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Archive for June, 2014
Friday, June 27, 2014

Before you think only other swimmers drown, have a word with yourself


Submitted by:  Shauna Woodmass, Education Specialist, Health Promotion
Prairie Mountain Health


“Before you think only other swimmers drown, have a word with yourself.” This is a water safety message created by Parachute Canada and The Community Against Preventable Injuries. These are national organizations who aim to raise awareness of preventable injuries and save lives. This
messaging is part of a national campaign to not only raise awareness, but provide an opportunity
for people to think about their behaviours and attitudes around the water.


Drowning is the second leading cause of injury related death in Canadian children, with almost 60 children drowning each year, the equivalent of more than two classrooms full of children. For every death, there is an estimated four to five additional near drowning incidents requiring hospitalization. The Community Against Preventable Injuries states that 20% of Canadians believe a child under six without a lifejacket on is safe near water as long they aren’t swimming. The reality is that 79% of children who drown entered the water unintentionally.


A small child can disappear in seconds and can drown in only a few centimeters of water. Young children (age 1-4) and men (age 15-44) are at the greatest risk of drowning. Drowning among toddlers and infants typically occur in bathtubs and pools, while older children and youth are more likely to drown in larger bodies of water.


During National Drowning Prevention Week (July 20-26, 2014) the local Health Promotion team from Prairie Mountain Health will be visiting spray parks and paddle pools within Brandon, to promote water safety. Towels with the message “before you think only other swimmers drown, have a word with yourself” will be laid out at spray parks and pools to remind people to be safe around water as everyone is at risk of drowning. Health Promotion staff will be on site to engage in conversation with parents and caregivers about the topic of water safety and provide important tips for keeping your family safe this summer.


How can you keep your children safe around water?


  • Active supervision is key. Whether they are in the bathtub, at the local pool, water park or beach, parents should always stay within sight and arms reach of their children, even if the child can swim. Lack of adult supervision is a factor in many child drownings.
  • Proper fencing of backyard pools. While backyard pools can provide relief from the hot summer heat, they can be dangerous for small children. A proper four-sided fenced pool with a self-closing and self-latching gate can help ensure that your family and friends are safe. It is estimated that seven out of 10 children drownings can be prevented with proper pool fencing.   
  • Use lifejackets! Young children and those who are weak swimmers should wear lifejackets when they are in, on or around water. Life jackets and personal floatation devices provide extra protection for children; however, they should not be used as a substitute for active supervision. Make sure the lifejacket fits and ensure all buckles and straps are done up properly.
  • Training in first aid and CPR. In the event of a near drowning, first aid and CPR training can be critical live saving skills. Check out courses offered by St. John’s Ambulance and the Canadian Red Cross to become certified.  
  • Enroll your children in swimming lessons. Consider registering your child for lessons to learn swimming skills and build confidence around water. Remember, knowing how to swim is an important skill, but it should not take the place of active adult supervision. If you are an adult who is a weak swimmer, consider enrolling yourself in swimming lessons. Check out the Brandon Community Sportsplex, Brandon YMCA and your local community swimming pools for more information on swimming lessons.


Serious injuries do happen. So in the midst of busy and hectic lives, it is important to take a moment and have a word with yourself before getting into the water…this could be all it takes to prevent injury and save your life or the life of your child.


For more information visit: ; ;


Posted by Regional Health Authority @ 14:57 | E-mail this blog entry to a friend | PermaLink

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Clara's Big Ride Rolls into Brandon




Submitted by:  Prairie Mountain Health




On March 14, 2014, six-time Olympian, Clara Hughes, set out on a national bicycle tour that will span over 110 days, 12,000 kilometers and hit every province and territory in Canada, all in support of Mental Health. Clara’s Big Ride for Bell Let’s Talk was created to reach Canadians at a grassroots level and is designed to encourage long-term positive change in communities and help eradicate stigma associated with mental illness.




Brandon and the Westman Region is preparing to welcome Clara by holding the


“You Don’t Have to Ride Alone” event. This takes place on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at the Healthy Living Centre at Brandon University, doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the event gets started at 6:30 pm.




Ride, run, walk, or commute with family, friends and neighbors to meet Clara, cheer her on and help support her message to keep the conversation rolling for an end to the stigma surrounding mental illness. The event will feature autographed door prizes, Drums Alive performance, awards and presentations, along with mental health and physical activity information and displays.




Along with Clara’s message fits the fact that regular exercise is helpful in maintaining good physical health; preventing chronic diseases; as well as being helpful in improving overall mental health.




Research has shown the following:


  • People who exercised regularly were less likely to report mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety than those who were not active.
  • People with mild-moderate depression who began a regular exercise program found benefits similar to taking an antidepressant medication or participating in psychological treatment
  • Children with ADHD who exercised regularly reported fewer behavior problems than they had before they began exercising
  • Older adults who are active showed improvement in memory function
  • Overall exercise can improve the way we feel about our bodies and overall self-confidence
  • People who exercised regularly reported being less bothered by stress








How does exercise work to improve our mental health?


Research suggests that exercise can work several ways to improve our mood and functioning.


  • One way is that different chemicals in our body that naturally make us feel good, such as endorphins, are released during exercise.
  • Another way exercise might help is by improving the way one might feel about his or herself if they lose weight, see themselves as more fit, and feel stronger or less “out of shape”.
  • Other people enjoy benefit from noticing themselves improve by exercising for longer, or by knowing they are doing something they have control over to improve their health.
  • Individuals who exercise regularly typically report better sleep which in turn can help us feel better.
  • Other people find the best benefits from exercise as being a distraction from stresses in their life, a way to “burn off” stressful energy, or as a time to be with other people.




Recommendations for activity.


 Children and youth are encouraged to get 60 minutes of moderate-vigorous activity per day; adult are encouraged to get 2.5 hours per week of moderate-vigorous activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more.


For more information: or  




Tips to get moving


1 – Start slowly. Many people believe that to exercise means being able to jog for an hour at a time. While that may be a goal for some people, it can be a deterrent for others. People are more likely to begin exercising when they start with an activity that they can do comfortably for an amount of time they can do comfortably (such as walking for 20 minutes) and then increase your intensity (walking faster), your time (walking for longer) or the frequency of your activity (walking more often). Increasing slowly actually makes it more likely you will continue your activity for the long term.




2 – Be realistic about what you are capable of starting with, how much time you have available to exercise, and the time of day you would be most likely to be active – don’t set yourself up to fail with unrealistic expectations. You will be most likely to continue to exercise if you can build it into a routine; For example, first thing in morning, at lunch break, after supper, or during a TV program. Do what will work best for you.




3 – Involve others. You might find you are more motivated to exercise by being active with someone else whether it be playing with your children, or having a friend or family member as an exercise buddy.




4 – It helps if you can find an activity you enjoy. Not everyone will enjoy every activity. Luckily there are lots of choices such as walking, swimming, aerobics class, etc. and everyone can find something they




5 – Something is always better than nothing. You may have set a goal to exercise for 30 minutes but find that you only have 15 minutes left in the day. Choosing to exercise for those 15 minutes will be better your body and brain than choosing not to exercise until you have a free 30 minutes.




Check with your health care provider if you an unsure if it is safe for you to exercise and before changing your current treatment plan for a mental health concern that you have.




For more information: or #ClarasBigRide










Posted by Regional Health Authority @ 10:28 | E-mail this blog entry to a friend | PermaLink

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