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A new year and a new, healthier you

Trying to stick to a new exercise routine
this year? Consider joining a gym.

Many Oregonians are looking for ways to be healthier in 2011. Dr. Yen Nguyen of The Portland Clinic, an Oregon resident most of her life, has some tips specific to those living in the Pacific Northwest. “We are lucky enough to be living in an area of the U.S. that poses its own unique challenges and strengths,” says Nguyen, a University of Oregon graduate. “At The Portland Clinic we aim to tailor health care to the needs of our patients, and these are just a few of the recommendations that we recommend on a daily basis to patients.”

No excuses: Start exercising
Many times patients will mention that they can’t find enough time in the day to exercise and the response is always, “Make your day longer and get up earlier,” Nguyen says. Some of the healthiest people in the world have one thing in common: They make exercise as much part of the daily routine as making the bed or brushing your teeth. However, the hours of daylight in Oregon dwindle during the winter and motivation to exercise can drop dramatically. To keep motivations high, consider training for a race, exploring a hiking trail during the summer, or working out during a lunch break when it’s light outside. Consider joining a gym and trying out its scheduled exercise classes. There is usually something for everyone, from dance classes, Muscle Blast classes or cycling classes.

Lay off of the daily vitamins
This year, the effectiveness of daily vitamins has been a hot topic amongst dietitians and health care providers. Whether they work or not is still to be determined, but what we do know for a fact is that the best way to “get your vitamins” is through food, according to Nguyen. That said, every Portlander should be taking a minimum of 400 IUs of vitamin D per day.

Drink more water
Living in a humid climate such as Oregon’s can lead to our body’s lack of thirst, which is why it’s important to drink water consistently throughout your day. A recent study completed by scientists from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University found that drinking a glass of water before meals will help with weight loss and in consuming less overall calories.

A minute on the lips, years on the hips
Nguyen recommends keeping a rough count of your daily calorie intake throughout the day. Portlanders can do this easily, just multiply your ideal body weight by 10 (i.e., 1,200 calories if you want to weigh 120 pounds) and then add another 600 calories if you’re moderately active, a few hundred more if you’re very active. It is all about practicing moderation and healthy eating habits.

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