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Video: Jack La Lanne still going strong

updated 9/29/2004 9:20:45 AM ET 2004-09-29T13:20:45

The name Jack La Lanne has become synonymous with all things exercise. As he turns 90-years-young this week, he continues to be a fitness phenomenon. The “Today” show’s Ann Curry talked with La Lanne about celebrating this milestone. Here’s a brief history of his life to this point.

For 75 years, Jack La Lanne has been inspiring men and women to exercise and eat right, earning him the title, "the godfather of fitness."

In 1936, at the age of 21, La Lanne opened the first modern health studio in Oakland, Calif., at a time when doctors said working out with weights would not only give people heart attacks but that they'd lose their sex drive.

La Lanne also developed the first models of basic health equipment found in health clubs today — including a leg-extension machine, a pulley machine using cables, and weight selectors.

And starting in 1951, Jack La Lanne used television to spread his message of "Get Up, Work Out, and Feel Better" to millions of viewers — spanning 34 years. And if that wasn't enough, Jack La Lanne likes swimming the hard way.

At age 41 he successfully swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco — handcuffed!

At age 60 and 65 he did it again. And at age 70, he pulled 70 boats with 70 people in them, while again being shackled and handcuffed.

So what does America’s No. 1 fitness expert have on his agenda as he celebrates his 90th birthday this week?

Whatever it is, he continues to live by his motto, "I can't die, it would ruin my image!"

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints


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