Tips from 90 year old Hilo man on how to live healthy
“May I say at the outset that I have never been an athlete, but I have been an ardent admirer of good athletes and feel scant sympathy for those who have treated their bodies to drugs or booze,” Custis Green 90 year old who now lives in Hilo said.
Green moved to the Big Island from the Caribbean eleven years ago where meet his wife who was serving a 2.5 year term in the Peace Corps there.
“I have always appreciated the efforts and dedication for healthful living with the focus on running and walking,” he said.
Green learned at an early age the he wouldn’t do well at athletics when he tried out for the football and basketball teams when the school didn’t have a uniform size small enough that would fit him.
“I weighed 83 pounds when I entered high school three years later,” said Green. “So I volunteered to be a locker boy. My job was to make sure the guys on both teams had the proper equipment at the right time.”
Although Green became regulated to the bench he did follow the careers of the famous professional stars of the times like Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio. He would listen to the radio and read the newspaper in order to keep up with these athletes’ careers and others of our times, even today.
Green also had a musical talent and tried out for the marching band where he played the trumpet. This allowed him to watch the games and cheer for his favorite players on the field.
During World War II Green was a B-17 Bombardier flying out of England over Germany.
“On a bombing run the pilot of the lead plane in formation lost control in a bad hit slamming into our plane,” he said. “Out of the 19 men on the two planes three of us survived.”
Green became a prisoner of the Germans for 6 months and when he returned home to Colorado his father had hoped he would join him as a funeral director.
“I hated to disappoint him but I wanted to work with children,” Green said. Green got an MA in education and spent 35 years in Portland Oregon. He spent most of that time as a principal. It was during this time when he was playing volleyball with his staff that he slipped and fell injuring his back. The doctor advised him to change to swimming saying that he was not as young as he used to be.
“I hadn’t been swimming much since I earned my Boy Scout Merit badges in swimming way back when,” Green said.
“Okay, I’ll give swimming a try,” he said. “The first time I entered the pool I was hooked. I also swam for a purpose which was to raise money for a hospital. I strong armed friends and church members into donating money for every lap that I swam in the pool. This earned me a certificate thanking me for earning the most money for a hospital. I’m rather proud of that,” he said.
Of course Green has slowed down since his younger days but he has developed a routine in swimming three or four days a week at the local YMCA in Hilo.
“I swim at the Ululani YMCA three or four days a week at 7 am for 30 minutes and it goes like this,” Green said.
“For half the length I walk then I crawl with my head down in water; next I crawl with head up,” Green said.
Finally he will do the breast stroke with his head down. “I don’t turn my head to breathe,” he said. “Then shower and head home for breakfast where I read all the sports in the HTH then do the cross word puzzle (usually napping in the middle of it,” he said with a wide grin.
Green confess to eating three good meals a day, unless he has to make his own lunch which is usually a peanut butter sandwich.
“I have celiac disease which means I have to remain on gluten free foods, he said. “That leaves me eating mostly vegetables, fruits and meats. I munch on fruit slices of jelly candy in between meals and drink soda pop and tea.”
Green having to remain gluten free means no eating rye, wheat, barley and other grains.
Green consumes no coffee, no alcohol and very little water which this 90 year young person admits to a weakness unless the water is flavored.
“I sleep pretty well most of the time,” he admits.
Now I must say this 90 years young person is probably in better shape than I am and he has a better fitness routine.
And someday should you happen to see a senior crawling up Shower Drive in Hawaii Paradise Park remember to smile and say ‘woof’ and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog”
Email the Big Dog at firstname.lastname@example.org.