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January 18th, 2006 Craig Mosbaek | News Stories
 

Is Portland Really "Fat City"?

Don't be discouraged by Portland's drop in fitness rankings.

     
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IMAGE: LUKAS KETNER
Never let it be said we only focus on bad news around here.

Some good news got lost recently when local media such as the Portland Mercury, the Business Journal, and the Portland Tribune picked up on a troubling report from Men's Fitness magazine.

The glossy men's mag said Portland dropped from No. 6 to No. 17 this past year among America's fittest cities "largely on the basis of its TV habits ... This year, [Portlanders] logged more tube time than almost anyplace else."

But buried among the rankings measuring cities' health and fitness (Baltimore ranked at the top) by 36 measures (everything from the number of fast-food outlets to a mayor's participation in public fitness events) was a new category of "motivation."

And that's where Portland got an "A-."

The motivation measure basically indicates how much Portlanders get outside to exercise despite our cruddy weather.

Local health and fitness folks aren't surprised by the high mark.

"The people that exercise, love to exercise. They don't mind the rain," says Dr. Kerry Kuehl, associate director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Oregon Health & Science University.

Kuehl thinks many people move to Portland because of the abundance of outdoor recreational activities.

Colin Hoobler, who owns a personal fitness business called CH Physical Therapy and Personal Training in the Pearl, said his work around the country has convinced him the West has more of a fitness culture.

He says a dark, dreary day keeps him inside more but doesn't reduce his physical activity because he becomes a "gym rat" in the winter.

Hoobler adds that in Portland "there is not much to do other than fitness activities. The night life is not particularly that great."

Whoops, some bad news after all.


To read the Men's Fitness article online, go to www.mensfitness.com/rankings/358.
 
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