With the arrival of spring right around the corner, the weather is starting to warm, evenings come later and mornings are a little less grey. Our personal fitness and health become less daunting as prospects and more feasible. The duties that come with the change of season give us chances to start to get active again and to get outside with friends and neighbors. Weeding a garden, sewing new seeds or trimming a rose bush are great ways to reintroduce your body to activity and fresh, healthy air after a long winter.
There are resources for getting healthy right here in our community that are supported by AAHC as well. The Matt Dishman Community Center is accessible, on NE Knott and within walking distance to four bus lines. The Center hours accommodate busy schedules, open early and late, and offers afternoon and evening classes in fitness and dance. In the lap pool, Dishman invites children and adults of all skill levels to swim during supervised free hours, or to participate in classes held throughout the day. Aqua-fitness is a great low-impact way to develop muscles and bone strength, while staying safe and becoming comfortable in water. There are fun spring and summer camp series available for kids that allow them to explore their creative powers in art, music, cooking and dance with other young people of their age.
The Matt Dishman Community Center has very competitive rates, and the best part is, AAHC has a special relationship with the Center and is able to offer very supportive use costs for families that qualify. For access to a facility for 3 months, the cost is only $25 per person. See these links for more information – http://aahc-portland.org/?program=low-cost-exercise-program; http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/article/424183.
No time to go to the gym?
If you work two or more jobs, or long hours and still have to care for family in your off hours, and you just don’t have time to visit the gym, there are still good ways that you can take your physical health into your hands. If you’re stuck sitting at a desk all day, begin by being aware of your posture – slouching will weaken very important muscles in your back, stomach, shoulders and neck, and will impede blood flow throughout the body. If possible, sit up as straight as you can with your shoulders back and head level. This may mean adjusting your computer screen to be nearer eye level. Get up to walk around frequently. This will aid in blood and oxygen flow and will maintain your flexibility. You will get tired less easily and will ultimately be more productive in your work. As you’re sitting, you can flex your toes, feet, ankles, wrists and hands periodically, and you might find surprising results.
Start to take the stairs! If you work on the third floor, perhaps consider walking to the second floor, then taking the elevator. When you’re comfortable with this, try walking both flights! For lunch, go off-site. Even if you pack your lunch, eat it elsewhere. This is a good chance for some exercise, but will also let you recharge a little bit, and put a bit of a distance between your work and you. Don’t eat at your desk!
Easter Egg Hunt: Sunday, March 30 at 10am, Fernhill Park – NE 37th and Ainsworth – FREE!
Quick and Healthy Recipe: Chicken & Yam Salad (40 minutes)
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons pesto
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 large (1 pound) sweet potato
1 red bell pepper, diced
In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken (in one layer), salt, and water to just cover (about 3 cups). Bring to a low boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until mostly cooked through but still pink in the center, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit in the cooking water for 5 minutes. Measure out and reserve 2 tablespoons of the cooking water. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and when cool enough to handle, cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
Meanwhile, microwave the sweet potato on high power for 6 to 7 minutes, or until firm-tender. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the pesto, vinegar, and leftover cooking water.
In a large bowl, toss the chicken, sweet potato, and bell pepper with the pesto dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let sit for a couple of minutes to absorb the dressing.