How Portlanders Are Reinventing Health and Exercise

Our city is far ahead of the pack.

By Zach Dundas June 24, 2016 Published in the Health Annual: Summer 2016 issue of Portland Monthly

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This will shock my latter-day friends and acquaintances, but I was not always the vision of rippling strength and stag-like grace I present today. No, as a youth I often turned up my nose at active pursuits—possibly, in part, because I was periodically reminded by caring peers that I was not a “natural athlete,” but more due to attitude problems of my own. (As a teen, I may once have screamed at a passing jogger, “You’re not going to live forever!”) In any case, for years the closest I came to the practice of “wellness” was a brief adoption of Black Sabbath’s “Supernaut” as a self-help philosophy. Plausible, but that’s a different story.

Living in Portland has changed my ways. It would be hard not to evolve in a city where people think so boldly and broadly about how to heal, strengthen, and nourish both body and mind. An embrace of all things outdoorsy is almost a voting requirement; “power salad” is a thing. And I have come to love these qualities. Savasana, I now recognize, is my natural position in life, and there are times (times) when a long pull of kombucha really does sound like just the ticket. Slowly, I am catching up.

As this special issue of Portland Monthly attests, however, many Portlanders are far, far ahead of the pack. In our lead feature, we capture some of the innovators among us: people and companies not content with simply selling stale gym memberships and well-worn exercise routines, but determined to forge new paths to feeling great. And in our stories dedicated to health news, research breakthroughs, outdoors exploration, and healthy local food, you’ll find dozens of tales powered by individual Portlanders’ yen to discover more about themselves and the world, all with the ultimate goal of living better.

Read this magazine, and you will also learn new things about how to make babies, and that those babies (and everyone else) can be identified by the very air around them. This may be a startling combination of facts, but this is Portland, where we think about all of it.

I’ll let you get to reading. Personally, I have rivers to run, mountains (OK, hillocks) to climb, and kilometers to log. If I won’t live forever, at least I have “Supernaut” on my iPhone, and I can do this stuff now.

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