With his iconic jumpsuit and boundless energy, Jack LaLanne spent decades re-shaping America. Arriving at the dawn of the television age, LaLanne introduced fitness to the nation and propelled it to the forefront of popular culture.
LaLanne died Sunday at the age of 96. But his legacy continues in the whirring sounds of the equipment at the local fitness club.
“People didn’t talk about fitness before Jack LaLanne,” said Fitcorp CEO, founder and president Gary Klencheski. “He brought it into the living room. You never saw people jogging on the street. You didn’t see people biking. He made it OK to exercise. He was the guy to really promote it and get people to listen to him.”
Imploring Americans to “get up, work out and feel better,” The Jack LaLanne Show aired from 1951 to 1985, spawning the modern fitness age, with Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda later taking the baton.
“He was looked upon as the person who was instrumental to the whole industry of physical fitness,” Klencheski said. “He let people know it was hard work, but he tried to bring fun into fitness. He tried to motivate people who hated gym class growing up to go out and exercise.”