Healthy changes for the New Year

Holiday resolutions can be maintained by making small, incremental changes

2017 is here and for many of us we are looking for ways to maintain or improve our health. The start of a new year is often the time when people decide to make changes that can have a positive impact on their health. Physical activity is a great way to keep your body and mind healthy, and it is easy to incorporate into your daily routine, if you take small steps.

If you are just starting out, think about the small changes you can make to improve your health. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Walking is one of the best ways to build physical activity into your day. Halton has a beautiful landscape, from the escarpment in the North to Lake Ontario in the south, with many conservation areas and walkable communities in between. Take some time to get outside, enjoy the fresh winter air and walk for your health.
  • Increase the amount of time you spend moving each day. At home and at work, take regular walking and exercise breaks.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, both at work and in the community, to build more physical activity into your day.
  • For families, there are many fun activities you can do together to help keep everyone get and stay healthy. From walking, skating and skiing outdoors to swimming and playing sports indoors at your local community centre – the options are endless!

To meet your weekly requirements for vigorous physical activity—a minimum of 2.5 hours a week—set goals that incorporate active living into your daily routine. Physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease, some types of cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, depression, stress and anxiety. These are great reasons to get started today!

Halton’s website has a many great resources to help people of all ages stay healthy and physically active. To learn more, visit halton.ca/healthyliving. By making small investments in our wellbeing, we can better enjoy everything that makes Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Protecting yourself during the flu season

It’s that time of year again when the kids are coming home with coughs and runny noses and we know flu season has begun.  Most healthy people recover from the flu within a few days; however, influenza infection can lead to pneumonia, hospitalization, and even death, especially for the elderly, those under five years of age, and those with certain chronic health conditions.

Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to protect yourself and those you love from getting sick.

Halton Region’s Health Department reports the best way to protect against getting and spreading the flu is to get the annual influenza immunization (flu shot). Remember that when you protect yourself, you protect those around you who may be at risk of severe illness from the flu.

There are many options which make it easier for you to get your flu shot.

Click here for a link to Ontario’s Flu Clinic Locator, which will give you the locations of all flu immunization clinics including pharmacies.”

In Halton, you can get your flu shot at your physician’s office, walk-in clinics, many pharmacies and some workplaces. Be sure to call the walk-in clinic or pharmacy before you go. Halton Region is also offering flu immunization clinics throughout the Region.

In addition to getting vaccinated, you should take everyday precautions by washing your hands frequently, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth because the influenza virus enters your body through these routes.  If you are sick, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading your illness to others, and talk to your doctor if your illness continues to worsen or does not begin to improve after a few days.

For more information on the flu, please dial 311 or visit www.halton.ca/flu.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Paramedic Week: Recognition, ambulance donation and thank you

Day in and day out, Halton Region’s Paramedic Services are on our streets saving people’s lives and responding to emergencies. During Paramedic Week (May 26-June 2), I want to recognize them for the great work they do in Halton.

In addition to their life-saving efforts, I also want to highlight their commitment to enhancing the health and safety of our whole community, both here at home and abroad.

Here at home, for example, Halton’s Paramedic Services offer CPR and defibrillator Paramedic response time goalstraining, and have worked hard to install defibrillators in municipal buildings across Halton.

During Paramedic Week Halton Region Paramedic Services is showing their community commitment by donating 3 decommissioned ambulances to 2 charities:

  •  St. John Ambulance will use one of the vehicles to enhance service by providing first aid at public events in Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills. Halton Region has donated ambulances to all of Halton’s local St. John Ambulance branches in the past.
  • Ozone Systems International for use in South Sudan.

St. John Ambulance will use one of the vehicles to enhance service by providing first aid at public events in Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills. Halton Region has donated ambulances to all of Halton’s local St. John Ambulance branches in the past.

Ozone Systems International will receive the other two vehicles and will send them to South Sudan to move sick and injured patients to the hospital. Currently, there are only 3 ambulances servicing 3 million people in the area.

Previous international donations include Feed the Children (sent to Haiti) and the Rotary Club of Burlington (sent to Ecuador).

Please join me in congratulating the recipients of the ambulances as well as thanking the Paramedics whose generosity and care know no boundaries.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Family Day Activities

Family Day is a great opportunity to get outside, spend time together and enjoy the many opportunities we have in Halton to be active. The cold weather and mountains of snow we have this year can make it even more fun to go skiing, skating, or enjoy the scenery at one of our many parks or conservations areas. All you need is to make a few preparations first to ensure you’re ready for the day:

Winter Tips

  • Be sure to check the forecast and dress for the weather.
  • Wear layers of clothing and cover as much skin as possible.
  • Don’t forget sunglasses and sunscreen on sunny days.

Many of our healthy living community partners like Conservation Halton and Bronte Creek Provincial Park have Family Day Activities planned. Also, check out your local recreation department in Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville for activities. Finally, have a look at our Family Fun in Halton brochure for ideas of ways to stay active during any season.

Enjoy our beautiful region and your Family Day!

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhaltonLinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Planning for vibrant communities while making it easier to walk, bike and roll across Halton

Halton residents have one of the highest standards of living in Canada and a large part of that is because of Halton Region’s commitment to being well planned. Halton’s dedication to planning complete and vibrant communities helps make Halton a great place to live and to support that, the Region is creating a plan that will impact how people move around the Region to the year 2031.

By creating a 20-year vision for active transportation across Halton, the first RegionalATMP Active Transportation Master Plan will make it easier to walk, bike and roll across Halton. The plan will give us a strategy for infrastructure like bike lanes and multi-use paths, as well as initiatives and programs for active transportation to promote people-powered travel throughout the Region. 

The plan will help improve connections within and between the Local Municipalities and offer easier access to sustainable transportation choices. By looking at our existing infrastructure, identifying ways to improve it, looking at different opportunities and working with residents, we’ll be able to show what the best possible active transportation system will look like up the year 2031. 

Some of the Active Transportation Master Plan highlights include developing cycling and walking networks, active transportation tools (like a map or trip planner), as well as promoting cycling and pedestrian safety.

As a Regional Government, we want to design a network of safe, well-connected and convenient routes and to integrate these into the community. This will help us to provide facilities that will give people greater choice in how they travel throughout our Region and help encourage physical activity. 

Throughout the planning process, we’ve met with various stakeholder groups, our Local Municipal partners, residents and others to ensure we create a plan that works for all of us. Working together is critical and reflective of our commitment to being resident focused. 

ATMP_meetingsWe would like to hear from you because together, we can plan for a great Halton where it’s easier to walk, bike and roll across the Region. Please visit our website at www.halton.ca/activetransportation to fill out an online feedback form; email us at activetransportation@halton.ca; or dial 311 to share your feedback.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Celebrate the season!

Searching for a new festive season tradition? This December, discover Halton! From outdoor adventures to special events at our museums, theatres and other community organizations, fine dining, shopping and much more, Halton is the perfect community for your winter “staycation”.

Taking the time to explore your own community has plenty of benefits. You have the chance to discover hidden treasures in your own backyard, at your own pace, without the stress of booking hotels, plane tickets, packing and everything else that goes along with travel vacations.  Vacationing at home is more cost effective and since it doesn’t involve air travel, is environmentally friendly.

Here is just a small sample of what awaits you in Halton this holiday season.

In Burlington

  • Celebrate winter at RBG with Holiday Traditions, RBG’s annual holiday season event featuring Canada’s best all-botanical model train installation. Every weekend, enjoy musical entertainment, local school and adult choirs, and light and model train displays. While you are there, take the kids to visit with a traditional Santa. This event runs until January 5, 2014.blog

 

  • Take in a live performance. The Burlington Performing Arts Centre has many shows to choose from, including the Nutcracker, John McDermott, and even the Ed Sullivan Show, to name just a few.  Or if you are looking for a free activity the whole family can enjoy, head over to Spencer Smith Park for a skate.

In Halton Hills

  • Avoid border crossing delays — plan a shopping trip to Toronto Premium Outlets in Halton Hills. You’ll find an exciting collection of 85 outlet stores with new offers daily.blog2
  • Enjoy winter at the Acton Winter Carnival, the last weekend in January, 2014.  This annual event features horse & carriage rides, ice skating, outdoor curling, ice sculpting, bingo and much more.

In Milton

  • Try a new winter adventure! Participate in the Season of First Frost at Crawfordblog3 Lake. Rent some snowshoes and explore the trails. Join experienced guides hikes and tours of the Iroquoian village. Runs until February 9, 2014, weekends and holidays.

 In Oakville

  • Looking for a refreshing start to the New Year? Take the plunge into the icy cold waters of Lake Ontario at the Courage Polar Bear Dip at Coronation Park in Oakville. This fund raising event helps provide clean water in developing countries. January 1, 2014.blog4
  • Experience an Authentic Homestead Christmas at Bronte Creek Provincial Park.  This event runs until Monday, December 23, 2013.

Enjoy this special time of year with your family and friends.  Rediscover your community. Halton offers countless opportunities – truly something for everyone. For more to see and do in Halton, visit the Region’s tourism portal, Discovering Halton. Find Halton Tourism on Facebook and join the conversation on Twitter @HaltonTourism or Pinterest at pinterest.com/haltontourism.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Preparing for the Flu Season

The kids are well into school routines, the pumpkins are ready, the Maple Leafs are off to another great start (7-3 as of this posting) and also like clock-work but much less fun…the flu season is coming.

In the same fashion as the Leafs have been hard at work preparing to improve on last year’s dramatic play-off exit at the hands of the Boston Bruins, Halton Region has been busy preparing for another round of influenza (flu) immunization clinics.

People of all ages can get the flu. It’s important to keep in mind that by protecting yourself from the virus, you are also protecting other people in your life who may be at risk of severe illness from the flu.

Halton’s Health Department reports the best way to protect against getting and spreading the flu is to get the annual influenza immunization (flu shot). There are many options which make it easier for you to get your flu shot.

Click here for a link to Ontario’s Flu Clinic Locator, which will give you the locations of all flu immunization clinics including pharmacies.

Halton Region is offering 28 flu immunization clinics throughout the Region. Physicians’ offices, walk-in clinics, many pharmacies and some workplaces offer the vaccine too. Be sure to call the walk-in clinic or pharmacy before you go.

Personal protective measures are also an effective way to prevent catching or spreading the flu and many other common illnesses. These include:

  • Frequent hand washing with soap and warm water for a minimum of 15 seconds
  • Using an alcohol based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available
  • Staying home when you’re sick
  • Coughing and sneezing into your sleeve or a tissue
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of commonly touched surfaces such as door knobs, telephones, computers or remote controls

Here’s hoping to a healthy flu season and a successful Leafs’ season.

For more information on the flu, please dial 311 or visit www.halton.ca/flu.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”