Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog


Yokoyama staying healthy & fit during retirement

Yokoyama staying healthy & fit during retirement

Girls today have a lot to be thankful for in our Title IX program where they are not only encouraged to participate in sports, but are given an equal footing gaining recognition and scholarships.
Most mature women today will tell you that things were a lot different for them when they were growing up.
“When we were young, hardly any girls played sports,” Netlie Yokoyama said. “It wasn’t until I went to college that I got exposed to a variety of sports.”
Yokoyama was lucky because as an education major in college she was required to take four activity physical education courses as part of the curriculum.
“I took tennis, bowling, badminton and dancing, and I really loved it!” Yokoyama said.
Yokoyama went on to teach her first ten years at Hilo High, then twenty-four more years at Waiakea High School where she retired in 2002.
“I was a science teacher for more than half my career and spent the last 15 years as Waiakea’s Student Activities Coordinator, which I loved,” she said.
Along the way Yokoyama found time to raise two daughters, Jill and Kim, and a son, Don. “I would follow my three children along in their sporting activities, the girls in tennis and my son in baseball,” Yokoyama said.
“I had absolutely no time to exercise when working afternoons, weekends, just so busy. I started to play a little bit of tennis just as my last child was graduating from high school, but not much until I retired,” she said.
Now, six years after her retirement, this 62 year old has improved her lifestyle by maintaining a regular physical exercise routine coupled with improved eating habits.
“I get up early and walk for about an hour everyday as I look forward to it. I even walk when I travel,” she said. “I also play tennis two to three times per week, sometimes even four. Tennis is not only exercise but great fun and fellowship,” Yokoyama said.
Her tennis has evolved into playing in four different leagues throughout the year, adult women, mixed-doubles, seniors (over 50) and super seniors (over 60).
And for the past seven years Yokoyama has discovered the value of eating healthy along with a regular exercise routine.
“I’ve always battled with a weight problem, ever since I was young,” she said. “I tried many fad diets, but they never seemed to work. Somehow I knew that the fad diets wouldn’t work, as whatever I would lose I’d gain it back and more.”
Then Yokoyama listened to Oprah one day and began to take her advice. “It was something Oprah said on her show soon after I retired that really got me going in the right direction,” Yokoyama said.
“Oprah talked about how we owe it to ourselves to live a healthy life. She said that we are often so busy doing things for others that we don’t make time for ourselves,” Yokoyama said.
Oprah’s advice really hit home with Yokoyama as most of her life was spent dedicated to family and school.
“It wasn’t easy learning to do for myself, but I did. Now I eat healthy and exercise regularly and I’ve been doing it for about seven years, and it feels great,” she said.
Yokoyama has lost between 15 and 20 pounds since retirement and would still like to lose another 10 pounds, but says that isn’t as important to her anymore.
What Yokoyama has learned in the past several years is now transferring to her family as she has become an advocate for healthy living.
“My granddaughter, who is in kindergarten, has a teacher who teaches her about healthy living and I try to re-enforce it at home and help her to be active and select healthy snacks. She already swims, plays tennis, soccer and basketball and enjoys being active,” Yokoyama said.
Yokoyama is also hoping that part of her healthy lifestyle rubs off on her husband. “My husband plays tennis, which is great,” she said. “But I’d love for him to join me on my walks and especially eat healthier.”
Yokoyama believes that her exercise and eating habits has helped her maintain great blood pressure and cholesterol numbers and believes that her husband could reduce his need for medications if he would eat healthier and exercise more.
“I’d like to travel with him for many years to come, and I know we’ll be able to continue only if we remain healthy,” she said. “I will continue to get up and walk everyday and play tennis as long as my body will allow me to, and I will eat healthy by eating cooked oats for breakfast, whole wheat bread, brown rice, lots of vegetables and healthy snacks.”
Netlie Yokoyama is well on her way to taking good care of her body through regular exercise and a diet rich in healthy foods.
“Life is precious! I do what I enjoy and it makes me happy with my family and dear friends.” she said.


March 30, 2009 Posted by | Former Waiakea High Teacher, Health and Fitness, Profiles, Retirement | , , | Leave a comment