"Life is an Olympic event that you need to train for" said the "Godfather of Fitness", Jack LaLanne. Mr. LaLanne is going to be 86 years old this year and he has been preaching the benefits of good nutrition and vigorous exercise for over 75 years of those years. When he started the first modern health club in 1936, he had many critics. Where are his critics now? Probably dead; yet Jack LaLanne keeps on going and going. He is a testament to the importance of health and fitness. This quote from Mr. LaLanne embraces a creed that we all need to live by. Evaluating each word can help bring his philosophy into focus and allow everyone to incorporate this belief into our own lives.
"Life"; life happens at faster and faster speeds. Just look at a simple day in the life of a mother: make breakfast, pack the lunches, start some laundry, get everyone dressed and out the door for school. And that is just the first hour. How many times did she go up and down the stairs? How many times did she pick something up off the floor? Lifting, bending, twisting and reaching are all activities that happen throughout the day in everyone's life. All of these activities require muscle strength, endurance, coordination, and balance. All of these physical abilities are perishable life skills.
Does "Life" qualify as an Olympic event? Why not? Some people's days are certainly as demanding or maybe more demanding as some of the actual Olympic events. Physical abilities are necessary in both life and the Olympics. Mental acuity and toughness brings home success. If people thought of their own participation in life as being similar to participation in a sport, then maybe we would all take fitness a little more seriously.
The "You" in Jack LaLanne's sentence means that there is a certain amount of personal responsibility here. "You" must think about your life as if it was your own Olympic event. "You" must think about yourself as an athlete in the game called "Life". "You" need to be responsible for how you feel and for maintaining your capabilities to perform in life. "You" are an Olympic athlete in your own life; therefore, "You" must take care of your health because no one else will.
What do Olympic athletes do all year? They train; they prepare for the event that will hopefully bring home a gold medal. Such stellar performances do not come without hard work and sacrifice. Downhill skiers will spend tremendous amounts of time building leg strength. Figure skaters will do a jump again and again until the skill is perfected. Preparation is not just about practice, preparation involves nutrition, relaxation, mindfulness, and planning. Training is what makes performances podium perfect.
"Life is an Olympic event that you need to train for." As we all watch the Olympics, these eleven words need to serve as a reminder that fitness is not just for athletes. Fitness is for everyone. Life requires a certain degree of mental and physical skills which do not come naturally and will dull with time without a certain amount of preparation by you.
Published On: February 17, 2010