Now that summer has finally arrived in Portland, the sunshine and beautiful scenery around the metro region make it easy to enjoy extended days, lazing on the waterfront or indulging in hot dogs fresh from the grill. Whether you plan to tackle a two-hour line for gourmet ice cream or a 10-mile hike in the Columbia River Gorge, keeping your body safe and fit this summer is important.
Luckily, keeping fit is no challenge to people around Portland. As we recently shared, 73 percent of Rose City residents exercise regularly (see The Portland Clinic’s “Portland Healthy Habits 2016” survey). Thanks to summer’s longer days and warmer temperatures, this season can be the best time to dive into a new wellness routine. Whether you’re a fitness fanatic or someone looking to take the first few steps on your health journey, our team has come up with a list of our favorite tips to stay active, fit and healthy this summer.
Get outside and hike the beautiful PNW terrain
From Forest Park and the Columbia River Gorge to Mt. Hood and beyond, our city has an abundance of trails, peaks, waterfalls and beautiful viewpoints to explore. Take advantage of this beautiful (and, most importantly, dry) weather to explore our backyard. Hiking increases cardiorespiratory health, improves muscular fitness and lowers the risk of many ailments, including high cholesterol, hypertension and heart disease. Plus, there is a wide variety of trail options depending on your skill level. Check out https://www.oregonhikers.org/ for a great list of hikes in Oregon and Washington.
Make sure your supply bag includes all of the basic hydration and nutrition necessities, plus a headlamp, first aid kit and utility knife, just in case. Don’t forget to stay clear of steep edges, wildlife and moving water. It’s also a smart idea to share your route with a friend before you take off or hike with a buddy as a precaution.
Clip in and ride your bike
Another fun, quick and fit way to explore Portland during the warmer months is on a bike. The miles of bike-friendly roads plus well-maintained mountain trails are a perfect combination for two-wheeled adventures. Occasionally trading in your four-wheeled means of transportation for a bike ride is a great low-impact exercise, which helps protect against stroke, heart attack, diabetes, obesity, arthritis and even depression.
For safety’s sake, ensure your helmet fits snugly on your head and your clothing is not too loose fitting. A bike repair kit, which includes patches, an extra tube, essential tools and a first aid kit, is always recommended.
Try a new recipe
’Tis the season to indulge in those BBQ staples, e.g., mayonnaise-doused salads, s’mores and other appealing snacks. However, the fresh fruits and vegetables available at local grocery stores and farmers markets are at their prime. There are countless summer-healthy snack recipes available that will not only complement your summer menu, but also serve as healthy and lighter alternatives. You can find more information on healthy eats, plus recipes, on The Portland Clinic blog and in our Spring Newsletter.
“Work out” a new fitness routine
Summer is the perfect opportunity to change up your fitness routine, whether you’re hitting the Eastbank Esplanade for a run, performing box jumps on park benches or running up the steep staircases by the Broadway Bridge. A varied routine will not only deliver invigorating energy but will also help you avoid the dreaded workout plateau, engage and build more muscles and keep boredom the furthest thing from your mind.
Of course, it is important to talk with your doctor before you jump into any new fitness routine. If you’d like advice on selecting the right plan for you, please don’t hesitate to call and schedule an appointment at 503-223-3113 or visit ThePortlandClinic.com.