Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

UH Law Professor makes time to exercise – Casey Leigh

Casey Leigh

No matter how busy you think you are you must always find time to exercise.

Instead of making excuses why you can’t, you need to look around at other people who are busy, that can.

Casey Leigh, formally Jarman, serves as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and is a Law Professor at the University of Hawaii, Manoa.

Recently, on a flight from Honolulu to Hilo, I sat next to Professor Leigh and struck up a conversation.

Leigh, who was married on September 13, 2010, served as the County Clerk for the Hawai’i Island County Council under then Council Chair Pete Hoffman before returning to the UH William H. Richardson School of Law to resume her tenure.

 “I commute twice a month rather than weekly because of the cost, obligations to the law school and because I do not like flying,” Leigh said.

A resident of Volcano, here on the Big Island, Leigh has been a regular member on the health and fitness scene for a number of years and can often be seen riding her bicycle around the Village area on weekends.

Leigh took a leave of absence from December 2006 to December 2008, when her term as County Clerk expired; Leigh went back to teaching on Oahu and is also responsible for administering the academic programs at the Law School.

Leigh grew up in a small town of Olean, located in the foothills of the Allegany Mountains in New York during a period when girls were not provided the opportunities of competitive sports programs.

“We had an excellent physical educations program, known as gym class, where we were exposed to a variety of sports such as softball, volleyball, basketball and track,” she said. 

Organized sports for girls back then were few and far between and Leigh noted that even basketball was restricted to half court for the girls.

“The only competitive sport that I participated in was during my junior high school years when I had the opportunity to swim for the local YMCA,” Leigh said.

As an adult Leigh became actively involved with the Louisiana Sierra Club and participated in the regular hikes while getting involved in some of the political issues involving coastal management.

“The Sierra Club was my stepping stone into a regular fitness program through the many hikes that we took,” she said.  “As a result it provided me with the bases of good health that has served me well throughout my life.”

In 1987 Leigh became a law professor at UH-Manoa where she is credited with founding their nationally recognized Environmental Law Program.

This busy woman whether home on the Big Island or at work on Oahu has found the time to stay active and continues to remain fit.

“My primary forms of exercise right now are walking and biking,” Leigh said.  “I found that running was bothering my knees, so I switched to walking this year.”

Leigh will walk after work in and around the Kapiolani Park area of Waikiki and on weekends will bike in the Volcano area when at home or around Kapiolani Park, Diamond Head and Kahala when on Oahu.

“In addition to the well-known health benefits associated with exercise, I just feel better and can accomplish more when I work out regularly,” Leigh said.  “Exercise permits me to keep some sweets and French fries (in moderation) in my diet without gaining those extra pounds.”

Leigh believes in consuming all things in moderation and tends to eat more at breakfast and lunch while eating light for an evening meal.

Leigh is one of the fortunate people who have enjoyed the benefits of good health her entire life which is partially the result of genetics and being physically active.

This 61 year young, busy professional will also do some simple things to ensure that she gains more fitness time by taking the stairs rather than the elevator and she will park farther away from stores so that she can get in more walking.

“I want to keep some form of exercise as an important part of my life,” Leigh said.  “I want the exercise to be fun rather than a chore that I have to do.”

Leigh will usually have a goal in mind, such as walking a half marathon or training and competing in a sprint triathlon, which she did two years ago.

“As I get older I want to take better care of my joints, so running is a thing of the past with me, that is why I set my 2011 goal of walking a half marathon (13.1 miles),” she said.

Fun, for Casey Leigh, in exercise seems to be the key component in her sticking with something her entire life.  She will look for new and exciting ways to keep it fun, buy changing the area in which she walks or bikes, while challenging herself rather than others.

Casey Jarman Leigh serves as a good role model for all the busy people who make the time to exercise regularly in our community as this law professional does not look for excuses to interfere with what is important in her life.

I’m sure Leigh would agree that Thomas Jefferson had it right when he wrote:  “Walking is the best possible exercise.  Habituate yourself to walk very far.”

And someday should you happen to see a walking, jogging habitual exercise senior out in your neighborhood remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

Email the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com.


April 19, 2011 Posted by | Profiles | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment