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97-Year-Old “First Lady of Fitness,” Elaine LaLanne Says Keep Moving and Think Positive to Stay Young

97-Year-Old “First Lady of Fitness,” Elaine LaLanne Says Keep Moving and Think Positive to Stay Young

By The Sunday Paper Team
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Even before getting out of bed, 97-year-old Elaine LeLanne begins her morning exercises, which continues to the bathroom sink, and into her home gym. “Twenty minutes a day gets me on my way,” LeLanne told The New York Times.

In the mid-1940s, Elaine moved to San Francisco dreaming of a career in entertainment. She moved her way into television, she eventually became a producer and co-host of a live daily variety show. As a then 27-year-old divorced, single mother with a demanding job, Elaine “smoked cigarettes, ate candy bars for lunch and, like most Americans of the time, didn’t devote much thought to exercise and nutrition.”

Then in 1951, Jack LeLanne, a local body builder and gym owner, did push-ups throughout an entire 90-minute program while the hosts carried on as usual. Soon after meeting, Jack chided Elaine for smoking and eating a donut. Elaine responded by blowing smoke in his face. But eventually, not only did Elaine warm up to Jack, but also his beliefs about food and exercise.

With Elaine’s experience in television and Jack’s charisma, the two launched an entertainment empire that went on to include a TV show, dozens of fitness gadgets, supplements, as well as a gym chain with over 100 locations worldwide. Elaine managed the busines while Jack rose to fame, only occasionally stepping into the limelight as Jack’s co-host

(Michael Tyrone Delaney/NYT)

LaLanne told The New York Times that her life has been built on the importance of positive thinking. Like she would train her muscles, she trained her mind to look for silver linings almost by force of will.

For more advice from Elaine LaLanne on aging well and what she’s up to next (Hint: Mark Whalberg has singed on to play Jack on the big screen), check out her profile by Danielle Friedman for The New York Times here.

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