Have you ever listened to the radio and wondered what the person looked like that was coming over the air waves?
For several years, as I listened to LAVA 105.3 or KKOA 107.7 fm, I heard the voice of this high energy person on Sunday mornings ask some thought provoking questions on a show called Island Issues.
She would interview people like CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and a Nobel Prize winner Dr. Susan Solomon, along with our last three Governors and many, many more high profile community leaders.
Her name, of course, is Sherry Bracken and I was able to put a face to the name when I attended a Big Island Press Club function.
Bracken, a news reporter for Mahalo Broadcasting here on Hawaii Island and for the statewide Hawaii Public Radio, is as high energy on the radio as she is in real life; staying active and fit while enjoying the outdoors.
“The work is fun, I love it, but like anything with deadlines it can be a little hectic,” Bracken said. “But seriously, what a dream job, I am naturally curious and now somebody pays me to ask questions! How much better could it get?”
Bracken grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area where she rode her bike for fun and exercise.
“I grew up in Oakland and then as an adult lived around the Bay Area. During the week I rode my bike for grocery shopping and errands. On the weekends I rode for distance,” she said.
Bracken and her husband enjoyed biking so much that they chose to bike across Italy from Pizza to Venice, going over the 3,000 foot Apennine Mountains.
“But once we moved to Kona there were too many hills and too few safe bike paths or wide streets for recreational bikers like me,” Bracken said.
Bracken continues her regular fitness routine by playing tennis.
“I play tennis four times a week, regularly,” she said. “Tuesday afternoons I play mixed doubles with the same female partner whom I’ve been playing with for 15 years, Lisa Malapit.”
Malapit and Bracken believe that they keep wearing out their guy partners over the past several years, which account for their rapid turnover, according to Bracken.
Bracken’s love for tennis has her on the courts for two plus hours each time. “I admit I should do other things, but rarely do,” she said. “I try to walk once in a while and other than that I’m sort of a high energy kind of person so I walk fast, do things fast, park further from my destinations and take the stairs instead of the elevator.”
As for diet I asked Bracken if she watched what she ate?
“My husband would say yes, I watch and watch and watch,” Bracken said.
Because of her high energy Bracken usually has several small meals throughout the day.
“I think I digest my food quickly so I get hungry quickly,” she said. “Breakfast is always berries, shredded wheat, yogurt, chia seeds, wheat germ mixed together, plus a glass of water with a little orange juice in it.”
Bracken will also snack through the day which is usually soy beans, oranges, bananas, almonds along with bread or crackers and cheese.
“Other meals ideally are fish, greens, sometimes mushrooms and onions sautéed together, sometimes chicken,” she said.
Part of Bracken’s motivation to eat healthy comes from losing her mom to diabetes.
“Diabetes is a terrible disease,” Bracken said. “Though I have the genetic capability to have it, and have always had mildly high pre-diabetic blood sugar, I focus on eating right to keep from developing it, if I can.”
Bracken also has some good genes on her side as her father’s mother lived to be 98 and his aunt lived to age 104.
“If I’ve inherited that side of the family longevity, I want to be as healthy as I can for as long as I have to live,” Bracken said. “Living long is not my desire; having a good quality of life is my goal.”
But Bracken does have her weaknesses.
“I do love sweets; malasadas, ice cream, homemade cookies, sweet breads like banana bread are my weaknesses,” she said. “I will try to limit, or to combine a healthier food, such as ice cream with berries, but it doesn’t always work that way.”
Bracken also feels that tennis is the right sport for her.
“I have no motivation to work out so you won’t see me at the gym,” she said. “So tennis is perfect because other people depend on me and I know I have to show up.”
Tennis also feeds the many needs that Bracken encounters, besides the need to be physically fit.
“Tennis is a great sport, it is good exercise and it’s also a great socializing opportunity,” she said. “When I started playing tennis it was because I knew I needed exercise, but I didn’t want to go to the gym!”
I hope this column put more of an identity into that voice we listen to on the radio.
Sherry Bracken is an interesting person who plays senior tennis and belongs to several community groups which includes the Kona Outdoor Circle and the Aloha Performing Arts Company.
She is a great addition to our Big Island community.
And someday should you happen to see a senior jogger meandering through the back roads of East Hawaii, remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”
Music to Your Heart
They say music can soothe the soul, but did you know it may also improve your heart health? Research presented at the 2009 European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona, Spain suggests music therapy reduces blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety in patients with acute coronary syndrome – any of a collection of symptoms, such as chest pain, brought on by sudden reduced blood flow to the heart.
Even more significantly, the researchers found that music therapy was also effective at reducing the incidence of future heart-related events, including the big one: sudden death.
All of the patients in the study had heart issues serious enough to necessitate revascularization, a surgical procedure designed to restore blood flow where it has been compromised or limited. That meant they were at risk for a future coronary event not only because of their heart health status, but also because the fear of a potential repeat surgery likely increased their stress andanxiety, which is never good for the heart.
And what type of music did the patients listen to during the study? Classical music appeared to be the general preference, but the lead author of the study emphasizes that music therapy may actually have a negative effect if patients are forced to listen to music they don’t like, suggesting that the type of music (within reason) is not as important as whether you enjoy listening to it and how it affects your overall mood and stress levels.
So, whether you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, heart disease or a related heart condition, are at risk for any of the above, or just want to keep your cardiovascular system in the best shape possible (why wouldn’t you?), charge up your iPod and let your favorite tunes lead you down the road to a lifetime of health and wellness.
For the Big Dog it’s tuning into Lava 105.3 FM and the Big Morning Show with Uncle Danny, Eddie O. and IZ.
The morning show, with Uncle Danny, Eddie O and Iz will have the Big Dog on at 7 am this Monday to talk about the upcoming Veterans Day 5K and the Hilo Marathon.
If you’re near a radio log onto FM 105.3 and be a part of the discussion by calling in. And don’t forget to show at the
Veterans Day run, Nov 11, Coconut Island Parking area at 7:30 am to participate in the 5K run/walk. Bring a canned good for the Hawaii Island Food Basket.
Being a pretty ‘ol dog, I enjoy reminiscing about the good old days which includes the music of the 60’s and 70’s.
So naturally I would gravitate to the oldies channel when listening to the radio while travel back and forth to Hilo.
Catching an early morning radio show, geared to us who appreciate the legends of music, I listened to three personalities on the air waves who were providing their insight into the lighter parts of everyday life.
Israel (Gonzales), Eddie O (Ombac) and Uncle Danny (Jesser) provided me with some amusing antidotes which kept me smiling and toe tapping until I reached my destination.
The first time I heard Jesser on the radio it was a real surprise as I’ve known him primarily from racing with him and against him over the years.
Back in the early ‘90’s I had teamed up with Jesser to do the Hilo to Volcano Relay races, a 31-mile trek from Coconut Island in Hilo to Cooper Center in Volcano Village. Then, in our 40’s, we helped set the Master’s age division record for that race.
Jesser is originally from Manhattan Beach, California where he was exposed to a wide variety of sports at an early age.
“I attended lots of Laker, Dodger, L.A. Rams football games and as an adult I went to several L.A. Raider games,” Jesser said.
As a youth Jesser tried his hand at baseball, football, basketball, and even ran high school track and cross country. “My events in track were the 100, 440 and the mile,” he said.
In college, Long Beach State, Jesser’s focus moved onto music where he used his new found talent to write songs and play music.
Jesser knew many of the players from the National Hockey League’s L.A. Kings as they were regulars at a night club where he was a professional musician.
“I moved to Hawaii in ’87 to get away from the crowds and traffic of Los Angeles,” Jesser said. “I love the ocean, had always surfed, and grew up in beach towns, so naturally I was very drawn to the ocean and nature of Hawaii.”
Today, at age 57, Jesser continues to write songs professionally and he continues to exercise to stay healthy.
“I usually run three times a week and swim three times,” he said. “I try to surf whenever I find the time, probably once per week.”
Jesser also watches what he eats as he consumes lots of fruits and vegetables and he tries to stay away from fats, fast foods and too much sugar.
“Running is my exercise of passion. My favorite race has always been the Volcano Marathon and I’m very sorry to see it gone,” he said.
Jesser also ran in two Boston Marathons, the pinnacle of all marathon races in the world. “One of my two Boston Marathons was the Centennial Race and that one was truly special,” Jesser said.
When his children were little Jesser would push both of them in a jogger during Peaman events in Kailua-Kona and often times would win the race. At one time he held the record for a 3-mile race while pushing a baby jogger.
Today Jesser takes great joy in having his two kids beat him in races. “About a year ago, at the Hapuna and Kings swims, my kids beat me for the first time,” Jesser said. “Having them beat me was one of the greatest moments of my racing career. I’ve never been happier or prouder.”
Jesser continues his passions in life, staying active as a radio personality (Lava 105.3 FM), writing and playing music and exercising as he runs, swims and surfs.
“I exercise because I love it as it keeps me healthy and happy,” he said.
And for those just starting out in regular, physical exercise, Jesser offers the following advice:
“Take it slow until it becomes as big, important and enjoyable part of your day. Just make it FUN!”