Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Start the New Year right by Making Healthy Resolutions for 2012

Howard Ainsley

Happy New Year and with it comes the promise and hopes of a new beginning.  My resolution for 2012 is to love more and judge less.

With a long term relationship and a devoted belief in the value of exercise, that portion of my life is well taken care of.  Most resolutions come at the beginning of each year in the area of health and fitness as many in our community wish to shed pounds in order to improve their mental and physical state of well being.

An hour a day will keep the doctor away!   Of course I substituted an hour for an apple because in this case if that hour is spent walking five times a week we can improve our health in a variety of ways.

A Harvard alumni study of 11,000 men showed that we can cut our risk of stroke by 50 percent if we simply made the time and effort to walk for a half hour, every other day.

Another 20 year study of female nurses showed a substantial reduction in the risk of heart disease for those that followed just a 30 minute a day regular walking program.

And yes, if you’re looking to lose weight get out and pace walk (a brisk walk) five days a week.

The value of walking regularly is quite long with benefits coming in the area of lower blood pressure and the reduction in Type 2 Diabetes.

Walking will improve our overall fitness level and can lower the amount of sick days we take from work. 

If all of us committed ourselves to a regular walking program we could lower the cost of health care insurance. As well as possibly put some prescription drug companies out of business or at least make a large dent in their enormous profit margin.

Of course walking is not the panacea for all that ails us, but it sure increases our odds of living a longer, healthier, and more productive life.

At the start of each year I see new faces in my neighborhood getting out and walking.  With the progression of a few weeks those faces disappear as the onset of the New Year enthusiasm disappears for a variety of reasons.

We must all understand that overall fitness is not a passing fad, but a lifelong marriage. 

If we are fully committed to that marriage it blossoms and the fruits of our discipline will pay off down the road with a loyal partner that has our well being as a top priority.

I asked two Big Island physicians along with the CEO of the Hilo Medical Center what their resolutions were for the upcoming year along with their hopes for their patients.

Howard Ainsley, Chief Executive Officer of the Hilo Medical Center pointed me in the direction of what the Greek physician Herophilus had to say on the subject,  “Wellness is fundamental to all we do and experience, when health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot become manifest, strength cannot be exerted, wealth is useless, and reason is powerless,” Herophilus said.

“In 2012, I renew my dedication to improving my own health and that of our community,” Ainsley said.  “Personally, I resolve to take full advantage of Hawaii County and enjoy more locally grown foods.  Cycling and swimming more often and regularly joining friends on the tennis court will bring a greater sense of wellness in the New Year.  Ainsley is enthusiastic about leading the East Hawaii hospitals into a new era that emphasizes keeping our ‘Ohana well’.

“This year, my goal is to bring our hospitals together with the State Departments of Health and Education, and the Hawaii Island Healthcare Alliance. So that when we enter 2012 we have an island wide process of wellness education, health screenings, and fitness, with the result of having a healthier population living in this island paradise,” Ainsley said.

Doc Green and kids

Kona’s Emergency Room doctor, Josh Green, had this to say:

“I am resolved to spend more quality time with my family, reading with my five year old daughter Maia and playing outside with my one year old son, Sam,” Doc Green said.  “For my patients I’d like to see us, myself included, get much more exercise and give up the worst foods like soda.”



Doc Morita

Hilo Internist, Doctor Aaron Morita had some ambitious goals.

 “In 2012 I wish to do better at following and also promote the Scout Oath and the Scout Law to everyone in our community including my patients.  The Scout Oath is as follows:  “On My Honor, I will do my Best to do my duty to God and my Country and to Obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”  The 12 points of the Scout Law:  “A Scout IS Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.”       These values instilled into each one of us on Planet Earth would create an ideal society and world peace with a whole lot less taxes!” Morita said.

 No matter what your resolutions for 2012, be sure to include regular physical exercise and a healthy diet to do your part in helping reduce the health care expense in this great country of ours.

 Wishing all of you the Healthiest and Happiest New Year and may we someday meet up on the roads doing a brisk walk around East Hawaii.

 And someday should you happen to see a happy, healthy walker in your neighborhood remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

January 2, 2012 Posted by | Health and Fitness | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Andy Levin still giving back to the Big Island

Hilo's Andy Levin

I’m always impressed with the numerous service and volunteers organizations that continue to give to our community.

   The Lions Club, the Elks, Key Club, Leo, the list goes on and on, hardworking people that find time to give service to those around us.

   So naturally, when I find someone who is healthy and fit and who is a role model of giving service to our community it makes perfect sense to feature them in one of my columns.

   Andy Levin has lived in Hawaii since 1969 and ever since then he has been helping others within our community.

  Levin was born and raised in New York City where he grew up playing baseball and football in high school.  “I played lightweight football in college,” Levin said.  “It was full contact football, but you had to weigh less than 154 pounds.”

  In baseball Levin’s high school team won the New York City Championships and the young Levin had dreams of playing center field for the Yankees.  “I broke my collarbone running into a wall chasing a fly ball and that ended that dream,” he said.

  Following high school Levin went onto college where he got his law degree and a chance to come to Hawaii.  “I knew I wanted to work in Legal Aid,” he said.  “I applied for a national fellowship, got it, and asked to be sent to Hawaii.”

   Levin came to our beautiful state more than 40 years ago with a one-year contract and never left.  While in Hilo he played a little baseball for Jimmy Correa’s Eagles, “I played briefly and badly,” he said.

   As most of you know Levin went on to politics and served two years on the County Council, eight years in the State House, 12 years in the State Senate, and another eight years as Executive Director to Mayor Harry Kim.

   Not content to work only one full time job, in those early years, Levin worked part time loading bags for Aloha Airlines while he worked full time for Legal Aid. “It was a great job (Aloha Airlines) and I only gave it up when I got elected to the Council and did not have enough time to do three jobs,” Levin said.   

   At another point in his life Levin was a part-time assistant professor at the University of Hawaii-Hilo and the community college.

   It wasn’t until 1980 that Levin discovered multi benefits of running.  “I started running because of Connie Chun, who was famous as the matriarch of the Hunky Bunch,” Levin said.  “Connie and I were elected to the House in the same year and she gave me the Jack Scaff book which had a title something like ‘Your first Marathon’.”

   Dr. Jack Scaff helped start the Honolulu Marathon in 1973 and in 1974 began the Honolulu Marathon Clinic.  Scaff is considered a pioneer in the field of marathon running and in 2003 he was inducted into the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame.

   Chun and her family ran multiple Honolulu Marathons and several of her children went on to become physicians and continue to run today.  Her daughter June won the first Honolulu Marathon while attending Roosevelt High School at age 14.

   So naturally Levin was initially lured into running by the best and most influential runners of the day.

   “Motivation was the challenge for me in trying to do my first marathon (26.2-miles),” Levin said.  “The question was could I do it?”

   During this same period Levin had also taken up tennis and was frustrated each time he was rained out.  “Running could be any time of day in any weather,” Levin said. 

   Levin went on to complete 10 marathons in Honolulu, Hilo, Kona and Maui and his best time is an amazing 2 hours, 48 minutes and 56 seconds.

   Thirty years later Levin can still be found jogging along the roadways of East Hawaii.  “I continue now because I’m hooked,” he said.  “I want to stay in shape and I believe that running is good for both my mental and physical health.”

   At age 63 Levin rotates his days of running with pushups and sits ups, going out for a run three to four times per week.  With the cool mornings in Volcano Levin will reserve his runs for the afternoons.

   “I’ve never liked running in the morning and rarely go out in the rain unless I’ve missed several days in a row,” he said.  “On nice afternoons, running in Volcano is a pleasure, and often I’ll run in Hilo if I’m in town for something else.

  Today Andy Levin considers himself retired, but continues his volunteer service to the community as he serves on several boards.  “I sit on the State Board of Legal aid Society; a non-profit involved in workforce development (HIWEDO); and the Hawaii Island Healthcare Alliance,” he said.

   Levin is also active as a Red Cross volunteer where he has gone to Louisiana for Hurricane Ike and to American Samoa for last year’s tsunami/earthquake.

  Andy Levin serves as a great role model in the amount of service he gives to our community and as a person that continues to make time to stay healthy and fit through regular physical exercise.

July 5, 2010 Posted by | Profiles | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments