Weekly Health Tip: Exertion

The Surgeon General recommends 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on all, or most, days of the week. So what counts?

Here are some ideas: turning on your cd player and spazzing out for 30 minutes (close the blinds first), biking (not driving) to the grocery store, going on a hike with friends, a brisk walk during lunch hour, forget that your building has an elevator - always take the stairs.

You can see also the weekly health tip on the Recess home page at:

Eating out (without the moral hangover)
Does eating out mean heaping doses of saturated fats, huge servings and a severe moral hangover? It doesn't have to. Many restaurants have clued into the importance of offering healthy alternatives to diners. Click the link below to read more…


Community Events: Six Steps to Better Health

Want to keep your New Year's resolution this year? Recess offers a free workshop "Six Steps to Better Health" every 1st and 3rd Tuesday in March and April. The four workshops (March 7, 21 and April 4, 18) review cornerstones of overall well-being and health including: hydration, nutrition, exertion, relaxation, recreation and relations.

All workshops go from 6-7 p.m. and take place at:

Umpqua Bank Pearl District branch at:

1139 NW Lovejoy Street

Portland, OR

The April 4 seminar is on exertion

Pump yourself up! Strength, Flexibility, and Cardiovascular health are essential to good physical fitness. Learn easy ways to incorporate each into your day to achieve maximum results.

Snacks, drinks and giveaways will be provided. Attendees will be entered into a drawing for the following prizes (donated by Urban Pages):

· $50 gift certificate to Brilliant Salon
· $50 gift certificate to 77 Salon
· $50 gift certificate to Carlyle Restaurant

You have to be in it to win it. Winners are drawn at the final event.

Recess' teachers - classes open to the public

Tanya Barham offers Fitness Boxing in the Pearl:

A fun high intensity workout that stresses aerobic conditioning, muscle tone, coordination, quickness and agility.

When: Every Monday from noon- 1 p.m.

Please call or email in advance if you come from hither and yon, so that we can notify you of any schedule changes.

The super secret location: Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center 721 NW 9th Avenue Portland, Oregon 97209

Billy Frank Conference center Second floor

How much: $8 per class, or, $30 for 5 classes. Cash, check, credit card accepted.

To sign up, contact:

recess@recessfitness.com or call 503-282-5560

Iyala Berley offers Jivamukti yoga:

A challenging weekend workshop vinyasa practice infused with chanting and yoga philosophy teachings.


Friday April 7 6:30-8:30 p.m. $25
Saturday April 8 1:30-4 pm $40
Sunday 11:30-2 pm $40

Deepen your yoga practice through a weekend of personal commitment. Sign up for both weekend sessions and save $15.

To sign up, contact:

info@yogapearl.com or call 503-525-YOGA

Healthy lifestyle D.I.Y. - Kiss stress bye bye
A long time ago, we human types developed a very helpful mechanism for survival. That is to say, then when a pre-historic saber toothed tiger stared hungrily in our direction, those among us who continued with our knitting were quickly gobbled up and removed from the gene pool.

Our most skittish relatives propagated their young in an atmosphere far more conducive to life than the belly of a predator. Lots of things have changed since then. Having managed to wipe out or make irrelevant most of our predators, one would think that our fight or flight response might also have taken a hiatus. Unfortunately, people, our bodies are changing much less rapidly than our surroundings and the biological imperatives of "survival" are much less cut and dried than in the good old days of saber tooth tigerdom.

So what does that mean to each and every one of you? That a disagreement with your lover, a run in with your boss, a lousy driver, a letter from the bank, and a million little emails all pleading for your attention can lurk like hungry tigers. When they pounce, they trigger the same ancient biological mechanisms involved in fight or flight response.

So what is happening in these stressful moments? Your pituitary gland begins to release adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). ACTH is like the first domino, triggering other glands to produce additional hormones. Once your body begins to produce ACTH, it is like someone pulling the fire alarm for your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, "This alarm tells your adrenal glands, situated atop your kidneys, to release a flood of stress hormones into your bloodstream. These hormones - including cortisol and adrenaline - focus your concentration, speed your reaction time, and increase your strength and agility."

All of the biological bells and whistles were great when uncle Uggbar needed to flee or defeat the hungry tiger, but these days the shredder or delete button can be just as effective for even for the meekest among us. Unfortunately for those of us who always seem to have a really tenacious pack of tigers at out backs, our hyperactivated adrenal response has some serious consequences for our health.

Since about the 1970s researchers such as Holmes and Rahe were able to correlate chronic levels of stress to increased illness. Between then and now, studies have begun to explore and document the mechanisms through which chronic stress manifests in illness. Prolonged exposure to stress complicates the delicate hormonal balance that our body requires in order for us to feel happy, healthy and well adjusted. When environment and our own perception of stress push our bodies' systemic balance off kilter, it results in increased risk for obesity, nervous and immune disruptions, insomnia, digestive complaints, heart disease and depression.

So that is the bad news. Now for the good news.

Controlling those sources of stress that you can control (financial planning, marriage and family counseling) is an effective way to minimize stress. So, too, is creating a daily practice to change the way you perceive and handle stressors - many of which will be unavoidable or out of your control.

Learning to meditate and practicing those techniques might be the only self- defense that any of us need against a silent killer.

The following excerpts are from Helpguide.org:

Herbert Benson, M.D. developed a technique called The Relaxation Response, which makes the basic steps of meditation easy to understand and apply. Dr. Benson's website offers the following steps as a simple way to begin practicing meditation:
1. Pick a focus word, short phrase, or prayer that is firmly rooted in your belief system, such as "one," "peace," "shalom," etc.
2. Sit quietly in a comfortable position.
3. Close your eyes.
4. Relax your muscles, progressing from your feet to your calves, thighs, abdomen, shoulders, head, and neck.
5. Breathe slowly and naturally, and as you do, say your focus word, sound, phrase, or prayer silently to yourself as you exhale.
6. Assume a passive attitude. Don't worry about how well you're doing. When other thoughts come to mind, simply say to yourself, "Oh well," and gently return to your repetition.
7. Continue for ten to 20 minutes.
8. Do not stand immediately. Continue sitting quietly for a minute or so, allowing other thoughts to return. Then open your eyes and sit for another minute before rising.
9. Practice the technique once or twice daily. Good times to do so are before breakfast and before dinner.

There are more active forms of meditation as well, such as the walking meditations taught by the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh and Jon Kabat-Zinn of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Walking meditations employ the practice of mindfulness, which involves being fully engaged in whatever is happening in the present moment, without becoming involved in thinking about it. Therefore, when you walk you focus on each step, the sensation of the feet touching the ground, the rhythm of the breath while moving, and the feel of wind against your face.

This type of meditation is "portable," and can be practiced in other activities, such as driving or engaging in work tasks. Mindfulness meditation relieves stress because it relieves preoccupation with the habitual thoughts about the past or the future that perpetuate stress.

Hope you enjoyed reading our newsletter! Don't be a stranger with your comments and suggestions.

Tanya Barham, Owner