Healthy Abbotsford Blog

When it comes to playtime, it’s no risk, no reward

This article comes from Active for Life.

Picture of a young boy surfing


If you ever see that mother who appears to be deliberately not watching her child as the kid leaps and darts dangerously around the park, don’t judge her too harshly. She might be trying to encourage her daughter to take risks because she knows the benefits of those daredevil antics — but is also aware that in order for them to happen, said child needs to not be facing her mother’s worried eyes and panicked expression.

Ok, you got me. I’m that mother, and I’m given to, well, a little overprotection. But just because I would rather not view the riskiness, doesn’t mean I don’t get how important it is.

In Psychology Today is a fascinating article explaining the relationship between the way children play and their emotional development. The article cites studies in which young rats were exposed to all forms of social experience, excluding play time and the rats subsequently starting to “overact with fear and fail to adapt and explore as a normal rat would”, as well as similar studies with monkeys. These studies, among others, give credence to the “emotion regulation theory of play, the theory that one of play’s major functions is to teach young mammals how to regulate fear and anger so they can encounter real-life dangers, and interact in close quarters with others, without succumbing to negative emotions.”

As applied to children, then, its not just about Billy climbing a fence to prove to his friends he’s no scaredy-cat, it’s his opportunity to show himself that he can overcome his fears, so the next time he encounters a new experience, he is much more confident to take it on. Naturally, this doesn’t happen on the first try, and it isn’t something the child will understand, but with each instance that Billy takes on a new challenge in his playtime activities, he’s slowly preparing himself for more of life’s obstacles.

Click here to read the rest of the article.


Don’t Make These Mistakes When Running Outdoors

This is a great article from Shape magazine. Click here to access the original article.


Five mistakes you don’t want to make when hitting the trails

Warmer Spring weather inspires many to ditch the gym and run outside in the fresh air and on open roads. Before you make the switch from treadmill to street, avoid these common mistakes that could lead to injury.

Doing Too Much Too Soon

Between the steep hills, wind factor, uneven or slippery terrain, and not having a belt propelling you forward, running outside is harder than running on a treadmill. And since it’s more taxing on your muscles, you are more prone to shin splints and other pains. Start off with shorter distances on flat roads or trails, and as your endurance improves, gradually increase your mileage and hill work. If you experience shin pain, take a few minutes to walk and stretch out your lower legs. Don’t run through the pain because it may cause further injury, preventing you from running at all. When you’re not running, strengthen your shins with this exercise.

Trying to Maintain a Constant Pace

The treadmill belt keeps a consistent pace for you, so it’s easy to get into a rhythm. Outside is a whole new ballgame since you’re in charge of maintaining your speed. Aside from using your own muscles to propel each step, the steeper inclines, road obstacles, and uneven terrain make it harder to run fast. Don’t feel compelled to push yourself to run at the same pace you did on the treadmill you may end up falling or pulling a muscle. Run at a moderate and comfortable pace that allows you to run safely, and gradually increase your speed over several weeks. Check out these tips on how to become a faster runner.

Running on Pavement

Although easily accessible, pavement is a hard, unforgiving surface. Abruptly switching from a soft treadmill belt to a stiff road can be such a shock to the muscles and joints; some may find it hard to run half a mile without stopping in pain. Ease into running on the pavement by starting on the grassy areas between the sidewalk and the road, or better yet, stick to dirt roads or woodsy trails. Here are even more trail-running tips for the beginner.

Wearing the Wrong Shoes

A regular running sneaker was perfect for the flat, predictable surface of a treadmill, but once you head outdoors, make sure your sneaker’s tread can handle the gravel, dirt roads, and slick trails. You want a sneaker that supports your feet and offers a grippy sole so you feel confident moving over uneven surfaces.

Getting Lost

It’s easy to hit the ground running, but if you’re not paying attention, you may end up in an unfamiliar neighborhood or woodsy trail, with no clue as to how to get home. The adrenaline that builds from a panicked feeling of being lost can often make you run faster without paying attention to where your feet step, increasing the likelihood of tripping. Prevent getting lost by planning new routes before you head out the door. Always bring your phone along and try one of the many iPhone running apps that use a GPS to keep track of your location (I use the Nike+ GPS app). Taking a running buddy is also a smart idea, and get in the habit of telling someone where you’re going before you head out, just in case you get hurt or lost.




When Am I Too Sick to Workout?

This post comes from

Drop that Tissue and Give Me 20  — The Answer/Debate

If symptoms are above the neck (think runny nose or sore throat), it’s typically okay to continue working out, as exercising may even temporarily clear those sinuses and provide relief[7]. However, if there’s an issue below the neck (think cough, body aches, or chest congestion), it’s best to wait it out. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to working out sick, so evaluate the intensity of symptoms and err on the side of caution to prevent from feeling even worse.

Working out regardless of the cold? Lower the intensity of a normal workout. Try stretching and/or yoga, taking a long walk with the pup, or some light strength training. Sick days are bound to come around, so if the idea of attempting any form of exercise seems like the equivalent of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, take a break, put those hardworking feet up, and catch up on that favorite TV show.

Click here to read the whole article.


Is Your Pool an Accident Waiting to Happen?

Owning a pool in the summer can be fantastic! Help keep the good times rolling, complete an annual safety check. Whether it is an in-ground or above-ground pool it is important that every year it is checked to make sure that it is safe. The Lifesaving Society has created a checklist which outlines all the things to look for as well as a guideline document that tells you more detail about each item on the checklist.

Not only will this safety check help identify small issues before they become big issues, it will also help keep your family and friends safe while enjoying the summer sun.

Backyard Pool Checklist
Backyard Pool Safety Inspections Guidelines

Just like your car needs regular maintenance, so does your pool.

4 kids in an outdoor pool