His amazing stunts, such as swimming the length of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge underwater at age 40 and towing 70 boats with 70 people in them against strong winds and powerful currents at age 70-while handcuffed and shackled-were attention-getting, but it was LaLanne's everyday commitment to eating right and exercising that enabled him to do them. His 94 years of working at fitness and healthy living were the real story. LaLanne is great at what he does in those moments of phenomenal strength because of what he has done every day throughout his life-maintaining a consistent routine of building health and fitness.
I believe LaLanne's flashy moments of glory were the result of more than just wanting to be great. He wanted to make an impact on people with his message of eating right and staying in shape. His ability to perform great physical feats demonstrated the truth of his message to a country full of McDonald's-eating Americans that needed a bigger reason to give up junk food and start moving than "You really ought to do this." In essence, LaLanne is a fitness evangelist whose real purpose is to reach the people so that he can benefit them.
I have been tremendously inspired by Cornel West's (2008) oft-quoted remark, "You can't serve the people if you don't love the people." Like West, I want to serve people because I love them and care about them. Like LaLanne, I have a desire to change people's lives in the area of health