Kupuna exercise physical, mental health with hula

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Caregiving a loved one can take a toll on your physical and mental health. One way to exercise both is through hula.

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The form of dance is backed by science.

Temoana Makolo has been dancing hula since she was eight years old.

Ten years ago, she was asked to help teach hula as part of the UH Cancer Center’s research project, studying the effects of hula on cancer patients. She never left.

As a bone cancer survivor herself, Temoana believes it’s hula that has helped her heal and stay moving.

“It’s helped me tremendously, you know, because hula does everything,” said Temoana. “You gotta use your mind, you gotta use your arms, you gotta use your feet.”

Puna Fyrberg is a retired emergency room physician who has been with the Halau for the last three years.

“You’re constantly having brain stimulation and body stimulation. So all of that is critical for you, not only for your health when you have cancer, but health in general,” Puna said.

The results of the UH study found that hula has been shown to improve a person’s quality of life.

No matter what age or physical condition, Temoana said hula can help.

“I tell them, when you’re sitting at home watching television and especially if someone is bedridden, they can just wave their hands, outline their body, you’re dong exercise by just doing those simple things,” Temoana continued.

For caregivers, hula can also provide much-needed community support.

“We all have empathy for each other and we have come together as a family,” Puna added. “So we’re not just a hello, hello. We’re a family and that means everything, to me and to all of us.”

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For more information on hula classes, visit the UH Cancer Center website.

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