All posts filed under “Spring

Hiking in nature can be very beneficial both physically and mentally.
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How hiking helps the brain

Hiking kicks out negative thoughts

Rumination is defined as the tendency to continuously think about upsetting situations, causes, and consequences that might be burdening an individuals mind. Luckily, the National Academy of Sciences recently conducted a study which found that going on nature-filled hikes can significantly curb these thoughts, encouraging not only physical well being but also mental prosperity. By measuring neural activity and levels of rumination in the two different groups, researchers found that urban environments have distinct correlations with depression and negative disposition while the natural environments show to lower levels of rumination as well as neural activity in the part of the brain that is intimately linked to mental illness.

Hiking can boost brain power, and help keep you focused

Other studies contrasting urban vs. natural environments have found that not only can hiking in nature prevent negative thoughts, it can also greatly improve cognitive performance! Researchers realized that a nice long hike away from urbanization and technology can reduce mental fatigue, boost creative thinking, improve memory, and even remarkably reduce symptoms of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Along with all of these incredible benefits, it is proven that people who work out outside are much more likely to continue their routine rather than quit shortly after starting. Whether it’s for a minute or an hour, everyone should make an effort to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the tranquility of nature whenever possible. Good for the mind, body, and soul, hiking in nature is an excellent way to stay healthy and happy.

 

For the full article, click here.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Loren Kerns

 

 

Pacific Northwest Hiking
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No-nonsense tips for safe hiking

There’s still so much of summer left.  Have you ventured out to a hiking trail in the beautiful Pacific Northwest?  Whether you’re a novice or seasoned hiker there are many simple steps to keep yourself safe and enjoy your hike.

Follow the Hiker Responsibility Code.

Be prepared:

1. With knowledge and gear.  Become self-reliant by learning about the terrain, conditions, local weather and your equipment before you start.

2. To leave your plans.  Tell someone where you are going, the trails you are hiking, when you will return and your emergency plans.

3. To stay together.  When you start as a group, hike as a group, end as a group.  Pace your hike to the slowest person.

4. To turn back.  Weather changes quickly in the mountains. Fatigue and unexpected conditions can also affect your hike. Know your limitations and when to postpone your hike.  The mountains will be there another day.

5. For emergencies.  Even if you are headed out for just an hour, an injury, severe weather or a wrong turn could become life threatening.  Don’t assume you will be rescued; know how to rescue yourself.

6. To share the hike code with other. 

REI, the leader in outdoor equipment, also has a great list of 10 day hiking essentials to make your day fun and safe.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  Loren Kerns

How to avoid your enemy and know if you've been bitten.
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Quick guide to spider bites

Spiders seem to be more plentiful after a mild winter.  Along with spiders comes the increase of spider bites.  Luckily not all spiders are poisonous, but if you’ve ever been bitten by a venomous spider you should know how to treat the bite.

The Pacific Northwest can claim several varieties of spiders that carry a bite to be medically important.  To know the difference between venomous, dangerous, and low-risk non aggressive spiders, refer to the USA spider identification chart.  In the unlikely event you’ve experienced a bite, know when to seek professional medical care vs simple home care of the bite site.

Remember, prevention is the first defense in avoiding a nasty spider bite.

Per the Mayo Clinic, here is how to prevent spider bites :

  • Wear a long-sleeve shirt, hat, gloves and boots when handling stored boxes or firewood, and when cleaning out sheds, garages, basements, attics and crawl spaces.
  • Inspect and shake out gardening gloves, boots and clothing that have been unused for a while.
  • Use insect repellents, such as DEET or Picaridin, on clothing and footwear.
  • Keep insects and spiders out of the house by installing tight-fitting screens on windows and doors, and caulking or sealing cracks or crevices where spiders can come in.
  • Discard old boxes, clothing and other unwanted items from storage areas.
  • Store items you want to keep off of the floor and away from walls.
  • Remove piles of rocks or lumber from the area around your house.
  • Avoid storing firewood against the house.
  • Vacuum spiders and spider webs and dispose of them in a sealed bag outside to prevent re-entry into the house.

 

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  Ray Bouknight

Beers
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Nip stress-related drinking in the bud

Do you ever drink alcohol because you feel stressed? Studies show that many people do.

Drinking too much alcohol can lead to many health problems, such as increased risk of heart and liver diseases. It can cause nasty hangovers or even alcohol poisoning.

If you are drinking too much, you can get on a healthier path by:

  • Cutting back or quitting
  • Keeping track of how much you drink
  • Avoiding places where too much drinking occurs
  • Finding other ways to deal with stress

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Join us and other organizations in your community to spread the word to help prevent alcohol abuse.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Lindsey G

 

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Pacific Crest Trail
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Go Wild – 4 tips to safe hiking

We all receive inspiration in many different forms. This can come from an experience, books or even watching a movie. In the film Wild it displays a woman who is hiking the Pacific Crest Trail on her own. She surpasses obstacles and creates a movement that motivates those who watch.  This leaves many of us anticipating on how we can accomplish a similar trip. Here are some tips to keep you safe while hiking:

  1. Disclose your location - Let people know where you will be hiking, the duration of your hike, who you are with and when they should expect you back.
  2. Watch the climate - Check the weather and be aware of the circumstances. There is nothing wrong with postponing a trip due to bad weather.
  3. Be prepared - Wear proper attire; carry supplies that you can anticipate to use (ex. First aid kit), have plenty of water available.
  4. Plan properly - Become familiar with the hike and stay on trail as best as you can. A map and compass are good tools to assist with direction.

The most important tip is to have fun and make the most of your journey. Take lots of pictures, and soak in the beauty of nature that is all around you.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Miguel Vieira

Join us in Bend, OR - 
March 22-24, 2015
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Spring Break 2015 – Oregon School Employee Wellness Conference in Bend, Oregon

Save the date for the fourth annual Oregon School Employee Wellness Conference! Join us for 3 days in beautiful Bend, Oregon to mingle with school employees, public health experts, medical carriers and community members who are passionate about school employee wellness. 

The Oregon Education Association Choice Trust in partnership with other organizations hosts a free two day conference that focuses on creating a culture of wellness in the school setting. This conference isn’t for you if you like to sit in a lecture hall and listen to talking heads.  This conference is all about putting into practice what you learn. The OR SEW Conference is an opportunity to learn best practices to promote health and wellness in the school, learn strategies to reduce stress and foster resiliency and fuel your passion for health.  Physical activity and movement is incorporated into all of the presentations. Yoga, tai chi, runs and walks are also part of the agenda. Plus, doesn’t it always seem to be sunny in Bend, Oregon?

For more information, go to www.oeachoice.com/news-events.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Robert Ashworth 

Photo by Robert Ashworth
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Spring Break 2014 – Oregon School Employee Wellness Conference in Bend, Oregon

The third annual Oregon School Employee Wellness Conference is right around the corner, and you know what that means? Three days in beautiful Bend, Oregon to mingle with school employees, public health experts, medical carrier representatives and community members who are passionate about school employee wellness!

The Oregon Education Association Choice Trust in partnership with other organizations hosts a free two day conference that focuses on creating a culture of wellness in the school setting. Read More

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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal cancer is the second most deadly cancer for both men and women. Yet according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most of these deaths could be prevented if everyone over the age of 50 got screened for colorectal cancer. The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get screened. There are often no signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer. If left undiagnosed or undetected, colorectal cancer can spread throughout the body.To increase awareness of colorectal cancer screenings, ODS is proudly participating in Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. The Department of Health and Human Services states that colorectal cancer screening tests can detect cancer early, when treatment is very successful.
People over age 50 are at highest risk for colorectal cancer. Other risk factors include Read More
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Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 2011 – We’ve Gone Pink!

Your eyes are not deceiving you, the ODS website has gone pink in honor of this Saturday’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. ODS is proud to be the flagship sponsor of this event – joining with the American Cancer Society to help create more birthdays.

Want to join us in the fight? Join the ODS Making Strides team. ODS family and friends are also welcome to join in the fight!

Check out the ODS windows at the Tower for more information about our Charity Challenge partners! Read More

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Portland’s March For Babies – How You Can Help

Aren’t those the cutest little feet you have ever seen? This is the new 2011 March For Babies Public Service Announcement as posted on the March For Babies Blog. March For Babies is a very special wellness walk by March of Dimes that will be held in Portland, and in several other communities, at the end April. As there are several new baby feet in my family, this is a cause that I hope to join this year. Do you know anyone pregnant or with small children? Perhaps this is a cause that you should join too!    Read More