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WALKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND

- Local Residents Encouraged to Enjoy Winter-Time Activities, But To Do So Safely -

Who needs to head south to escape winter when there are so many cool activities to embrace the season right here in your own backyard?

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit encourages local residents to get out and enjoy winter-related activities such as skating, hockey, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and tobogganing. People can also bundle up and get out for a walk or build a snowman. For more creative individuals, try the not-so-traditional winter pursuits such as playing ‘snow pitch’ (slow-pitch in the snow) or organizing a winter treasure hunt.

“We are fortunate to live in an area where we can enjoy four-season fun, and that includes getting out and enjoying winter activities,” says Sue Shikaze, a Health Promoter with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Being active is good for us, and is one way to beat the winter blahs.”

Research shows that regular physical activity helps maintain healthy body weight, assists those dealing with anxiety and stress, and reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart problems and stroke.

However people choose to be active, Shikaze encourages people to dress appropriately for the weather conditions, as well as always wear the right safety gear. According to the injury-prevention organization, Parachute, most injuries are predictable and preventable. Says Shikaze: “There is no such thing as an accident.”

Helmets are one of the most important safety items to wear for many winter sports. “The human skull is just one centimetre thick,” she adds. “A properly fitted helmet helps protect your brain by absorbing the force from a crash or a fall.”

With the holidays approaching, Shikaze says helmets are worth considering as a gift idea. “You are showing others that you care about their well-being and want them to look after themselves by being active,” she notes. “Helmets are a great way to wrap up your love for someone.”

In choosing a helmet, Shikaze recommends buying a new one, since the crash history and age of second-hand helmets are not readily known. Most helmets are good for five years, and many have a sticker that gives their expiration date. As well, many helmets are only meant for a “single impact,” meaning they should not be used again if they have been involved in a crash already, she adds.

To make sure the helmet fits, it is recommended people read the instructions, tighten up the straps, and shake their heads to ensure helmets are not loose. “The helmet needs to fit snugly on you, and it needs to be the right one to use for that sport,” Shikaze adds. “In the case of tobogganing, a hockey, skiing or bicycle helmet can do the trick.”

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For media inquiries, contact:

Sue Shikaze, Health Promoter, HKPR District Health Unit, (705) 457-1391, ext. 3249,

or Krista Skutovich, Health Promoter, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100, ext. 1334. 

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