Kupuna Life: Trainer helps keep kupuna in shape during coronavirus pandemic

Kupuna Life

HONOLULU (KHON2) — It has not been easy staying in shape and remaining motivated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That is why a local personal trainer is hosting a 5K to celebrate the perseverance of those who have made health a priority.

“Nice and easy, moving out the legs, shaking out the hips, stretching out the quads,” said trainer Lee-Ann Watanabe.

A simple warm-up and fresh air go a long way for Honolulu residents Nancy Heck and Ken Richardson.

“It’s been mentally positive in a year that’s been really tough,” Richardson said.

“It just makes all the difference in the world,” Heck said. “Wake up every day and have a positive attitude.”

These two and other kupuna stuck with these workouts, which went virtual in 2020, thanks to their trainer, Lee-Ann Watanabe, who owns 2CW-HI, a wellness and personal training company.

“I think it was just my approach to wellness in terms of finding a way to work out smarter and not harder that’s sustainable, that’s what really attracted this demographic,” Watanabe said.

Watanabe is organizing a small, socially distanced Wahine 5-K in May at Kapiolani Park to celebrate their persistence and perseverance during the pandemic.

“I know about not going out too fast, I know if my body’s doing something I should be able to talk the whole time and not get so winded,” Heck said.

These kupuna and a handful of others are training for the 5-K. They say a healthy mental outlook is only one of the benefits.

“As we get older, there’s aches and pains and stuff like that, just get out and walk, she does things with music and just has fun with it,” Heck said.

Having fun with it — while also building relationships.

“I think it’s also just knowing that I’m not just a trainer, but I’m also a friend that they kind of come to,” Watanabe said.

“I mean, I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been since 18 or something,” Richardson said. “Just realizing that you can’t eat everything, not too much manapua.”

“Makes me feel wonderful, makes me feel positive, it makes me feel happy,” Heck said.

They believe feeling happy is key to being healthy, and something worth celebrating.

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