Jane Riley has been writing a column for The Garden Island since before I arrived here five years ago.
She has been, simply put, a wealth of wisdom. This woman knows her stuff. She is sharp, bright and energetic.
But she doesn’t just talk and dispense information to improve your health and happiness.
Whenever we went to lunch to catch up on things, Jane had a real interest in what I had to say. Whether it be fitness, family, home, work or my next race, she heard me, and she asked questions. She really wanted to know more about my thoughts, plans, challenges and hopes. She really cared about my welfare, my health, mentally, emotionally, physically.
That, in my experience, is not the norm.
Most people prefer to talk about themselves. They prefer to talk about their own issues. Tell their own stories. Most are not all that interested in what I or anyone else has to say, for that matter. I once had lunch with someone who talked about themselves for an hour. At one point, you might think they would say, “So how are you doing?” But no. Most of us, I’ve found, think far too highly of our own opinion.
Jane Riley, while being one of the most intelligent people I’ve known (her credentials include being certified as a personal fitness trainer, nutritional adviser, behavior change specialist and orthopedic exercise specialist), did not. She was an advocate for the quality of Isagenix, and while she was concerned about my diet that included too many trips to McDonald’s, she didn’t beat me up for it and didn’t push Isagenix, though she absolutely was sure it could improve my health. I always appreciated that about her.
Which is why I’ll miss her column in TGI.
Jane recently let me know that due to personal matters that require her full attention, she would no longer be able to write her column. That’s unfortunate, because her column was always well-written and informative. We learned something from reading her column each Sunday in the Lifestyle section. And she had passion.
She once wrote this: “Some people are born with a mission and purpose. My life has been dedicated to helping people be as healthy as they can be. Simply, I was born to be a fitness trainer and a nutritional coach.”
She did that very well.
I hope that, down the road, Jane will find time to resume her column for us here on Kauai.
In her honor, here is just a sampling of some of the advice she’s offered over the years:
w Make sure that you keep well hydrated in the summer. Lots of water. Take your weight in pounds, divide by two, and that’s how many ounces of water you should consume. Remember that we have very poor thirst detectors and by the time you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated.
w A lack of vitamin D may be an underlying contributing factor in many conditions causing chronic pain in musculoskeletal conditions such as RA, neuropathy, migraine and inflammatory conditions. Checking vitamin D levels in any patient presenting with chronic pain should be a primary investigation and when warranted, restoration of healthy levels, a primary step towards reduction of inflammation, pain and restoration of mood and well-being.
w Exercising in specific elder groups which focus on the very issues that are common among the elderly, or working specifically with a certified personal fitness trainer or physical therapist to address these balance, strength and flexibility concerns will add spring to your step and increase your functional fitness. Consistency is the key. Aging well is possible, it is not a set of negative inevitabilities.
w If you are taking a long car or plane ride, walk or stretch your legs throughout the journey. Drink plenty of fluids so you have to get up! Do lower body exercises such as ankle flexes, calf raises and leg extensions to use your muscles to help push the blood along back to your heart, rather than letting it pool in your legs. Predictably, keeping yourself healthy will help prevent varicose veins and further complications.
w Remember at least to take several long, deep, cleansing breaths throughout the day. We all forget to breathe deep and stretch. Note to self — even the dog and the cat remember to do this. It is no coincidence that many ancient yoga poses are fashioned and named after animal activities. Take long walks or take up a hobby that you find relaxing and enjoyable.
w Speaking of resting, it is important for optimal health to get enough shut-eye. Although each individual’s need for sleep varies somewhat, it is generally considered that the minimum amount of sleep per night for an adult should be around 7 hours. You know when you wake up rested. So, don’t skimp on the rest; it is a necessary component of good health.
Jane, who is the epitome of staying positive, happy and energetic, offers this advice. Please listen to her.
w The one rule in my opinion that should not ever be broken is hanging out with obnoxious people. That unhealthy activity is never a good idea. Just like avoiding standing beside the bar or the treat table during the holidays to avoid unconscious consumption, you can always move to the other side of the room when you see a toxic personality coming your way.
Mahalo, Jane. You helped us on our path to be smarter, healthier and happier.
Now, we offer you some advice: Take care of yourself, your family, and be well. Stay strong!