Tag Archives: Manitoba

Take advantage of the sun while you can!

30 Sep
Autumn Landscape

Autumn Landscape (Photo credit: blmiers2)

At this time of the year, the days just keep getting shorter.  Our moments in the sun are becoming fewer.  This is all the more reason to get out there and enjoy it while we can.

Exposure to the sun has several benefits.  One important benefit is the suns ability to enhance our mood or feeling of well being.  Many people are affected by SAD or seasonal affective disorder.  People with SAD basically become less happy as their time in the sun is reduced – usually due to the shorter days we experience during the winter months.

Another benefit of the sun is that it helps our bodies make vitamin D.  Vitamin D is important for bone health and is found infrequently in foods.  Even a few minutes of sun exposure to your skin and eyes daily can make a big difference.  Sun screen does reduce the suns effect on vitamin D production.  A few minutes of exposure per day is all you need without sun screen but with sun screen you will need a little more time outside.

A third benefit of the sun is reduction of circadian rhythm sleep disorders.  If you’re having difficulty sleeping at night, enjoying some sunlight early in the day may help reset your body’s internal clock.

There are many ways to spend time outside.  We can go for a walk at any time of the year.  Sometimes it gets difficult to go for a walk in the sunlight as winter closes in and we find ourselves leaving for work in the dark and returning home in the dark.  One possible solution is to make use of your lunch break.  You may even be able to find a co-worker who would like to join you.

It may not always be possible to get your sun fix during the work week so consider getting active outdoors on your days off.  Try a Saturday morning hike.  Get out there and enjoy the beautiful fall colors!

Plan outdoor activities with friends.  It’s the perfect time of year for a game of touch football, and it’s not too late for golf.

Once we have snow on the ground you could go cross country skiing.  There are trails in various places throughout Manitoba.  BeaudryPark near Headingly has groomed trails and warm up shacks.  For a complete listing of Manitoba ski areas go to: http://www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/parks/recreation/ski_trail.html

Go for a bike ride, take your kids to the park, rake the leaves or walk to the mailbox.  The list of possibilities is endless.

Do take care though.  Do not allow your skin to burn.  Any benefit you may gain from the sun is undermined by the risk of skin cancer if you allow yourself to burn.  Even a minor sunburn is not a good idea.  If you’re going to be outside for a prolonged period of time make sure to apply sun screen with an SPF of 15 or higher.


Let nature be your gym!

21 Aug

Sometimes we get fooled into believing that we have to go to a gym to get a proper work out. Not true.

My daughter and I checking out the geocache we found while hiking the Hunt Lake trail.

Last week while camping I went for a hike on the beautiful HuntLake trail in eastern Manitoba. The views were spectacular! The terrain was rugged, and that’s what made it a great workout.

There were steep inclines and rocky uneven surfaces. Like a Bosu ball, a typical peice of equipment found in a gym, the uneven terrain forces you to use your muscles differently. You need to incorporate a whole range of different muscle movements in order to maintain your balance. By adjusting your speed and the distance you hike, you can tailor your workout to your own fitness level.

The Hunt Lake trail is supposedly 16 kms long. We chose to do slightly less than half. I would love to do the whole trail someday when I have plenty of time, and when I have built up my endurance level. Since my concussion I have had to increase my activity levels gradually. I’m currently up to approximately 6 kms of walking.

That’s what makes hiking great; you can tailor it to your own abilities. It’s also a great way to get the whole family involved.

You can even make a game of it. Many people do and we stumbled upon the evidence. Quite by accident we found a geocache! Geocaching is basically a treasure hunting game using your GPS to guide you. Someone hides a “treasure”- usually a waterproof container with a log book inside. They will then share the GPS coordinates online so others can go in search of it. Maybe this would be a good way to get the tech lover in the family to try hiking?

If you have young kids, it’s never too early to start hiking with them.  Start with short easy hikes while they’re young and gradually increase the difficulty.  If you wait until your kids are older to start hiking, there is a chance they might not have a great attitude towards it.  By starting young, they will come to view these types of activities as a normal and probably enjoyable part of life.

Do you have a favorite hiking trail?  Reply to this blog and share some great hiking trail ideas so we can all enjoy them!



Mental Illness- Our Perceptions

23 May

CANADA/ (Photo credit: Oldmaison)

An extreme case has been keeping mental illness front and centre in the minds of Manitobans.

Chris Summerville, CEO of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada has been meeting with Vince Li regularly while he has been a patient at the Selkirk mental health Centre.  On May 19, 2012, Summerville interviewed Li, the Winnipeg man infamous for beheading 22 year old Tim McLean while they were both passengers on a Grey Hound bus traveling through Manitoba.

At the time of the incident in 2008, Li was hearing voices.  He believed he was like the second coming of Christ and that it was his duty to protect himself and others from alien invaders.  Unfortunately for McLean, Li, in his delusional state mistook McLean for an alien, brutally murdering him on a public bus.

 Vince Li has been living in a mental-health hospital in Selkirk, Manitoba since being found not criminally responsible for beheading Tim McLean in March 2009. (John Woods/Canadian Press)

In an interview published today Li indicates that he knows he was sick, knows what he did was very wrong.  He is very apologetic to the family of Tim McLean.  When asked if he is happy he answered no.  When asked if he will ever be happy, he again answered no.

Summerville summarizes by stating:

“Of the 300,000 people in Canada who live with some form of schizophrenia, the vast majority lead quiet, law abiding lives hoping for some quality of life. People living with schizophrenia are more likely to be victims of violence rather than being perpetrators of violence.

“Schizophrenia is treatable. Recovery is possible.”

Read the complete interview at:


Last week a review board ruled Li can leave the mental hospital for supervised excursions. This ruling stirred the simmering pot of controversy that has surrounded this case from the beginning.  People have been polarized with some believing that he was ill and that with effective mental health treatment he should be able to be released from the facility and allowed to live a normal life.  Others believe that murder is murder and that the streets will never be safe if he is released, that he deserves to be punished as a murderer.

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