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Being Active

Being physically active and reducing the time we spend sitting every day is important – it helps keep our bodies and our minds healthy and strong. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing many chronic diseases, like heart disease, type two diabetes, stroke, some cancers and falls. In addition, physical activity is good for the mind. It can relieve tension and stress, making us feel better. 

Staying Active

The HKPR District Health Unit works with community partners to promote physical activity in our communities by:

  • Promoting and supporting walking, cycling and wheeling as a healthy option to get to the places we need to go. 
  • Supporting our municipalities to develop healthy public policy to support being active where we live, work, play and go to school. What does this look like? The design and building of healthy communities with safe networks of sidewalks, pathways, bike lanes, and trails that connect people to one another and to the places they need to go. 

The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for different age groups provide recommendations for physical activity, sedentary behaviour (e.g. time spent sitting) and sleep, because the whole day matters to your health. 

Check out the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines by age range:

Many of us spend too many hours during the day sitting and not moving.  This is also called ‘sedentary behaviour’. Examples include sitting to watch TV or other screens, playing video games, or sitting in the car. Even people who are physically active every day, could still be putting their health at risk if they are sitting for long periods of time. 

It’s important to find ways to reduce the amount of time spent sitting and being sedentary throughout your day. 

Tips to reduce sedentary behaviour at home and at work: 

  • An important first step is to be more aware. Try using a screen saver or a timer. 
  • Stand up, move around and stretch more often at home, or at your desk or workplace. 
  • Cut down the time spent watching TV or do some physical activity while watching your favourite program.  
  • Take active breaks during your workday or on a long road trip. 

Active play involves physical movement during play and is natural for children and youth. It’s usually unplanned, self-directed and fun.  It lets children and youth try new things, test their own abilities and enjoy being active. It helps them build movement skills (for example, agility, balance and coordination) and gain confidence to be active in different settings. This is called physical literacy. Developing confidence in these movement skills help people to be active for life.     

For a list of activity ideas to develop movement skills see Playbook – Active For Life  

Active play has been shown to improve:

  • Gross and fine motor skills 
  • Creativity 
  • Decision-making 
  • Problem-solving 
  • Controlling emotions and behaviours 
  • Social skills – sharing, taking turns, helping others, working out conflicts Speech (in preschoolers) 

Play in nature supports children and youth to be active for longer periods of time.  It can get them moving in different ways (e.g. climbing hills, balancing on logs, and building forts) and feeling good about themselves. 

Connecting with nature is also good for mental health and wellbeing and promotes quality of life for everyone. 

Natural outdoor areas can provide shade and create cooler, more comfortable places to be active. 

Learn more about 18 ways to get kids to go outsidefrom Active for Life. 

Trails can support recreational physical activity such as hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing as well as active transportation to get to everyday places such as work, school, community services and places of business. 

Click on the links below to find information about local trails: 

Active transportation is any form of transportation that’s powered by human energy. Examples include walking, cycling or wheeling. 

Active transportation can be part of an everyday routine and is a great way to be physically active. It can be used to get to work or school, go shopping or to visit friends and family. For longer distances, you can combine active transportation with public transit where available. Every transit trip starts and ends with walking, cycling or wheeling which increases your level of daily physical activity.  

When. you are being active, always consider do it safely! .   

Parachute Canada provides the most up-to-date information regarding helmets, cycling safety, pedestrian safety, concussions, ATV safety in general and for children and youth, and much more. 


A concussion is a brain injury. It can’t be seen on X-rays, CT scans or MRIs. It may affect the way a person thinks, feels and acts.

Any blow to the head, face or neck may cause a concussion. A concussion may also be caused by a blow to the body if the force of the blow causes the brain to move around inside the skull. A concussion can happen to anyone – anywhere – including:

  • at home, school or your workplace
  • following a car, bike or pedestrian accident
  • from participating in games, sports or other physical activity

A concussion is a serious injury. While the effects are typically short-term, a concussion can lead to long-lasting symptoms and even long-term effects.

Everyone can help recognize a possible concussion if they know what to look for.

A person with a concussion might have any of the signs or symptoms listed below. They might show up right away or hours, or even days later. Just one sign or symptom is enough to suspect a concussion. Most people with a concussion do not lose consciousness.

There are many signs and symptoms of a concussion to look out for, including:

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • ringing in the ears
  • memory loss
  • nausea
  • light sensitivity
  • drowsiness
  • depression

If you notice signs of a concussion in others, or experience any of these symptoms yourself, consult with a physician or nurse practitioner.

You can get a concussion even if you don’t black out or lose consciousness.

Slips and falls can also increase concussion risk, especially in:

  • young children
  • senior citizens

It is important to take time and heal if you have a concussion.

In some cases, concussions or repeat concussions can result in:

  • swelling of the brain
  • permanent brain damage
  • death

On July 1, 2019, new rules came into effect through Rowan’s Law, to improve concussion safety in amateur competitive sport.

If you are an athlete under 26 years of age*, parent of an athlete under 18, coach, team trainer or official and your sport organization has advised that you need to follow the rules of Rowan’s Law you need to:

  • review any one of Ontario's official Concussion Awareness Resources before registering or serving with your sport organization; and
  • review your sport organization’s Concussion Code of Conduct that they will provide to you; and
  • confirm that you have reviewed both of these resources every year with your sport organization(s)

* Exception: A sport organization that is a University, College of Applies Arts and Technology or other Post-Secondary Institution will be advising athletes of any age that they need to follow the rules of Rowan’s Law.

Review the Concussion Awareness Resources (if you are an athlete, parent, coach, team trainer or official).

Requirements for Sport Organizations

Ontario is a national leader in concussion management and prevention. Rowan’s Law (Concussion Safety), 2018 makes it mandatory for sports organizations to:

  1. ensure that athletes under 26 years of age,* parents of athletes under 18, coaches, team trainers and officials confirm every year that they have reviewed Ontario’s Concussion Awareness Resources

  2. establish a Concussion Code of Conduct that sets out rules of behaviour to support concussion prevention

  3. establish a Removal-from-Sport and Return-to-Sport protocol

* Special Rule: A sport organization that is a university, college of applied arts and technology or other post-secondary institution must not register any athlete regardless of age unless the same requirements are met.

The new rules requiring the review of Concussion Awareness Resources and Concussion Codes of Conduct came into effect on July 1, 2019.

The rules for removal-from-sport and return-to-sport protocols came into effect on January 1, 2022.

Read more about the concussion requirements for sport organizations

Requirements for School Boards

The Ministry of Education has a concussion policy (PPM 158: School Board Policies on Concussion) for school boards, school authorities and Provincial and Demonstration schools.

This policy was updated by the Ministry of Education to be consistent with Rowan’s Law, and new requirements that came into effect on January 31, 2020.

Read more about the concussion requirements for schools

Information for Health Care Providers

Physicians and nurse practitioners are specified as the only health care providers that can medically assess and provide confirmation of medical clearance for athletes to return to participation in amateur competitive sport.

Read more about the concussion requirements for health care providers

Information for Coaches

Coaches are uniquely positioned to promote concussion awareness and safety within a sport organization and may take on the role of a designated person with specific responsibilities under Rowan’s Law.

Access resources on the Coaches Association of Ontario website

The Government of Ontario has generated resources booklets on Concussions. This e-booklet will help you learn more about concussions so you can keep yourself and others active and safe — whether you’re an athlete, student, parent, coach, official or educator.

You can download and print a copy for reference.

DISCLAIMER: This information is not for emergencies. For emergencies, please call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest hospital or emergency department. It is also not intended to provide medical advice. For advice on health care for concussion symptoms, please consult with a physician or nurse practitioner.

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