHING - Stretching warms up your muscles, increases flexibility and balance, improves circulation, strengthens tendons, ligaments and muscles, increases coordination and agility and makes you feel confident in the knowledge that you are supple, lithe and limber.

STEP 8: FIND SOME ENERGY:  Fatigue is a growing hazard in America. Countless thousands of North Americans visit their doctors every day with western society’s most common malady - chronic tiredness. Why does the zest go out of our lives? The causes of fatigue are legion, ranging from actual lack of sleep to an under active thyroid to a bad relationship with a fellow colleague at work. Here are other reasons for fatigue: Strong negative emotions, like anger and fear,  depression, eyestrain, shopping, too much sleep, financial worries, loneliness, overwork at the office and dehydration.

STEP 9: BE IN A STEADY RELATIONSHIP - A good relationship cannot be beat. Find the right partner in life. Be loyal and work together as a team. Resist the temptation to let that relationship fall into the trap of resentment, jealousy, envy and bitterness. Be kind to one another. I believe that when two people get together in love and seek a common goal, anything is possible. choose your mate wisely and live in a strong, productive and rewarding relationship.

STEP 10: WORK OUT -  Exercise could almost be called nature’s cure-all. It’s amazing in its powers. Exercise helps you  increase your energy, it cleans out your arteries, improves your posture,  increases your mobility, adds muscle and tone, improves strength, builds confidence, burns fat, strengthens bones, hypes your metabolism, augments your flexibility, strengthens your immune system, and shapes your body like nothing else in the world.

STEP 11: NEVER RETIRE: Statistics indicate that most men who retire die within five years of retiring. If it is necessary for you to retire, get another less demanding job, or a challenging hobby. We must all have an active interest in life. Stagnating on the couch watching game shows on TV is not the way to go. The only profession I know where people don’t retire is acting. It’s true that actors don’t retire; they just get offered fewer roles. lol!

STEP 12: CONSUME PLENTY OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES:  Juicing has been a part of my life since my late teens. Before I started juicing, I was a sugarholic. My love affair with ice cream and sodas actually made me sick. I got boils and pimples and the sugar destroyed the B vitamins and affected my brain, making me both hot-tempered and confused. I got so sick that I dropped out of school for six months.

Your body has some 80 trillion cells that are alive, and in my opinion if you put foodless, dead, processed, chemical-filled foods into your body you are not going to be properly nourished. Put raw and vital foods into your body and you will feel alive and energetic.

                                
“Feeling alive and energetic” is Jack’s mantra throughout his book. Feeling alive and energetic is what it is all about!   I never thought I would ever say this but Jack La Lanne has inspired me to live and think young! My wish is to have a wonderful zest for life, be physically fit, mentally sound and healthy when I reach my golden years!  Well, who wouldn’t? Thinking  happy healthy thoughts, eating healthy food, exercising, feeling blessed, and being grateful is a great way to live.  And as the years add on...so what? If you think younger, you will look younger. If you think healthy thoughts, you will feel healthy. If you think you are amazing...then you will be amazing!

I am learning to live young. I am striving to be the best that I can be.I am learning to feel alive and energetic each and every day!  And if I can do it - then you can too!  And this is my wish for you! ( Here is Jack - at 88!)


“The most important person in the world is you. You came into this life alone and you’re going to leave it alone. But in between, make the rest of your life...the best of your life.” Jack La Lanne