Monday, May 31, 2010

do you move yourself?

Help local researchers figure out why you choose to move your body! 
(click on image to get larger view)

Friday, May 28, 2010

doctors doing it

How to exercise without "exercising": walk places you need to go! I would add only that to walk for utilitarian purposes is made better if there are decent places to walk (traffic-calmed streets, shade trees, trails, etc.). Walking on Main Street though downtown Hamilton does not qualify.


Local physicians walk the talk

Special to The Hamilton Spectator

(May 28, 2010)
Docs who walk: Doctors are well-known for working long, unpredictable hours under stressful conditions.
So how can doctors -- who are in the business of promoting good health -- find time for regular exercise?
One solution is to build exercise into everyday activities, say Hamilton Health Sciences physicians who walk to stay physically active.
Diabetes specialist Hertzel Gerstein conducts meetings with colleagues while walking.
Cardiologist Greg Curnew organized a lunchtime walking group called the Million Step Club.
And cancer specialist Richard Tozer walks to work every day, year-round. Tozer's daily trek includes climbing the escarpment stairs.
Pedometers: "Many people will spend the day doing essentially no activity," says Gerstein, who wears a pedometer every day to track his steps.
This small device is worn near the hip to count and record the number of steps taken. There are many types of pedometers on the market.
"The really cheap ones are not that reliable," warns Gerstein, who recommends spending at least $25 for a dependable model.
It's recommended that people take at least 10,000 steps a day -- the equivalent of walking eight kilometres. Yet the average Canadian takes only 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day.
"It's very informative for people to wear a pedometer to see what they're actually doing," says Gerstein, who aims for 13,000 to 14,000 steps a day.
Wearing one could be a wake-up call for people with desk jobs.
"You may find at the end of the day you've walked 1,000 steps -- which is almost nothing."
Studies have shown that the pedometer should be worn as close as possible to the top point of the hip bone for maximum accuracy, says Curnew. Wearing it closer to the centre of the body gives inaccurate readings.
Talk and walk: "If I have meetings with people in my office, we often do strolling meetings where we can talk and walk at the same time," says Gerstein, who works at the McMaster University Medical Centre.
"There's no reason why two people have to sit across a desk to have a meeting."
When Gerstein has documents to read or notes to dictate, he'll do this while walking the halls, as long as it doesn't involve confidential information.
Healthy choices: Being physically active can help prevent disease -- including diabetes, adds Gerstein.
"Studies have shown very clearly that if you do an average of about 30 minutes of brisk walking at least five days a week, combined with very modest dietary changes, it reduces your risk of diabetes by 50 to 60 per cent."
Physical activity is also one of the best ways to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, adds Curnew, who wears a pedometer and aims for 10,000 to 15,000 steps a day.
When you're active 30 to 60 minutes a day on most days of the week, you can dramatically lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario.
Regular activity also helps prevent and control risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity. Adding more activity to your daily life may also reduce stress levels, increase energy and improve sleep and digestion.
"We're trying to get people to be active," says Curnew, who encourages his patients to wear a pedometer and join his Million Step Club.
"If you do 10,000 steps a day, it takes roughly three months (to walk one million steps)."
Curnew has also organized group walks from his office. They will start in June and take place every Thursday during the lunch hour.
In addition to walking at least 10,000 steps a day, Curnew recommends aiming for seven hours of sporting activity per week as a way to improve cardiovascular fitness. His sport of choice is squash.
Weight loss: If weight loss is your goal, physical activity alone won't be enough, says Gerstein. "You need to combine dietary changes with physical activity."
For many people, all it takes is a small reduction in what they're eating each day.
"If you can cut 200 calories a day out of your diet, that can add up to a 10-pound weight loss over a year," says Gerstein.
Tozer, an oncologist at the Juravinski Cancer Centre, lost 40 pounds by walking to work every day and following the Weight Watchers program where all foods are assigned a point value based on the calorie, fat and fibre content.
Tozer doesn't wear a pedometer. Instead, he walks at a very brisk pace over set time periods. It takes him 40 minutes to walk from his home to the Juravinski Cancer Centre on Hamilton Mountain. He walks home whenever possible, and also goes for regular evening walks lasting 90 minutes.
"I basically traded in my briefcase for my knapsack, and I've never looked back," says Tozer. He credits walking with helping him to trim down and improve his stamina.
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, up to 35 per cent of all cancers can be prevented by being active, eating well and maintaining a healthy body weight.
After not smoking, maintaining a healthy body weight is one of the best things people can do to reduce their risk of getting cancer.
Walk with the doc
What & Who: Free midday group walks with Dr. Greg Curnew are open to anyone.
When: noon Thursdays starting in June. Contact number below for exact date.
Where: Meet at Dr. Curnew's office, 414 Victoria Ave. N.
Contact: 905-667-0783

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photo: Ron Albertson, the Hamilton Spectator

Monday, May 17, 2010

racing past discussion

Check out this move - with no real planning or community discussion, the group wanting to build a Pan Am Velodrome decided to forgo the synergy of having the track built along with the Pan Am stadium and somehow selected Dundas; with the local councillor's approval. How can these decisions be made with no input from the community?

As advocates for hiking and walking in the Dundas area, we need to know if the hasty plans have been thorough, or as it appears, knee jerk. Unless hikers want elite mountain bike racers speeding past them on the nearby footpaths...

"The NCCH believes the Dundas site would best serve three of the four cycling disciplines as it is close to road cycling routes and mountain biking trails."

What trails are they referring to? RBG trails? Bruce Trail? Neither of which are open for cycling, being footpaths in naturally sensitive areas? Or do they consider Dundas Valley trails close? How well thought out is this plan?

RESTORE COOTES: footpath or cycle path?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Good Fences Make Good Dog Neighbours

Council considers first fenced leash-free dog area in west end"
Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News Staff

Published on May 06, 2010

As a city staff review of a controversial Dundas leash-free dog running area enters its fifth month, city councillors will consider placing a fence around another leash-free park for the first time.

A notice of motion was given at this week’s public works committee meeting. The motion, if approved at the committee’s May 31 meeting, would direct city staff to install a fence around a leash free park in Hamilton’s west end. This would be the first fenced leash-free or free-running area operated by the city. Three unfenced free-running areas are located in Dundas, plus one in Ancaster.

According to the motion, there have been an increasing number of “dangerous interactions” between off-leash dogs and children or families using a playground in the same park. “…effectively fencing off the leash-free and playground uses of the park will provide a workable solution for all users,” the motion states.

As previously reported by the Dundas Star News, most municipalities with leash free areas within parks enclose the free running areas with fences – particularly when there is any chance of interaction with other park users, or to keep dogs away from conservation or environmentally significant areas.

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals supports leash free areas that are fenced, for the protection of the dogs who use them.

In Hamilton, leash free dogs are not permitted in environmentally significant areas or conservation areas. Warren Park, which is home to an unfenced free running area, is frequented by people using various trails, is located within an ESA and surrounded by Hamilton Conservation Authority property.

Change the rules

A group of dog owners who allow their pets to run at large in Warren Park has asked the city to change the rules for leash free areas to allow the use to continue. Another group has requested the leash-free designation be eliminated.

A staff report and recommendation on Warren Park’s leash-free status is expected by August.