Tag Archives: cycling

Spring is in the air(get ready for a new challenge)

It is hard to believe but February is almost over, which only means one thing: March is on its way and in the Pacific NW, spring is definitely in the air. Daffodils are poking up their stems, daphne odora blossoms are about to burst open, I waken to birds singing every morning….an incredible transition from the quiet waiting time of winter. Already days are lengthening and the moods of those around me reflect that in their brightness. Soon we will all be spending more time outdoors, perhaps digging in the soil getting the garden ready for a new round of vegetables and flowers(maybe even some fruits if your climate is conducive to them).Image

There was a short but insightful article in today’s NY Sunday Times Magazine extolling the virtues of exercising outdoors. The author compares the amount of energy it takes to walk/run on a treadmill or spin on an indoor bike to doing the same activities outside. Although you do benefit from indoor cardio workouts, doing the same activities outdoors actually burns more calories and require more effort, due to such factors as varying terrain, wind energy, temperature variations and surface changes. Plus being outside is more stimulating to your senses and has a greater effect on your mood! Feeling the sun(or even the wind, for that matter) , hearing the birds chirping, smelling freshly mowed  grass, seeing children playing a game, all contribute to a sense of being a part of something bigger than oneself and is ultimately more satisfying. Obviously. there are days when working out in the gym is more appealing(pouring rain, dark hours, frigid temperatures, icy ground) but whenever you have a choice, do try to get outside and be active as well.

Walking my first leg of Portland to Coast: almost done, hot tired feet but happy!!

Walking my first leg of Portland to Coast: almost done, hot tired feet but happy!!

I am about to fly to NYC in the morning for my third IFM(Integrative Functional Medicine Conference) . I love attending this particular event as the rooms are full of all types of providers, from cardiologists to naturopaths, anesthesiologists, gastroinestinal specialists and nurse practioners and more. The energy is incredible, the information” cutting edge” and I always walk away with a renewed sense of how to live a more balanced life and how to share that knowledge with my many patients.

For those of you who have spent time in NYC, you know that finding organic, fresh food is a bit more challenging than it is here in Portland. And being a native New Yorker, I have to indulge a bit by having several slices of NY pizza and chowing down on some chewy and flavorful NY bagels.  So when I get back, I will be ready to start our next series of ‘cleanses’: this time I would like to offer you all a few options. ALthough at least 40 people were able to complete the full 10 cleanse last time, many of you stopped at 5 days, so this is what I would like to propose:

The overall cleanse will last for a total of 10 days and must be completed between March 1 and March 23rd. You can choose to do it all at once or break it up into 2 5 day blocks. I am choosing to do 2 separate blocks this time, as I have a family wedding in Dallas in mid-March.  The dates I will be ‘spring cleansing’ are Monday, March 4th- Friday March 8th and then starting up again on Monday, March 18th- Friday March 22nd. Every 5 days that you complete(and let us know this) , your name will be entered into our contest(more info on Pearl Women’s Center Facebook page) .

Here is a quick review:

During the ‘spring cleanse’, you will avoid whites(flour, potatoes, rice, sugar), caffeine, alcohol and sugar. For a more complete list, please go back to my posts from October 2012 and January 2013.

I will be posting some ideas for meals this week and a shopping list to help you get started. I will be very ready to start when I return from NYC and I hope that you will join me. The benefits are amazing and it is much more fun(and easy) to do this with the support of others.

Happy almost spring!

Final rose of 2012

Anticipating the first roses of spring

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Filed under Essentials, Kyle Bell McAvoy, Whole Eating, Women's Health & Happiness

Report from Austin, TX: notes on the road

I dropped in for a quick visit to Austin this past weekend(my husband Joe is working from there for now so we are turning this into an adventure…)and I want to report that this is ONE FIT CITY!! Barely 100 feet from the front door of his apartment complex is a beautiful pedestrian bridge, complete with wood inlaid railings, that drops you into an incredible matrix of walking, jogging and cycling trails. I headed out on a January morning, the weather a balmy 60 degrees(Nirvana to a Portland girl like me). And although Joe had given me basic instructions for the 3.1 mile loop, I promptly got lost trying to navigate between the many choices in front of me. I ended up walking at least 5 miles but I was in good company. There were hundreds of Austinites walking, jogging, sprinting, biking, young mothers pushing massive strollers, others with panting dogs in tow~a wonderful sight indeed.

Austin activity on a January morning

The trails meander along the lovely and serene Colorado River, known fondly as Lady Bird Lake by those in the know. And this lake is full of life! I saw great blue herons, graceful white swans, swooping cormorants, ducks, birds I’d never seen before, fishermen, kayakers, canoers, crewteams and paddleboarders. I was inspired by the energy and the level of commitment to fitness here, truly an amazing sight.

A lone fisherman on a January morning in Austin

Of course Austin is renowned for its sunny weather(300 days of natural vitamin D each year) and I imagine the summer heat is a bit brutal for outdoor enthusiasts. But this reminded me of the challenges many of us face living in colder climates: how do we all stay motivated to be active when the weather outside is dreary, cold and wet?
I was hoping to link to an article that I was recently interviewed for in a local publication, Explore the Pearl(Jan/Feb issue) but unfortunately they are not set up with that feature yet. If you do live in the area, pick up a copy and read “Chasing Away the Winter Blahs” for some suggestions from myself and other health related professionals in the Pearl district of Portland.
For those of you in other regions, here are a few “pearls from The Pearl” to help keep you motivated when the weather is just not calling you outside!
1. Get outside every day, even if it’s just for 20 minutes/day. The fresh air is invigorating.
2. There are no days too bad to be outside, just bad clothing! Whenever I think it is too cold/rainy/wet here, I think of those who live in places like Sweden and I remind myself it really isn’t that bad. Find some functional and even stylish clothes that will keep you warm and dry and it will make getting outside more of a pleasure than a chore.
3. Okay, so maybe it is just too miserable to work out in the elements. Try a new indoor activity: Zumba, yoga, Pilates, stair stepper, treadmill. It is so important to have variety in your routine to get the benefits of cross training as well as avoiding boredom.
4. Find a pool: swim some laps, take a water exercise class.
5. Try a winter sport: cross country or downhill skiing, snowshoeing(major calorie burner!), sledding.
6. Find an exercise buddy or two, someone who will hold you accountable when you just aren’t feeling it…..
7. Walk your dog, walk your friend’s dog. Make the canine world a happier place(my dog LOVES the wind, the rain, the snow: she gets me out on even the stormiest of days and I am always so happy afterwards).

Another example of staying fit while outside

The sky is the limit when it comes to exercise, even when the skies are not as perfect as those January days I just experienced in Austin. Find a way to stay active. The benefits of exercise(increased strength, more energy, better mood, improved sleep and flexibility, enhanced immune system) far outweigh the excuses not to exercise.
Staying active is an essential component of living a balanced life. See you on the trail!
Kyle

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Filed under Kyle Bell McAvoy, Women's Health & Happiness