Posts in Active Living
It's Sneezin' Season...

Submitted by Marina Hodson

This past Christmas, my husband had the flu for the first time in his life. Both of us tend to be healthy and rarely catch any of the bugs going around, so it came as such a shock to him that he would barely believe it was “just the flu” as he was quite certain it was far more serious and likely life-threatening.

While it completely knocked him out of commission for several days, he is fortunate in that he does not have a compromised immune system, is in his 40s and has no other illnesses. Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky. In Canada the flu leads to approximately 12,000 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths each year.  Particularly at risk are young children and adults over 65, so protect yourself and those around you.

  • First and foremost – wash your hands thoroughly and frequently! Good hand hygiene is the number one way to protect against both flu and colds.

  • Of course you should get your flu shot every year as it has been proven to reduce your likely hood of getting ill. As the flu virus is different every year, it is important to have the shot annually for your best chance of protecting against the current strain.

  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze using a tissue or your upper sleeve. 

  • And disinfect common surfaces such as keyboards, phones and door handles which may be touched frequently and by different people.

So protect yourself from the flu this season, but if you are one of the unfortunate ones to come down with it, remember to stay home to limit exposure to others and get plenty of rest and fluids.

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT

2019 Snowshoe Course Challenges College Champions

Submitted by Wayne Jolly

The Fenelon Falls Winter Festival 5K/10K snowshoe course was set to challenge the best in the province, providing vertical challenges unusual in snowshoe competition in Central Ontario, combined with single-track sections that challenged agility and speed. For the first time Sir Sanford Fleming College brought three Cross Country team members, including their Canadian 3K Obstacle Course Champion Andy Hein.

The competition this year was won by Luca Senk of Collingwood with a time of 45:15:78 followed by Bernie Hogan of Bancroft in a time of 49:34:72. In the Women's race Kelly Doner of Collingwood winning with a time of 1:19:04, followed by a member of the Fenelon Falls Flyers running club Elizabeth McKinnon of Lindsay in a time of 1:40:14.

Photo by Marylee Boston

Photo by Marylee Boston

5K and 10K Snowshoe Racers traveled from Collingwood, Elliot Lake, Kingston, London, and Ottawa to compete in the Provincial Championships in Fenelon Falls. Interestingly, 90% of the 10K and 50% of the 5K athletes traveled from outside the City of Kawartha Lakes for the Snowshoe Canada “Ontario Cup Series” which is a new benchmark.

Amazingly, the Women’s Super Master age category, composed mostly by Fenelon Falls and Bobcaygeon athletes was the most competitive field with 17 participants. Clearly the girls were out to “Kick It” and they did. Congratulations And a special Thank You to all of the volunteers who through their efforts made the Fenelon Falls Winter Festival a special day.

Where's the Beef?

Submitted by Marina Hodson


On Tuesday, Canada revealed its most recent edition of Canada’s Food Guide.  The first iteration, called “The Official Food Rules,” was introduced in July of 1942 in an attempt to mitigate nutritional deficiencies during wartime food rationing.

Over the years, the “Food Guide” has formed the basis of many Canadians’ nutritional knowledge, basing their healthy eating on the four food groups. Unfortunately, recent interviews by CBC showed that many Canadians have never heard of it, leaving me to question how valuable was the guide and what impact, if any, will it continue to have.

In my personal life, while I have not always followed it to the letter, it has definitely been the basis of what I consider to be a healthy diet. Certainly, the new pictorial provides a quick glance reference to remind us that our healthy diet should include a variety of fruits and vegetables which should ideally constitute 50% of our meal. Gone are milk and milk products as well as meat and alternatives from the 2007 edition, having been replaced by “Protein Foods.”

Additionally, what has been added and what dietitians and nutritionists will find heartening, is very basic and common sense eating advice such as drinking water, cooking more frequently, and sharing meals with loved ones. 

So why not take this opportunity to restart your healthy habits for the new year using Canada’s Food Guide as inspiration?

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT

Snowshoe Canada Ontario Provincial Championship

Submitted by Wayne Jolly

Snowshoe Canada’s Ontario Provincial championship for 2019 will be hosted by Snowshoe Kawartha and located in Fenelon Falls Ontario. The date for this year’s event is Saturday February 2, 2019. For the first time there will be $1000 prize purse for the top three men and women in the 10k feature event.

Now in its third season, the race is quickly gaining popularity and features a 5K and 10k snowshoe race along with a kids race and a woof walk with your dog. The organizers have a whole day of winter festival activities planned including Crokicurl and skating on Cameron Lake. A fabulous lunch is served to all snowshoe racers at the local church where the awards ceremony will be held. Go to to register.


Media release submitted by Kendra Fleming

If your New Year’s Resolution to quit or cut back on cigarettes has already gone up in smoke, this contest can give you a cash incentive to get back on track.

 The Wouldurather contest ( is open to young people in Ontario between the ages of 18 to 29 years who regularly smoke, only smoke socially, have stopped smoking, or never smoked in their lives. As the contest name implies, participants are asked if they would rather reduce smoking or win cash prizes.

 “If you’re are looking for a reason to give up or reduce tobacco use, the Wouldurather contest is a great way to motivate yourself,” says Jennifer Robertson, a Public Health Nurse with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. “Wouldurather offers you a chance to win cash for quitting, but also provides plenty of support to help you along the way.”

 People only have until January 27, to register for the Wouldurather contest, which runs over six weeks (January 28 to March 10). There are four categories to enter:

  • Quit For Good: Quit smoking completely and have a chance to win $2,500.

  • Keep The Count: Cut smoking by half to be eligible to win $1,000.

  • Party Without The Smoke: Cut out smoking while drinking or partying for a chance to win $500.

  • Don't Start and Win: Stay smoke-free for an opportunity to win $250.

 People can register with a ‘buddy’ who can support them during the contest. Additional quit-smoking resources are also available for participants in the Wouldurather contest, including access to no-cost nicotine replacement therapy (patch, gum).

 Robertson says January is a perfect time to quit smoking, since National Non-Smoking Week(January 20-26) and Weedless Wednesday (January 23) both occur this month. Woulduather is organized by Leave the Pack Behind, a program funded by the Ontario government that helps young people become tobacco-free.

 For media inquiries, contact:

Jennifer Robertson, Public Health Nurse, HKPR District Health Unit, 1-866-888-4577, ext. 2302.

Fall Prevention Tips

Submitted by Marina Hodson

When I started writing this column two years ago, it was shortly after my British mother in law fell on the ice.  As I drove through the freezing drizzle yesterday, it seemed an opportune time to revisit this topic.

According to Canada’s Public Health Agency, one in three Canadian seniors will fall at least once this year and half of those will fall more than once; of such incidents, 40% result in hip fractures.  The good news is – falls can be prevented!

  •  Start by eating well and keeping fit – inactivity increases your risk of falling so engage in daily physical activity.  Walk or participate in community activities which help to maintain your flexibility and balance such as Tai Chi.

  • Have your health care provider review your medications to see whether any of them might make you dizzy or sleepy, this should include both prescription and over-the counter medicines.  If you do require medication which may cause dizziness, adjust your activities and never mix medication with alcohol.

  • Put safety before fashion and make sure you choose proper footwear and use your safety aids.  Nobody thinks any less of you for looking after yourself and using a cane or walker when needed.

So get out there and enjoy Canadian winter safely and wisely. 

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT

Have a Holly Jolly...

Submitted by Marina Hodson

While some may call this the best time of the year, others among us may be fretting about the number of things left to do before the big day.

We all know the perils the season brings to our waistline, what we may lose sight of is that it can also threaten our overall well being at times.  So how can you protect yourself and ensure you will be healthy and happy to enjoy this special time with special people?

  1. Continue to exercise and be active. It is easy to let your exercise routine be the first thing to fall off your ever lengthening to do list, but not only will that disrupt your routine and make it harder to get back to exercising in the new year – exercise will give you the energy and stamina to face those other Christmas chores!

  2.  Protect yourself against colds and flu. Whether in the mall, at the office lunch or just meeting up with friends, this busy social time of year leaves us exposed to contagions.  So if you haven’t done so already, it’s not too late to get your flu shot and remember the best protection is good hand washing.

  3. Take time for yourself. While this is the season to think of others, running yourself ragged will not benefit anyone. Remember that it should be about being with loved ones and nobody will notice whether you remembered to dust the top of the fridge before they arrived.

So look after yourself as we move into this very special time of year.

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT


Submitted by Marina Hodson

No Man is an Island
— John Donne

This famous phrase, first written in a religious text in 1624, may never have been more appropriate than it is today. Despite our electronic connectedness, loneliness and isolation are becoming ever more frequent complaints in today’s society.

While we all need some solitude from time to time, a 2013 study published in the Journal Psychological Science actually found that social isolation increased people’s likelihood of death by 26 percent. It is no secret that we are a social species, but the importance interacting with others has on our overall physical and mental health has long been underestimated. In fact, health risks associated with social isolation were compared in magnitude to the dangers of smoking cigarettes in a frequently cited 2001 study by James House.

But it’s not all doom and gloom; unlike many physical ailments, loneliness is much easier to target. Even surrounding ourselves with others, without direct interaction, has been shown to have positive effect and a smile and kind word are free and easy to share. So make an effort to say hello to someone you don’t usually speak with, strike up a conversation in the grocery line or just have a coffee out. It will do your health good.

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT

Let's Talk Junk Food...

Submitted by Marina Hodson, Executive Director of Kawartha North FHT


So it is the season of candy and that seems the time to talk about what we eat.

We hear that term and maybe we are immediately drawn to see the golden arches, but let’s be honest, maybe sometimes we are not the best judge of what constitutes those items in our daily diet that we should be reviewing.

It is easy to identify the obvious culprits like that double cheeseburger and fries, but what are the unknown items we add daily that are upping our calorie count, adding to our sodium intake, and otherwise eliminating our efforts at maintaining a healthy diet?

Here are some of the things we don’t want to think about that may be gratifying in the moment but decrease our good health incrementally.

  • How about that small iced cappuccino you love at 360 calories?  Not an entirely unreasonable treat on occasion, but how about when you upgrade to the large one daily with the extra toppings that may top out at one third of your daily suggested caloric intake?

  • It is often the liquids we like to discount, how about the soda you are consuming?  If it is full of sugar, each can may contain an average of 39g of sugar.

  • But if you are watching what you drink and are trying to stick to water, how about you weekend breakfast?  One of our staples, our much loved bacon, contains 30mg of cholesterol per ounce and almost 70% of its calories come from fat.

All that being said, just be aware of what you are consuming. Never treating yourself to that piece of cheesecake will likely lead to failure of any healthy diet - just know what you are consuming. Enjoy that candy, but don’t have the whole Hallowe’en bag tonight.

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT

Don’t Let Pain Slow You Down...

Submitted by Marina Hodson

If you are anything like me, the changing weather will increase any discomfort you may have in your joints and make it awfully tempting to look for comfort on the couch, but this is likely the worst approach to take.


While movement may feel uncomfortable, it is vital in reducing joint pain, increasing strength and flexibility and helping to combat fatigue.  Don’t worry, you don’t need to run a marathon, even mild to moderate exercise will help.

Start slowly with range-of-motion exercises including stretching and try low impact activities such as Tai Chi or walking.  If able, move up to include strengthening exercises to build muscle and protect joints.  Avoid working the same muscle groups two days in a row and rest between workouts, particularly if your joints are painful or swollen.  Once you have two or three days per week of strength training in your routine, add aerobic exercises.  Try low impact activities such as swimming and split it into 10 minute intervals if you find it is easier on your joints.

Remember to keep it low impact and apply heat to sore joints prior to exercising to relax stiff joints.  Take a break if you are experiencing pain and apply ice after activity if needed.  Don’t overdo it and trust your body, but remember that exercise truly is one of the best things you can do for your sore joints – even if it does seem counterintuitive at first.

 So get active and keep moving.

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT