April 15th, 2011

Table of Contents:

One Terrific Role Model (Introduction to special issue)

Thanks, Jack! (In memorial)

Need Weed? (Exercise and marijuana)

Who’s Who in Senior Fitness (Jim Evans)

One Terrific Role Model

by American Senior Fitness Association

Today the American Senior Fitness Association (SFA) celebrates the career of an outstanding SFA author and longtime friend of SFA members: James Evans. We will begin with two timely articles from Jim and then wrap things up with his impressive professional profile.


Thanks, Jack!

by American Senior Fitness Association

Quoted by Jim Evans in a 1996 SFA article, Jack LaLanne encouraged seniors this way: “Challenge yourself. Swim against the clock and swim vigorously.” He added, “Exercise should be a daily habit. Just get up and do it!” In today’s issue of Experience! Jim Evans provides further insight into the man he knew. Also included are several photographs that Jack gave to Jim over the years.

DEAR JIM: I was saddened to learn about the passing of Jack LaLanne, but, frankly, I wasn’t surprised. I thought he should have died years ago performing some of those crazy stunts of his. I used to exercise to his TV show in the fifties — I’m 75 now — but I quit working out years ago because I thought he took exercise too seriously. After all, doesn’t it just prove that no matter what we do to take care of ourselves, we will all die eventually anyway? DOUBTING THOMAS

DOUBTING THOMAS: Wow! You certainly missed Jack’s message by a mile!

Jack had no illusions about living forever, even though he joked that “dying would ruin his image.” And he often said – very honestly – that he didn’t work out because he “liked it” but, rather, because it enhanced his quality of life as he grew older and allowed him to continue to do things that people half his age had long since give up because they were simply “too old.”

“People don’t die of old age,” he said. “They die of inactivity.”

I first met Jack LaLanne (www.jacklalanne.com/) on his birthday – September 26 – in 1968 at the grand opening of the European Health Spa in Dublin, Ohio. Of course, I had grown up with Jack, watching him on TV with my mother in the fifties, but it is something else when you get to meet a legend in person.

Several hundred people had gathered to see the new club but, more important, they wanted to meet the guest of honor – the “godfather of fitness.” Small in stature – he was only about 5’6” – Jack was “big” in personality with a terrific sense of humor. As he was about to speak to the crowd, a very large woman elbowed her way rudely to the front of the room to see the fitness icon in person. The crowd grumbled audibly but parted so that she could get by, curious about her purpose. Finally, face to face with Jack, she looked him up and down and appeared noticeably crestfallen.

“Why,” she said with disappointment, “you’re not any bigger than my husband.”

“That’s right,” replied Jack with a big grin. “The difference with me is that everything still works.”

The crowd erupted in laughter as he gave her a big hug.

I ran into Jack many times during my 44 years in the fitness industry, and he was always the same outgoing, friendly, fun-loving guy with a positive attitude about life. While many so-called fitness experts have had more academic credentials or titles than Jack, no one could sell the concept of physical fitness with more natural enthusiasm – more passion – than Jack. He made exercise fun.

“Better to wear out than rust out,” he said. He was right, you know. Why don’t you put away your cynicism and start doing something physical? I know Jack would approve.


Need Weed?

by American Senior Fitness Association

It’s a poorly kept secret that many senior citizens have both longstanding and ongoing experience in the use of marijuana. But did you know that physical exercise might curb the urge to partake? Jim Evans explains below.

DEAR JIM: I’ve been smoking “weed” most of my life – since I was about 20. I’m 73 now and I still smoke 3-4 joints a day. I’ve thought about quitting from time to time, but it helps me relax and it’s pretty much of a habit now anyway. As you can probably guess, I’m pretty laid back after all these years, but I have been experiencing an increasing number of panic attacks as I grow older. I know there isn’t any
way to treat my dependence with medication, and I really don’t want to quit anyway, but I’m wondering if some kind of physical activity might help me to cut back a little. POTHEAD FROM POMONA

DEAR POTHEAD: Until recently I couldn’t really say whether exercise might be a factor in curbing marijuana use or not. However, a recent study by Vanderbilt University Medical Center seems to indicate that exercise might actually curb both marijuana use and cravings.

The study, published earlier this year in the journal PLoS ONE , found that, after just a few sessions of running on treadmill, participants who were admittedly “cannabis-dependent” but did not want treatment to stop smoking pot, experienced a significant decrease in both cravings and daily use.

In fact, their craving for and use of cannabis was cut by more than 50 percent after exercising on a treadmill for 30-minute sessions over a two-week period. Researchers measured the amount of exercise needed for each individual to reach 60-70 percent of their maximum heart rate respectively, creating a personalized exercise treadmill program for each participant.

“This is 10 sessions but it actually went down after the first five. The maximum reduction was already there within the first week,” said co-author Peter Martin, M.D., director of the Vanderbilt Addiction Center.>

“There is no way currently to treat cannabis dependence with medication, so this is big considering the magnitude of the cannabis problem in the U.S. And this is the first time it has ever been demonstrated that exercise can reduce cannabis use in people who don’t want to stop.”

The importance of this study – and future studies – will only continue to grow with the new knowledge of the role of physical activity in health and disease, according to co-author Maciej (Mac) Buchowski, Ph.D, Research Professor of Medicine and director of the Vanderbilt Energy Balance Laboratory.

“It shows that exercise can really change the way the brain works and the way the brain responds to the world around us,” added Martin. “And this is vital to health and has implications for all of medicine.”

More research will need to be done to substantiate these findings, but it certainly sounds promising. In the meantime, you might start walking for 30 minutes a day – on a treadmill or otherwise – and gradually increase the pace and see what happens. You can do your own personal experiment to see if it helps you to cut back on your pot smoking. If not, at least you’ll be in better shape.


Who’s Who in Senior Fitness

by American Senior Fitness Association

SFA author Jim Evans is a 43-year veteran of the health and fitness industry and internationally recognized consultant specializing in fitness for seniors. For seven years he was host of the popular radio talk show "Forever Young" on San Diego’s KCBQ 1170 AM focusing on issues of health, fitness, and quality of life for older adults. He is a member of the Visionary Board for the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA), focusing exclusively on the health and wellness of adults 50 years and older. Association members include people working within senior housing and retirement communities, recreation, academia, government agencies, and fitness and rehabilitation centers.

For nine years Jim served as chairman of the advisory board for the San Diego Retired & Senior Volunteer Program overseeing the fundraising and volunteer activities of more than 2,700 older adults at more than 250 worksites in San Diego (California) County.

Jim has been published in dozens of magazines and newspapers over the years including Successful Retirement, 55 & Fine, Good Age, Economic Community, Living Better, Men’s Exercise, Motor Home, Under the Sun, Senior Life San Diego, Club and Resort Business, Exercise for Men Only, Iron Man, and many, many more. His editorials have appeared in the San Diego Business Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Des Moines Register, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and others. He is the author of "Senior Health & Fitness," a monthly column published in more than 750 markets across the country (since 1992) and is a popular and well-known speaker available for speaking engagements through World Class Speakers & Entertainers.

He was the owner and president of the Peninsula Athletic Club in San Diego, the largest health, fitness, and recreational complex in California – a 200,000 square foot facility on 546 acres serving more than 3,500 members and more than 250 schools and community groups. The facility hosted such historic events as the International BMW Dealers Convention and the San Diego Grand Prix and provided lodging and services for the 1999 Mexican Women’s soccer team during the World Cup and the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team. The club was sold in 2002 to Multi-Line Fitness International, an international chain of upscale health clubs in the U.S. and Canada. Jim currently works as vice president of sales and marketing for the SIM Corporation dba Bay Area Family Fitness in addition to his consulting and freelance writing.

A former world-class powerlifter and collegiate wrestler, Jim is a charter member of the ABCC Natural Bodybuilding Hall of Fame (1985) and was the sole inductee in the U.S. Natural Bodybuilding Hall of Fame in 2009. He was the founder of the North American Natural Bodybuilding Association (NANBA) — now NANBF — in 1984 and hosted the first World Natural Bodybuilding Federation (WNBF) pro natural competition — the Natural Universe – in 1990. He is an alumnus of The Ohio State University in Columbus where he majored in English and served as president of the Ohio State Weightlifting Club. He was a member of the varsity wrestling team at Ohio State on a full athletic grant-in-aid.

Jim and his wife Jacquie grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, and currently live in Dublin, California. They have four children and nine grandchildren.