By WAYNE JOSEPH
Seventy-six year old Paul Hanson first got interested in sports at an early age and he kept the interest going with his children and grandchildren. He often played baseball with his brothers at home and in elementary school. He is still interested in baseball, especially the Los Angeles Angels.
“A neighbor who worked at the Santa Maria, California YMCA got me a complimentary membership for the first month and although I had been recreationally swimming most of my life, she got me into early morning lap swimming 30 to 45 minutes and spinning on a stationary bike for another 30 to 45 minutes,” Hanson said.
By 2010, she had talked Hanson into going through a training class for an annual Tri-Fit fun triathlon. He has carried on since then.
Hanson grew up on a Wisconsin Farm where “I didn’t have much time for organized sports.”
“But I did play some 4-H and FFA softball and basketball and I walked a mile each weekday to catch the bus to high school,” he said.
Hanson retired from the United States Air Force in 1976 where he worked for five years in aircraft manufacturing (Piper Aerostar), followed by eight years working on the Vandenberg AFB Space Shuttle Launch facility as a Calibration Field Engineer.
“I am now fully retired,” he said.
Hanson was married to his first wife for 51 years, 41 years of which she was in a wheelchair from an auto accident.
“My exercise was helping her and walking up to 15,000 steps a day pushing her in her wheelchair. After her death I met my present wife and we have been living an active lifestyle here on the Big Island for the past two years.” Hanson said.
“We adopted one daughter, now 42 years old, plus five foster children, and have four gradchildren and four grand children,” he said.
Hanson continues as a true inspiration toward good health.
“I walk or run three to five times a week and try to get a swim in each week,” he said. “I belong to the VFW and the DAV due to disability to tinnitus and back surgery while in the service in 1968.”
“By keeping active and watching my weight I have been able to keep pain at a minimum,” Hanson said.
During a typical week, Hanson will run or walk one mile and swim .25 miles to 1 mile. As part of Hanson’s exercise routine, he walks underwater.
As for diet, Hanson will try to limit the amounts he and his wife eat and have balanced diets of meats, fish, and lots of fresh vegetables from local farmers markets.
“Each day begins with fresh papaya, coffee and half a bagel or toast,” Hanson said.
“I try to run an occasional 5K fun run two to four times each year since doing my first Tri, but at this stage of my life the 5K is about my limit,” he said. “I can run it at a slow easy jog of about a 12 to 14 minute mile pace.”
And Hanson has modest goals.
“I want to keep myself healthy and in good physical and mental condition, and to work out the aches and pains that growing old brings to all of us,” he said.
“The exercise keeps my blood pressure down and has reduced my level of medication to half, and my cholesterol levels are now ideal with low levels of a Statin drug.”
As for running, Hanson said: “I am not interested in it as I have suffered through asthma and 50 years of Arthritis which is now under control with exercise and acupuncture. A hip replacement in 2007 helped me to continue with this form of exercise.”
Hanson enjoys being out in the fresh air and knows that the blood flow that exercise brings to his brain keeps him healthy and fit.
Paul Hanson, he’s a role model for many of us through his healthy lifestyle and diet, and enjoys doing it on this beautiful Big Island.
And someday should you happen to see me, remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”
Email the Big Dog at firstname.lastname@example.org.