News: Canadians more active, more injured

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Good news and bad news on the health front today. The good? Canadians are making more of an effort to get active. The bad? We’re also getting hurt more often. According to a new report from Statistics Canada, 4.1 million Canadians aged 12 and older were injured last year, with 35 percent of those injuries occurring during sports or exercise.

Thank goodness helmets are mandatory.

According to the report, the most common cause of injury was a fall, with nearly 1.7 million people reporting fall-related injuries in 2009. Falls seemed to be more common among women than men.

But it’s not just what you’re doing that contributes to injury. Another recent report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information suggests that where you live is just as important. According to the report, Canadians living in poor neighbourhoods are 30 percent more likely to incur an injury that requires hospitalization than those living in more affluent areas.

Why the difference? In an interview with the CBC, Alison Macpherson, a professor at York University’s School of Kinesiology and Health Science in Toronto, pointed to a few possible factors, such as a larger number of individuals without cars who therefore need to walk more, and pedestrians who are more distracted by their worries while walking.

While moving to a new neighbourhood may not be a practical solution, there are things that you can do to protect yourself from injury. Before engaging in any sports or exercise, be sure to do a proper warm up and don’t skip those cool-down stretches. You can engage in activities that help improve your balance and coordination (like Nintendo’s Wii Fit). And if you’re feeling distracted by stress, making time for yoga or meditation at home may help you feel more focused and alert.

Related:
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Exercise smart: 6 tips to prevent injuries
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