Elaine LaLanne, the feisty and fit widow of the legendary Jack LaLanne who was known as the godfather of modern fitness, starts every day with 20 minutes of movement. The 97-year-old begins with lower abdominal work on her bed and incline pushups against the bathroom sink.
“You have to move,” she said. “If you don’t move, you become immoveable.”
After dressing and putting her makeup on, the first lady of modern fitness heads to the home gym her late husband built to walk uphill on a treadmill, perform lateral pull-downs on a machine that targets back muscles, and stretches her body daily by hanging from a pull-up bar, says Insider.
“Twenty minutes a day gets me on my way,” she told The New York Times. LaLanne continues to live the legacy left by hubby Jack who died in 2011 and literally pioneered the modern fitness movement, including hosting the first-ever television show devoted to diet and exercise, creating a gym chain with over 100 locations, designing the famous Jack LaLanne juicer, and creating supplements, as well as fitness equipment, still used today.
Along with her fitness plan, Elaine has a positive attitude and quick laugh, even when recovering from a fall or other obstacle in her path. She lives by her affirmations. “Everything starts in the mind,” she says. “You have to believe you can. It’s not a problem; it’s an experience.”
Science backs up her formula for healthy aging. A 2019 study found that “Optimism serves as a psychological resource that promotes health and longevity.” A wealth of research has found that exercise is a major factor in living a long life and has other benefits, such as promoting cardiovascular health and boosting mood. It’s also a prescription to preserve brain health.
Dr. Austin Perlmutter, an internal medicine physician and the co-author of the New York Times bestseller Brain Wash, with his father, neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, tells Newsmax that “physical exercise may be one of our best options for preserving brain health.”
He adds: “Research suggests that frequent exercise may help to reduce the risk for dementia and more generally preserve brain function as we age. Compared to being sedentary, getting exercise has been associated with a significantly larger hippocampus, the memory center of the brain.”
Elaine tells Newsmax that there are times she wishes she had her old physical prowess back but makes peace with what she has today and keeps working on her fitness each and every day.
“You can’t change things and sit there and feel sorry for yourself,” she says. “I’m blind in one eye and use a walker at times to make my way around the gym and there are times I do wish I had the sight back. But as Jack often said, you have to ‘fight the feeling.’ I don’t have time for a ‘pity party’, so I continue to move. Life is great when you’re in shape!”
Elaine has a new project on the horizon. She’s partnered with actor Mark Wahlberg to produce a documentary about her husband, the fitness pioneer Jack LaLanne.
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