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Get fit in the new year by making it simple

If 2013 is the year you’re mounting an effort to improve your health, the following five words will be helpful: commitment; goals; plan; patience, and resources.

That’s according to Dr. Brian Evans, emergency department medical director at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital (SNMH), who counsels people who want to make improvements to keep things simple and, “look for options instead of excuses.”

The community offers many options, from personal fitness trainers and gyms to the hospital’s Wellness Center, which offers a variety of classes designed to inspire and support success. But commitment comes first, he said.



Evans also urged anyone embarking on a healthier lifestyle to consult first with their own personal physician, who can help assess health status and set realistic goals.

“Making a commitment to a healthier life is a big step, and a great gift to yourself and your family,” he said. Success is more probable for those with a realistic view of their current health, plus a vision of what can be achieved in a month or a year.




“Health goals aren’t just important – they’re mandatory,” Evans cautioned, and should focus on health if they are to succeed.

“If you want to play with those grandkids, take that trip, or avoid doctors like me, it’s time to get serious!” Evans said.

A healthy lifestyle should include good diet and regular exercise, he noted.

“You can buy any number of books on special diets, but I say keep it simple: Eat mostly a plant based diet, avoid processed foods and beverages, and keep the quantities reasonable.”

As for exercise – especially for older adults – Evans suggests finding something that will be enjoyable, low-impact and fairly convenient. “Set up a plan that is achievable and has a low likelihood of injury,” he said. “Walking is probably the best option for many older adults, but there are other low impact activities, such as yoga classes or swimming.”

A certified fitness trainer can help customize an exercise program.

People shouldn’t expect overnight change, he said.

“Be patient with yourself, and give yourself permission to make mistakes,” Evans said. “Know that changes in the way you look or feel may not happen as rapidly as you would like.”

He also observed that plans have to be changed occasionally to help people stay motivated and interested.

Evans said the hospital’s Wellness Center is an excellent resource for “kick starting a healthy lifestyle.”

Debbie Wagner, RN, director of the center, said a new Healthy Living series developed at Stanford will be launched this year for people who want to improve overall health or manage chronic conditions like diabetes and chronic pain. The six-week series will provide facilitated workshops to help participants set personal goals and action plans.

“We’ll cover nutrition, exercise, relaxation, and overall improved health behavior,” she said. “It’s all about self-management.”

Additional smoking cessation classes have been scheduled, as well. The Wellness Center also provides heart and cancer screenings.

For more information about the SNMH Wellness Classes offered year round, call (530) 274-6124.

All physicians providing care for patients at SNMH are members of the medical staff and are independent practitioners, not employees of the hospital.


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