Outdoors in Canada

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By Lucia Lecuna
This week we finally started to wear short sleeves shirts and flip-flops! Mother Nature finally decided to step in and hurry Spring along. This beautiful season displays more than flowers in the soil; it is the moment when people decide to go outside for more quality and healthy living.

Obviously, in a country like Canada the community has managed different and creative ways to stay active during the cold months, but the sunny days and the safety of moving and doing things outdoors, really invites people to turn off the TV and make the most of it. Canadians really enjoy being outside; they like to hike, bike, go boating, fire up the barbecue or just take the kids to a park for hours of active living and family time.

It was before this entire social nature boom started to amaze me, that my family doctor shared information with me. This is information that I considered important, to not only for new comers like me, but to all Canadians. This is because it is related directly to the weather conditions in Canada and the basic rule: stay healthy, enjoy the season and make the most of it. The following tips might be worth considering:

1. No matter what your skin complexion is, you must use sun block over the exposed skin. Originally, we believed that only Caucasians were at risk of developing skin Cancer (this is one of the most common kinds of Cancer). We now know that darker color skin types can also generate Cancer cells if they don’t protect their skin from UV rays. Hats, sunglasses and sun block lotion are meant to be used all year long. During the spring and summer season you are reminded to pay special attention to arms, hands and neckline skin, looking after these areas as much as you do for your face.

2. Allergies get triggered during the spring; if you are aware that this can happen to you, prevention is the best way to deal with it. Drugs for severe allergies can be provided only with a Doctor’s prescription. A timely tip is to ask for a refill before the season is in full bloom. Statistics show that a night time shower can wash away pollen that your hair and skin has been exposed to during the day. It’s a good idea to let your doctor know about any changes in your diet or personal hygiene (for you or your family) this can help determine what might cause allergies to erupt.

3. Shoes: some people like to run in their flip flops (I have seen plenty of people doing this here in Ontario), some also wear flip flops when riding a bike. Don’t – please, wear proper running shoes. Statistics show that ankles, knee joints and even hips can get hurt if you are not wearing the proper foot wear. You don’t have to spend hundreds on those running shoes, but if you plan to work out or do outdoors activity, plan on wearing the right shoes.

4. Use the trails, sidewalks or biking routes the cities have developed. I love to run, bike and walk. I now know I should also be careful of where I go; research shows that in Canada I have more chance to die by a car striking me, than suffering a gun shot wound. Towns have developed on-line maps of the routes that are created for safe outdoor activities. It is the best way to enjoy those outdoor sports. Talking about safety; check out the traffic signals and whether on your bike, walking or running, follow the rules the same way you would when behind the wheel of a car.

5. Hydrate before, during and after you enjoy any of the above activities. Outdoors activities consume your body’s reserve of water faster in this weather, than in winter. Always remember to carry a bottle of water with you.

Spring happens to be the best time to work on your lawn, to cut and weed the grass, do the gardening and handle all the little things needed to perk up your house for the good weather.

Exercise is important; remember to bend your knees instead of just leaning forward when picking up anything from the lawn, flower garden or outdoor patio. Use gloves; they can be silicone or gardening gloves, they will help avoid some of gardening injuries and scratches we often get as we welcome Spring. Don’t expect to get everything done in one day. Keep it simple, follow the rules, enjoy Mother Nature’s gift to us. Remember, we are supposed to enjoy this great weather, so don’t try to fit it all into one weekend.

Lucia Lecuna is a newcomer to Canada, a journalist who is enjoying her new lifestyle. Read all her articles on her Blog.

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