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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, December 21, 2006

Hula for health

By Paula Rath
Advertiser Staff Writer

Daily walks with her dogs Olive, a 5-year-old pit bull/Labrador, and Peaches (not pictured) help keep Kanoe Miller fit and fitting into her hula costumes for performances at the Halekulani hotel.

JEFF WIDENER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Kanoe Miller of Kane'ohe, who dances hula at the Halekulani, is arguably among the most photographed people in the Islands. Six nights a week she dances for an appreciative crowd, many of whom are armed with cameras.

In her form-fitting hula costumes, she is elegant and graceful, with a figure virtually unchanged since her days as Miss Hawaii 1973. And she's turning 53 on Saturday. How does she do it?

Well, dancing six nights a week helps, of course. Hula is an excellent total body exercise; thighs are flexing, abs are engaged, and arms are constantly stretching and extending.

Miller also has found that dogs can be a woman's best friend and exercise buddy. It was her rottweiler/ridgeback poi dog, Peaches, who got her started on daily walks, an important element of her fitness routine.

As if dancing hula six nights a week isn't enough, she also takes tap and jazz classes to keep her on her toes.

• • •

Kanoe Miller

Age: 52 - 53 on Saturday

Profession: Hula dancer

Height: 5-feet-9

Weight: 137 pounds

Workout habits: "Walk three miles every day. Once a week I take two hours of tap and jazz classes at Diamond Head Theatre. (For upper body), carrying my vacuum cleaner around the house. Oh, and I dance hula six nights a week."

When and why I started working out: "Ten years ago, my vet scolded me for allowing my dog Peaches to get so fat. He ordered daily exercise for her."

My good foods/bad foods:

Good: brown rice, spinach, salmon and blueberries.

Bad: white bread, butter, ice cream, beer. (She resists those fabulous potato chips at Halekulani's House Without a Key.)

Biggest motivator: "Having to stand in front of an audience every night."

Biggest roadblock to fitness: "Rain."

What saves my sanity: "Breakfast, lunch and dinner with my husband. The quiet conversation when we talk about what we're going to do today, next week, and in 20 years. We're always looking ahead."

My next challenge: "To NOT reach over and take spoonfuls of ice cream from my husband's dish after I've refused to order dessert."

Advice for those in the same boat:"Exercise for me is a daily, mandatory activity, like brushing your teeth every morning! You feel better about yourself, and that energy transfers to the people in your life ... and your dogs, too!"

Reach Paula Rath at paularath@aol.com.