Get Fit Hawai'i: Excess Weight Can Be Controlled

by Tandis Bishop

Since 1990 Hawai'i has seen huge increases in the proportion of people who are overweight or obese. Between 1990 and 2003 Hawai'i's rate of overweight people increased 19 percent, and the rate of obesity has doubled. In 2005, 33 percent of adults were overweight, and 20 percent were obese. That means over half of the people in Hawai'i are either overweight or obese.

So what can you do to prevent obesity or lose weight if you are one of those people who struggle with weight problems?

The first thing you need to realize is that to lose fat (and keep it off) takes time and ultimately requires a change of lifestyle. You’ll need to work on developing good eating habits and regularly engage in some sort of physical activity. The key is to make this lifestyle change both gradual and enjoyable. In the beginning, don’t worry too much about what habits or foods you need to give up. Rather, focus on what healthy foods and activities you can add to your life. When you start eating healthier and engaging in more physical activity, you’ll begin to feel better, you’ll have more energy, and your desire for unhealthy foods or habits will gradually fall away.

Quick Fixes Don’t Work

Trying to change your diet drastically overnight or adding strenuous physical activity too quickly is not a good idea. Not only can it be physically unhealthy, but chances are it will be such an unpleasant experience for you, that you won’t be able to stick to it. The key is to make realistic goals and expectations and to be patient and determined. It may have taken you 20 years to put on an extra 50 pounds, so it is going to take some time to shed that unwanted weight. A 10-day fad diet isn’t going to do it. You may be able to lose some weight quickly, but in many cases, it will just come right back.

Finding the Right Balance

To begin losing weight, you will initially have to burn more calories than you eat. Later on, when you have achieved a healthful weight, you just need to try to maintain your weight by eating the same amount of calories as you burn off. It doesn’t take a math degree to figure this out, just use common sense. You simply need to eat smaller, more frequent meals, rather than giant, excessively large portions.

And Don’t Forget to be Active

Exercise is one of the most important things when it comes to preventing weight gain or losing weight. It’s simple. If you eat more calories than you burn off, then what you didn’t burn off will usually convert to fat. So the key is to EXERCISE. Do whatever it takes to move your body and sweat a little bit. Go for walks, swim, run around with your kids, have fun, and just stay active!

The following are some helpful tips on what foods you should add to your diet, and what foods you should try to cut back on: Things to eat more of:

  • Fresh veggies (a wide variety of colors, including dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, romaine lettuce, chard, etc.)
  • Fresh fruits (a wide variety)
  • Whole grains (whole wheat breads, whole wheat pastas, brown rice, etc.)
  • Plant proteins (like tofu, beans, lentils, seeds, nuts, and nut butters)
  • WATER (very important to healthy weight loss because it helps flush excess out of your system and also helps your body function properly)

Things to cut back on (and eventually eliminate from your diet if possible):

  • Sugar (including foods that contain table sugar, fructose, or corn syrup, like sodas, cakes, desserts, and the like. It is important to read labels because even breads and crackers may contain sugar.)
  • Meat (including beef, pork, spam, chicken, eggs, and fish. This can be hard, so the best is to initially try to avoid red meat and then eventually try to reduce intake of the others.)
  • Refined carbohydrates (white flour, enriched flour, fortified flours, white pasta, etc.)
  • Processed foods (like spam, chips, basically all pre-packaged, manufactured foods that contain lots of preservatives and additives – i.e. big words in the ingredients list that you can’t pronounce.)

Gearing up to Stay Cool

by Tracy Rohland

Summer is here. That means long days at the beach, hikes in the mountains, family get-togethers, outdoor parties and plenty of fun and sun. Unfortunately, summertime can also mean sunburn, dehydration, and heatstroke if you are not careful. But with a little forethought and planning before you head outdoors, you can avoid some of these common mishaps and make the most of your summer.

In hot weather, our bodies work extra hard to stay cool. Sweating is the body's way of cooling the skin. However, in humid weather, as is common in Hawaii, the surrounding air is already too saturated to evaporate your sweat efficiently. The heart must compensate by pumping harder and getting blood to the skin to release heat. This explains why you can feel tired and wiped out after a day at the beach.

One big danger from being out in the heat is the body's loss of electrolytes. Electrolytes are electrically charged ions that keep your nervous system working and your muscles contracting properly, including your heart. The primary electrolytes we are concerned with are sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, and calcium. Sweat contains mostly sodium and water. Sodium holds water in the cells and stabilizes blood pressure.

As the sodium levels drop in the body, you begin to feel thirsty. Unfortunately, most people then try to re-hydrate by drinking plain water. This actually makes the situation worse as it dilutes the sodium level even more. Proper amounts of fluid in the body are necessary to maintain a cool body temperature, adequate blood pressure, and normal kidney and brain function.

The first and most common symptom of dehydration is called heat cramps. This generally occurs in people who have been exercising in heat and humidity. Due to electrolyte depletion, the person's muscles begin to contract in slow and painful spasms. Someone experiencing heat cramps should cool down, rest, and hydrate with an electrolyte drink.

A more serious case of dehydration is heat stroke, also known as heat exhaustion or heat collapse. This occurs to people who have lost an immense amount of fluid and electrolytes through sweat. Symptoms include excessive thirst, nausea, headache, fatigue, dizziness, numbness and tingling in extremities, dry eyes, nose and mouth and confusion. Heat stroke can lead to loss of consciousness and even death. The victim should lie flat on a cool place and ingest electrolyte fluids, intravenously in some cases.

Now that you know the dangers of heat stroke, it is important to find out how to prevent it. First of all, know how to properly hydrate. Plain water will not sufficiently hydrate the body after sweating in the hot sun. Electrolyte drinks like Recharge are better for bringing mineral levels back to normal, but it is also a good idea to add more salt to them; about ½ to 1 tsp. of salt per one liter of fluid. If you have a family or personal history of high blood pressure, consult your doctor for the best hydration techniques.

  • Always have a water bottle with you and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Drink before you feel thirsty because by the time thirst kicks in, your body has already lost too much water and salt.
  • Incorporate your exercise program into the morning hours before the sun is at its peak.
  • Ease into the hot weather. Gradually increase your exercise program each day so your body can get used to the heat. It takes about two to four weeks for your body to get acclimated.
  • Persons over the age of 65, those on heart or blood medication, and overweight people are most susceptible to heat stroke. If you fit into any of these categories, be especially aware of how hard you work your body. Take it easy in the summer heat and discuss new exercise programs with your doctor before undertaking them.
  • If you find you are exhibiting symptoms of overheating and dehydration, get to a cool or air-conditioned environment immediately, take a cool bath, or dip in the ocean or lake.

Another common danger of the sun is, of course, sunburn. Sunburn causes your skin to itch and peel, increases the appearance of aging, and can lead to skin cancer. Sunburn also inhibits your skins ability to sweat, thus increasing the risk of heat stroke. Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, is the fastest growing form of cancer in the United States . Fortunately it is also very preventable. Remember these tips when venturing outside for the day:

  • Wear sunscreen! Make sure it has a minimum SPF of 15, preferably with a quality blocker like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Reapply every 2 hours and every time you come out of the water.
  • Wear sun protective clothing like a wide-brimmed hat, lightweight long sleeve shirt and pants. You might want to check out clothing that is specifically designed with an SPF to guard against the suns rays.
  • Wear sunglasses that give 100 percent UV protection. Anything less than 100 percent can actually damage your eyes more than wearing nothing at all.
    Be especially conscientious of protecting children from the sun! Their fair skin can be easily damaged and sunburn increases their chances of skin cancer later in life.

How to Work a Few Extra Steps Into Your Day

by Angie Smith

Modern day conveniences have made it easier and more efficient for people to get here and there without having to exert much effort. From cars to elevators and escalators to moving walkways, technology has allowed people the opportunity to cover more ground while physically doing less. But in the world of physical health, less is not more.

According to Intenz Athletix, makers of the Intenz Athletix pedometer, which can count the number of steps a person takes, the average person logs in only around 3,000 steps to 5,000 steps each day. But they recommend each person regularly accumulate at least 10,000 steps per day to maintain good health.

The average person of modern day is trained to reach for the convenient and forgo the extra effort, but for those who are looking to lose weight and improve their health, here are some suggestions for how to make it easier to get back on track.

  • Park at the back of the parking lot. We are all in a hurry these days, but most of us can spare a few extra minutes to walk a greater distance to the store and back. The benefits you can gain are enormous and you will have the extra bonus of rarely having to fight for a parking space.
  • Take the stairs. When given the choice always choose to take the stairs as opposed to the elevator. And this also applies if you are at the mall – find out where the staircases are and choose those over the escalators.
  • Walk the airport. Unless you are disabled in some way, always choose to walk the long corridors of the airports and avoid the temptation to catch a ride or hop on one of the moving walkways.
  • Buy a pedometer. It is a useful tool to keep track of exactly how many steps you take on average per day and will give you a way to monitor your improvement.
  • Walk to get your mail. In the afternoon or evening when you go to check the mailbox, do not stop in your car as you pull into your driveway, but choose to park and walk to check it.

These are a simple suggestions for how to add more physical activity into your day. As you begin to look for more opportunities to increase the daily steps you take, you will find countless chances to increase your health and well being.

Having a Healthy Hawaiian Summer

by Michele McKay

Aloha! Summertime is here, and what could be more natural than enjoying the sunshine and fresh air of Hawai'i's beautiful mountains and beaches. Now that the days are long, we have more time to surf, hike, bike, swim. and relax!

Some popular O'ahu hikes include Manoa Falls and Diamond Head on the leeward side and Makapu'u Lighthouse on the windward side. Or consider a power walk (or even a leisurely stroll) around beautiful Kapiolani Park. If you are on Maui, take a stroll up Haleakala Crater. Check out Na Ala Hele's wonderfully organized statewide hiking trail information, and has complete listings of beaches, special places, and activities for all the Islands.

When you head out, don't forget the sunscreen, water, and sports drink/electrolyte mix! Sandwiches and fresh fruit make a good backpack lunch, and many types of trail mix and energy bars are available at Down to Earth.

Boost-up for Flu Season

Photo: Woman in Workout Gear Holding an Apple

by Tandis Bishop

A plant-based diet is the basis of a healthy, flu-fighting body. To give your immune system an extra boost as flu season arrives, consider the following tips:

  1. Make your diet rich in foods that increase the alkalinity of your body. If you are not familiar with alkalinity, the premise is that certain foods increase your body’s pH level (making it more alkaline) or decrease your pH level (making it more acidic). Bacteria and viruses thrive in an acidic environment, so it is important to maintain proper pH levels (slightly alkaline) in the body. You can raise your pH by increasing your intake of vegetables (especially green vegetables) and fruits. In addition, you should reduce your intake of meat, coffee, alcohol and soda beverages as they are all extremely acidic.
  2. Your diet should be rich in fruits and vegetables, not only to maintain proper pH levels, but also to load up on antioxidants. Berries, kiwi, and grapefruit are especially good sources of antioxidants. Artichoke hearts, spinach and eggplant, are good vegetable sources.1
  3. Take immune boosting supplements such as vitamin C, astragalus, probiotics, colostrum, medicinal mushrooms such as reishi, maitake, royal agaricus. Our friendly and knowledgeable Wellness Team is happy to help find the best supplements for you (including kids) to help maintain a healthy immune system. They can also suggest products to take when you think you’re fighting a cold or flu or even once you’ve got the flu, to help you recover faster.
  4. Exercise regularly! Any amount of exercise you can fit into your day is beneficial. It doesn't have to be intense; go walking along the beach, do yoga, ride a bike or swim. Get your blood flowing and get energy moving throughout your body. Sweating is beneficial as well because it helps release built up toxins from your body.
  5. Drink plenty of water. This is especially important during flu season. Keeping your body hydrated helps it perform all the basic functions of keeping you healthy and makes it easier to flush out viruses, bacteria, and other foreign invaders.
  6. Finally and maybe most importantly, get plenty of rest! A recent study from Carnegie Mellon University concluded that sleeping for under seven hours a night greatly raises the risk of catching a cold. Lack of sleep significantly weakens the immune system, putting a person at risk for colds and flu.2

Filling your life with healthy habits is the best way to stay healthy and strong and keep your immune system in tip-top condition!

  2. Cohen, S., Brissette, I., Skoner, P.D., Doyle, J.W. Social Integration and Health: The Case of the Common Cold. Carnegie Mellon University, JOSS. 2000. Vol.1. Available at

Staying Healthy for the Holidays

Photo: Woman Meditating on the Beach

by Tandis Bishop, Nutritionist

With the busyness that accompanies the Christmas season, it is easy to neglect your own health and well being. Between all the shopping, family gatherings, and rich foods, you may suddenly find yourself stressed-out, exhausted, and getting sick! It happens more often than you know. To avoid this predicament, consider keeping your health in check this month using these tips:

  1. Take time to de-stress… Stress from shopping, working, entertaining, and visiting family can become very overwhelming. It is especially important during these hectic weeks to make time for stress-relieving activities.
    • Yoga, Tai-chi and Chi-kung are great for releasing tension, focusing the mind and lowering blood pressure. You can take a class or get a video to follow. Even a simple 10-minute breathing exercise can do wonders for the nerves.
    • Sneaking away for a quiet walk can be very therapeutic, especially in the midst of a family gathering. If you have time for more intense exercise, go for it – sweating out toxins and working your muscles is beneficial and does wonders for releasing stress.
    • Take a soothing bath. Use essential oils like lavender, bergamot or lemon balm; put a few drops in the water or use an essential oil burner or diffuser.
    • Sip a cup of chamomile or another relaxing herbal tea in the evening.
    • Stop stress before it starts by pre-planning all your gift buying and shopping early so you are not stuck doing last minute shopping on the busiest days.
  2. Remember to rest… Lack of sleep is common this time of year due to hectic schedules, parties to attend and traveling. Sufficient sleep is essential to keeping your body healthy and your immune system strong. Take some good old-fashioned naps during the day to recharge. Even 20 minutes of rest can make a world of difference in both your energy levels and your immune system.
  3. Eat well… Most of us will naturally eat some of the rich holiday foods at Christmas parties and family get-togethers. For the most part however, try to eat a wholesome, all-vegetarian diet as much as possible, including vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, legumes, nuts and seeds and drink plenty of water between meals. This will also help your body cope with the burden of stress and lack of sleep.

Above all, be thankful for the many gifts you have and try to keep things in perspective. When you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, take the time needed to de-stress. Let this Christmas season be one of love and compassion to all, especially the innocent animals.

Vegetarian Athletes

Photo: People Running

by Tracy Rohland

It’s a commonly held belief that a vegetarian diet lacks protein and nutrients, that vegetarians are weak and skinny, and that a meat-based diet is a necessity if one wishes to become a successful athlete. This is of course, a complete misconception. In fact, a balanced vegetarian diet is the ideal means for achieving peak performance in any field. It provides all the necessary nutrients and offers a plethora of benefits such as low amounts of fat, high amounts of fiber, plenty of protein, as well as disease -fighting nutrients such as enzymes, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Following are just a few examples of the many professional athletes who have either adopted a vegetarian or vegan diet, or have been following one since birth. It’s easy to see that these gold-medal winners are thriving as vegetarians.

Bode Miller: USA Olympic Alpine Skier

Bode Miller “has captured the attention of the world with his incredible athletic balance and ability to produce jaw dropping performances on skis.” He has won five medals in the Winter Olympics, the most of any U.S. skier — two silvers (Giant Slalom and Combined) in Salt Lake City 2002, and a gold (Super Combined), a silver (Super G) and a bronze (Downhill) in Vancouver 2010.1 Raised in New Hampshire in a home with no electricity or running water, Miller was raised vegetarian. His family grew organic produce and he now owns an organic farm of his own in Hew Hampshire.2

Hannah Teter: USA Olympic Snowboarder

Hannah Teter’s accomplishments include winning the gold medal in Halfpipe at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy. She also won bronze at the 2005 FIS World Championships at Whistler, British Columbia, and has six World Cup victories in her career. In 2010 she won the silver medal in women's Halfpipe at the Vancouver Games.3 Huffington Post recently interviewed Teter. When asked if it was difficult being a vegetarian athlete, Teter responded, “I feel stronger than I’ve ever been, mentally, physically, and emotionally. My plant-based diet has opened up more doors to being an athlete. It’s a whole other level that I’m elevating to. I stopped eating animals about a year ago, and it’s a new life. I feel like a new person, a new athlete.”4

Carl Lewis, USA Olympic Track and Field Athlete

Carl Lewis’ career as a track and field athlete spanned from 1979-1996. In that time he won 10 Olympic medals including 9 gold, and 10 World Championship medals, of which 8 were gold.5 In 1990, Lewis began changing the way he ate until he eventually adopted a vegan diet. “I’ve found that a person does not need protein from meat to be a successful athlete. In fact, my best year of track competition was the first year I ate a vegan diet. Moreover, by continuing to eat a vegan diet, my weight is under control, I like the way I look. (I know that sounds vain, but all of us want to like the way we look.) I enjoy eating more, and I feel great.”6

Pat Neshek, Professional Baseball Player

Pat Neshek is a pitcher for the Minnesota Twins and has been a vegetarian since 2008. According to an article in ESPN, “Neshek had wondered how he'd get the kind of protein, iron, Omega-3 acids and other key nutrients he'd need to survive the long slog of a 162-game season -- let alone excel at his sport. By substituting items such as brown rice and beans, tofu spiced to taste like different meat dishes, and flaxseed oil and various legumes, he found that his body held up even better than expected”.7

Scott Jurek, Ultramarathon Runner

Scott Jurek was selected as UltraRunning Magazine's North American Male Ultrarunner of the Year in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2007, and placed second in 2006.8 In an ultramarathon, a typical race can cover 100 miles or more, often in scorching heat, blistering cold or at dizzying elevation. While training, Jurek consumes 6,000-8,000 calories a day – all on a vegan diet! When asked about what he eats, Jurek explains, "For breakfast it's a dense, caloric smoothie. Then you've got lots of fruits and almonds. People assume it's all carbs. But there's also fat -- avocados, rich monosaturated fats, almonds, olive oil. For protein you've got beans, lentils, combining whole grains, tofu and tempeh. Then for carbs: whole grains, breads, cereals, fruits and veggies, whole foods, unprocessed foods. There are three main meals, then lots of smaller snack foods and mini-meals throughout the day." Jurek’s reasons for going vegetarian echo the ideals of many moving toward a vegetarian diet: "For me, it's about optimizing health. It's about lifestyle and longevity. Then you think about what vegetarian diets can do for the mass population, in terms of lower consumption of resources. When you look at the numbers, it's pretty staggering." Jurek also offers advice to those considering going vegetarian: "It's really not that hard once you get things down," he said. "You just have to be a little creative. Sometimes you may not find a great vegetarian protein source in a restaurant -- no tofu, for instance. So you can do something like add chickpeas to salad. Ethnic foods are good, too. Mexican beans, Asian tofu, Indian lentils. [To] some people it's this weird diet. But most grocery stores have a plethora of foods. Just keep variety in your diet, and you'll be good."

Reduce Stress with Healthy Habits

by Tandis Bishop

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the daily stressors that come our way. Pressure from work, raising a family, maintaining a home, and financial stability are some of the major stressors in life… along with all the smaller stressful situations that arise on a regular basis. Coping with stress is essential on many levels, with your health being at the top of the list.

Heart disease remains the number one killer in our country and stress plays a big role in increasing its risk. Research has shown that living a stressful life may affect factors which increase blood pressure (hypertension) and cholesterol levels, and can lead to poor habits such as smoking, heavy drinking, physical inactivity, and over- or under-eating. All of which in turn are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Studies also show that stress can alter the body’s functions, affecting the blood and nervous system and leading to negative health effects.1,2,3

Manage stress and improve your health with these healthy habits:

  1. Connect with friends and family. Call or spend time with positive people that provide a strong support system.
  2. Relax and recharge. Enjoy some kind of leisure activity that helps you relax. Work in the garden, go for a walk on the beach or spend time in nature. Hawaii’s natural environment is an excellent place to relax and recharge!
  3. Eat right. Diet and stress are closely related. Be mindful of what you eat, as well-nourished bodies are better prepared to deal with stress. Eat well-balanced meals throughout the day. We often forget to eat well when under stress and resort to unhealthy snacks high in sugars and fats. Plan ahead by packing healthy on-the-go snacks such as fresh fruit, cut veggies with dip, and nuts. Walnuts, for example, are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have shown to help prevent and reduce stress!4
  4. Exercise regularly. Get moving even if it’s only for 15 minutes a day. Getting your blood flowing releases endorphins, enhancing your mood instantly! Besides, what better way to get rid of pent-up stress than with a good workout!
  5. Laugh it off. Laughter helps reduce stress by increasing those mood-enhancing endorphins and by decreasing the stress-causing hormones such as cortisol. Have a sense of humor, watch a comedy, tell a joke!
  6. Get enough sleep. Rest your body and mind with adequate sleep of 6-8 hours a night. Lack of sleep can leave you feeling irritable, irrational and stressed-out. Recent research also shows that lack of sleep can have negative impacts on our digestion, leading to cravings, overeating and potential weight gain.5
  7. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine and drugs. These unhealthy habits are temporary ways to escape stress and have negative long-term effects. In fact, they often lead to increased stress!
  8. Calm the body and mind. Take deep, slow breaths to oxygenate the body and quiet your mind. Relaxing and balancing practices such as yoga, pilates, tai chi and chi gong can help stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, also called the “rest and renew” nervous system.6,7
  1. Nabi H. et al., Increased risk of coronary heart disease among individuals reporting adverse impact of stress on their health: the Whitehall II prospective cohort study. Eur Heart J (2013) doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/eht216
  2. World Heart Federation. Stress. Accessed on January 19, 2014 from
  3. American Heart Association. Stress and Heart Health. Accessed on January 19, 2014 from
  4. Bourre JM. Dietary omega-3 Fatty acids and psychiatry: mood, behaviour, stress, depression, dementia and aging. J Nutr Health Aging. 2005;9(1):31-8.
  5. Greer M. S., et al. The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain. August 2013.Nature Communications 4, Article number: 2259.
  6. Ross A and Thomas S. The health benefits of yoga and exercise: a review of comparison studies. J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Jan;16(1):3-12. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0044.
  7. Streeter, CC., et al. Effects of yoga on the autonomic nervous system, gamma-aminobutyric-acid, and allostasis in epilepsy, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Med Hypotheses. 2012 May;78(5):571-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2012.01.021. Epub 2012 Feb 24.

Get Active! Even a Little Shows Great Benefits!

Photo: Couple on Mountain Bikes

by Tandis Bishop

With our everyday busy schedules, physical exercise is an activity or for some, a task, that only occurs if and when we can make time for it. For many Americans, it’s not a part of our lifestyle but only a concept that you know would be good to do but realistically never happens. Physical inactivity is a major public health problem, and convincing evidence shows that it contributes to several chronic diseases and conditions. As a nation we have dug ourselves into a big hole of inactivity. Now is the time to pull ourselves out of it!

It’s not an option:

Recognition of the numerous health hazards of a sedentary lifestyle has led many groups to advocate public health recommendations for physical activity. Compelling research proves that a fit, active life offers tremendous health benefits while inactivity promotes disease and reduces length of life.1,2,3,4Therefore, physical activity is not an option. Individuals of all ages and sexes absolutely need it in order to help prevent disease, fight disease, and increase longevity. 

Even low amounts of exercise are helpful:

The current recommendation of physical activity for adults by the US Health Department’s Physical Activity Guideline is 150 minutes of moderate physical exercise a week.5

However, don’t be discouraged if you initially feel this may be difficult to do or to fit into your schedule. Studies suggest that even 15 minutes a day or 90 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise offers many health benefits, even for those at risk for chronic diseases.6,7 This may be more realistic and doable for people who are currently inactive.

What to do? Take a 15 minute brisk walk, dance to music, play doubles tennis, or ride a bike. Even heavy cleaning such as washing windows, vacuuming, or mopping for 15 minutes counts as moderate physical activity!

The key is consistency:

A common mistake people make is to start engaging in long, vigorous exercise that leaves them feeling sore and over-exhausted for days. You don’t want to dread the next time you exercise. Of course, you may experience some soreness initially as your body and muscles are activated after being sedentary for some time. However, don’t make it so hard or unrealistic that you can’t stick to it. The key is to be active consistently--even if it’s a little bit--every week. It’s that constant pumping and engaging of your heart, lungs, muscles, and cells that makes the difference. It’s the constant flow of fresh blood, oxygen, and balancing of the body’s hormones that gives you benefits. Your body needs that consistency! So let’s get active! We all have 15 minutes in our day to do what is invaluable for our health and wellbeing.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevention Status Reports: Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. 2013. Available at
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. State Indicator Report on Physical Activity. 2010. Available at
  3. US Department of Health and Human Services. Physical activity and health: a report of the Surgeon General. 1996.
  4. U.S. Department of Health. 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines. Available at:
  5. Ibid.
  6. Slentz CA. et al. Effects of the amount of exercise on body weight, body composition, and measures of central obesity: STRRIDE--a randomized controlled study. Arch Intern Med. 2004 Jan 12;164(1):31-9.
  7. Pang Wen, C. et al. Minimum amount of physical activity for reduced mortality and extended life expectancy: a prospective cohort study. The Lancet. Volume 378, Issue 9798, 1–7 October 2011, Pages 1244–1253

Stay Fit this Summer!

Photo: Man and Woman on Stand-Up Paddleboards

by Tandis Bishop

Summer is a great motivator to get fit and healthy as we do our best to look great in swim wear on the beach!  With the beautiful weather and the many opportunities to take advantage of both indoor and outdoor activities, it’s easy to get into shape and stay healthy. If we're not careful, however, summer can also be our ruin!  In addition to vacation parties, barbeques, ice-cream, cold sugary drinks, and other not-so healthy foods, summer's hot weather can make us reluctant to exercise.  Here are some tips to keep you and your family healthy and fit during the summer.

Enjoy indoor activities to beat the sun

Take a yoga class! Beginning Tuesday, June 3rd, Down to Earth is introducing weekly yoga classes with Danielle Tatik in our new Community Room upstairs on the 3rd floor above Down to Earth Honolulu, at 2525 S. King St. Classes are $10 and will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00am -11:00am. For more information, please call (808) 947-3249.

Hit the beach

What better way to stay cool and get active than to swim, surf or do other water sports? It’s free, fun, and great for the whole family! Drink lots of fluids to keep hydrated, and go before 10:00am or after 2:00pm in order to limit sun exposure and exertion in the heat.

Have fun with the kids

Backyard water activities are a childhood favorite that’s fun at any age. Water balloon fights, squirt guns and slip n’ slides are great ways to keep cool and active!

Shady hikes and waterfalls

Hawaii is famous for our beautiful hiking trails filled with shady pathways and often leading to gorgeous waterfalls. This is simply an amazing way to stay active over the summer. For refreshingly cool trails in Hawaii and how to get there, look up these trails online:

  • Oahu: Manana Trail, Nu’uanu Pali No ‘okina: Nuuanu and Judd Trails, Maunawili Falls, Manoa Falls.
  • Maui: Pipiwai Trail & Waimoku Falls, Waihee Ridge Trail, and many trails off Hana Hwy.
  • Kauai: Hanakapi’ai No ‘okina: Hanakapiai & Na Pali coast trail, Kalalau trail.
  • Big Island: Akaka Falls State Park

Enjoy evening activities

Play tag-football with friends in the early evening while it’s still light but cooling down or take an end-of-day walk after sunset.

Go ahead! Enjoy your summer and take advantage of these opportunities to be active all summer long!