Get Up, Get Out, Get Active

By Bob Hiam
Wednesday - April 06, 2005
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After I graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, I accepted a position with the Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA). That was over 35 years ago. Since then, I’ve certainly done my share of goal setting. There are customer-service goals, employee-performance goals, and financial goals to ensure that the organization is a responsible health plan. However, no matter how we look at it, there is always one overriding goal that drives our company — that our members enjoy the benefits of living healthy lives.

Richard Momono, Bob Hiam, Christian Fern, Ute Huelse,
Todd Ohira, Pam Sakamoto and Nyree Woo are
keeping fit at the HMSA facility gym

For years, health experts have provided information on the importance of having a healthy lifestyle. Of all that a person can do to maintain a healthy lifestyle, daily physical activity is among the most advantageous. We all know that physical activity helps us maintain our optimal body weight, keeps our hearts healthy, and contributes to our overall energy level.

However, today’s cultural environment has taken many of us in another direction. Busy work and personal schedules have left some with no time for routine workouts at the gym or long runs down our favorite back roads.

Out of frustration, we resign ourselves to a sedentary lifestyle. We drive to the store just down the block instead of walking there. We drive our car through a carwash instead of washing it ourselves. We hire someone to clean the yard while we sit in the house and watch TV. We drive around a parking lot 10 times until we find a stall close to the door. It’s understandable. I’ve done these things myself.

A further discouragement is the fact that our society equates “physical activity” with that which is out of reach for most of us. Marathons, spinning classes and pickup basketball games come to mind when we think of exercise.

But there is good news — news that impacts all of us. Recent studies have shown that routine daily activity, apart from actual exercise, can contribute significantly to your health. Just staying off the couch, staying on your feet longer, and moving around more can help you reach your health goals. Vacuuming the carpet, raking the leaves in the yard, taking the stairs, riding your bike, swimming, dancing and gardening. It all counts and it all adds up to a healthier you.

You might be asking yourself, “Is that really news?” We hope that this information will encourage people to look at their lives a little differently. To find a few spare minutes each day to do something active. To go outside, explore and enjoy our beautiful islands.

To this end, you’ll soon see a new campaign from HMSA that encourages everyone to get up, get out and get active. We call it our “go” campaign. You’ll find the message strikingly simple and yet we know the results can be profound. Keeping active is the best way to live a healthy and happy life. It’s what we want first and foremost for our members and all who call Hawaii home.

I encourage you to take a small step today toward a healthier lifestyle. Small but sustained changes will positively affect your health and the quality of your life. After all, just 10 minutes of yard work or playing dodge ball with the kids every day adds up to just over 60 hours of physical activity in a year. Make the choice to alter your activity level today for the sake of your health tomorrow.

Next week: Bill Tobin, managing partner at Tiki’s Grill & Bar

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