Warm Up & Cool Down

No, that's not a clever way to discuss the current weather patterns in Portland. Warming up prior to you work out or exercise routine and cooling down after are just as important as your activity. 

Warming up increases the temperature of your muscles for increased flexibility and mobility. It also dilates your blood vessels to increase oxygen flow throughout the body. A warm up slowly raises your heart rate and reduces stress on your heart. When you include a stretch in your warm up you increase range of motion and mobility in your joints preventing injury. Warm up for at least 5-10 minutes doing a similar activity to the one you have planned (walk before a run). 

Cooling down allows your heart rate to come down gradually and your blood vessels to contract so you don't pass out or feel sick. Including a stretch in your cool down will help the build up of lactic acid (known for soreness and stiffness) in your muscles. Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds and don't bounce. 

Including these in your summer activities will help improve your overall health. 

Get Out and Do Something Active!

May is National Physical Fitness & Sports Month so get out there and get active! Regular physical activity can help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Exercising regularly strengthens muscles, reduces fat, controls your weight, and improves your sleep (among other things). 

There are lots of way for adults to get the recommended 30 minutes per day of physical activity. It doesn't have to mean going to gym or a spin class. Look for ways to incorporate into your every day life like taking the stairs or parking your car farther away from your intended destination. 

You can also add balancing exercises into your routine in order to improve muscle control and function. Stretching during TV time is also an easy activity to improve flexibility to reduce the risk of injury. 

A few other fun ways to stay active (especially as the weather improves): plant and care for a vegetable garden, wash the car, take a walk to catch up with a friend instead of calling them, take your coffee on a walk during your break, and walk the dog as a whole family. 

Get out there and get active! 

The Benefits of Integrative Medicine

The Mayo Clinic recently released a study about the health benefits of adding massage and acupuncture to your healing plan. The study found that not only is massage beneficial for pain relief, but with the therapist's hands on approach, they may be able to feel areas of pain not otherwise recognized. It also found that acupuncture can have similar benefits. When the acupuncturist is palpating to find sensitive areas, they may be able to find additional areas of soreness or other abnormalities and discuss them with the patient's physician. 

Read the full article here.