Wa-Hi track coach Hisaw advocates for health, fitness | Lifestyles

Wa-Hi track coach Hisaw advocates for health, fitness | Lifestyles

Walla Walla track and field coach Eric Hisaw often goes out of his way to advocate for health and fitness.

Last year, a year after the Walla Walla High School boys team won the state championship, Hisaw and his wife Amy used Facebook to demonstrate simple exercises that could be done in about five minutes at home while the statewide stay-at-home order was in effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The stay-home mandate may have long since ended, but it’s never too late to start taking small steps towards a healthy lifestyle.

“Absolutely,” Hisaw said, having taught and coached sports at Wa-Hi the last 22 years. “We’re weren’t showing off. The videos weren’t ‘Look at us, look what we can do.’ We were just trying help people see that exercise wasn’t such a hard thing to do. It didn’t take a whole lot. And we could have a little fun, even during the quarantine.”

If the pandemic has a silver lining, it might be that people are more conscious of their health.

The stronger immune system needed to fight COVID-19 came from proper nutrition and exercise, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and Hisaw said he found an eager audience while gyms were forced to close.

“We got a lot of great comments on social media,” Hisaw said. “I think we got some people excited they could do quick, little workouts by themselves at home.”

“It’s always been important to us, to live an active life,” Hisaw said. “It might be different for a lot of people and they might have to make some changes, so it might not always be easy, but we really want to help them, give them some motivation, show how it can be fun and not such a hard thing to do.”

Being fit doesn’t necessarily mean constant workouts or strict diets.

A healthy lifestyle, often, might simply come down to people taking control of themselves: staying active and maintaining balanced nutrition.

That might be a challenge, so it helps to have support.

Hisaw credits his wife Amy for really keeping them healthy, while teaching at Wa-Hi and raising two kids.

“She has been unbelievable,” Hisaw said. “I used to never have much of a diet plan. She’s passionate about nutrition, and she made me much more cognizant of what I eat. And she’s unbelievable at time management, finding times when we can get to the weight room, go on runs and vary out activities.”

The pain that can come with exercise might be discouraging, but it can be managed or overcome.

Hisaw tore an ACL while playing football at the University of Idaho, and Amy recently underwent shoulder surgery.

“We’ve had our time with the doctors,” Hisaw said. “But we both went into surgery in pretty good shape, and while rehab was still hard, I’d say that helped our bodies recover faster.”

The pandemic has brought on a disturbing challenge to fitness in general, with people mostly sedentary for more than a year.

High school sports may have recently returned, but the extended off-season has been more than just noticeable to a well-practiced coach.

“It’s across our whole league, and there’s no question about it,” Hisaw said. “We’ve been negatively affected by most of the kids, aside from the ones who were committed to working out on their own, spending all their time sitting. I think this has put society back a year, or more like two-to-three years.”

The solution for a lot of people could simply be to get up and find ways to be active more often.

Hisaw would like to think social media has enabled him to connect with more people looking for an answer to the health and fitness dilemma.

“I really hope so,” Hisaw said. “We want to be some kind of motivation, inspiration for people. Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated or challenging once you get used to it. I never sit down. It’s a priority in my life.

“We’d like to help more people in our community become passionate about keeping their bodies in motion throughout the day.”

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