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Keen Launches ‘Recess Revolution Tour’ in Downtown Portland Park

Published: Thursday, May 26, 2011, 3:09 PM

Updated: Thursday, May 26, 2011, 3:10 PM

By Allan Brettman, The Oregonian

Remember those grade school days of looking wistfully out the window while it rained buckets and you had to spend recess inside? It did not appear that any of the adults lined up this afternoon at Director Park in downtown Portland remembered those days. Free stuff can have that kind of effect.

Despite a persistent rain, an equally persistent line of people stretched from under the glass-covered portion of the park and into the rest of the plaza. They were taking part in the “Recess Revolution Tour,” part of the branding campaign launched by Keen, the Portland-based footwear company. The chance to win socks, T-shirts and even shoes keep them in line.

The tour is a series of events, a news release says, “to inspire people to reclaim playtime and regularly escape to the outdoors for much-needed breaks from the daily grind.” Portland was the first stop to be followed this summer by stops in San Francisco, Minneapolis, Denver, and Washington D.C.

Director Park featured tetherball stands, which were mostly dormant except for the most rain-tolerant of recess die-hards. Keen had seeded the event by contacting select companies and others in the town, including Zip Car, Powell’s Bookstore, Eco-Trust, Alpha Broadcasting and the Bike Gallery, offering pedicab rides from those downtown locations to Director Park.

Kay Ethen, a homemaker from Seattle, though, just happened to be visiting friends in Portland when she heard about the Recess Revolution Tour.

“I need a recess even for that,” Ethen said, after posing for a photo in a photo booth.

Keen, with the help of its advertising agency North, came up with the idea of Recess to build more brand awareness. But Keen also is touting the health benefits of pledging to set aside at least 15 minutes each work day for a healthy break from something as simple as a walk.

The news release says:

    Numerous studies tout the benefits of physical activity and spending time outdoors. For example, recent studies in the workplace conducted by Dr. Toni Yancey, author of Instant Recess and co-director of the Center for Health Equity and professor of health services at UCLA, and her colleagues show that taking short activity breaks during the workday, the time KEEN refers to as recess, is great for an individual’s health and well-being. “Short bouts of physical activity can lead to an entire range of health benefits from lifting mood, helping prevent or control depression, to improving productivity, partly through changes to our cognitive processing,” Yancey said. “It helps prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It helps to control our weight. Really, there almost nothing that it doesn’t improve.”

-- Allan Brettman; twitter.com/abrettman

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