At 83 years old, Bob Butts had never imagined that regular exercise would change his life so dramatically. After a serious medical incident, his balance and strength were jeopardized, which put him at risk of a serious fall. Bob understood that his health would need more than a quick fix. It was time to become a consistently active person.
“I had a Stroke in January of 2016, so I came here. When I came here, I couldn’t lift my hand up over my head. I couldn’t get out of the chair without help, and I weighed 256 pounds.”
Bob, and his personal trainer Kim Goetz, joke that Bob is now a “gym rat”, meaning he is someone who can often be found at the gym. With a nice morning routine and professional guidance in the weight room, Bob has seen consistent improvement in his physical abilities. The health benefits Bob has experienced from regular exercise keep him coming back.
“I lost 65 pounds of fat and put on some muscle. I can walk in a straight line now, before I was all over the place. I used to get headaches… Kim got me doing these stretches, and before I realized it, I didn’t have headaches anymore.”
Bob came to the gym so he could improve his balance, lose weight, and gain strength. While these goals were achieved, Bob also discovered that working out improved his mental health. This has greatly increased Bob’s confidence in himself and his physical abilities.
“I have no health issues at all anymore. I want to be able to do things with my grandchildren, and great-grandchildren… My wife.”
Bob’s journey reminds us that preventing falls and other serious injuries begins with ourselves. The most common reason for permanent and total disability is falls. Every year, 1 in 3 seniors experience a falling incident. After ensuring our homes are hazard-free, the next step in preventing falls is to strengthen our bodies. Our body is the vehicle in which we navigate our lives. To train our bodies with exercise is to respect our overall health.
If you or a loved one wishes to investigate active lifestyles, first check with your doctor or health care practitioner. There are many Saskatchewan based resources to assist you in your fitness journey:
Saskatchewan Seniors Mechanism - Bringing together Saskatchewan seniors organizations
Forever in Motion - Helping older adults become physically active in their communities
Saskatchewan Senior Fitness Association - Activity programs for adults fifty years of age and older
Active Aging Canada - Trusted information and resources for older Canadians
Overcast commutes, foggy days, and snowy weather. These conditions of varying darkness await Saskatchewan drivers, especially in winter months.
Daytime running lights (DRL’s) do not activate your taillights, which brighten up your vehicle so other drivers can see you in low-light conditions. Automatic headlights are also unreliable, as the automated system sometimes has trouble recognizing these low-light conditions.
Along with regularly inspecting all of your vehicle lights, activating your low-beam headlights helps ensure that your vehicle will stay bright and visible in the winter driving season where low-light conditions are common. There is no harm in using low-beam headlights even in the daytime, so when in doubt, flick your headlights to the “On” position. Just remember to turn them “Off” when your journey is finished!
In Saskatchewan, our seasons come in full force. From blazing hot summers to stone cold winters; from the darkest days to seventeen hours of sun - our Province is a land of extremes.
So then, why is there a bias in our seasonal preparation? At the earliest possible moment in the spring, excited residents break out T-shirts, shorts, and other warm weather attire from storage. Vehicles are eagerly cleaned out and tuned up for summer driving. With all this excitement and preparation for one season, why is it that we tend to ignore the warning signs of an approaching winter? Perhaps it is because we want to squeeze out every bit of fun from the last whisper of these warmer days, and perhaps there is some element of denial that very soon our dark autumn environment will change to a familiar wintery white.
That’s right, the dreaded “S” word will be here before we know it (We know, dreaded only by some). Yes, this means “Snow”, and for those driving in Saskatchewan’s Winter - the “S” word can also have more dangerous meanings, like “Slip” “Slide” and “Skid”.
‘That’ day will come eventually. You know - ‘that’ first snowfall, and ‘those’ frozen roads. ‘That’ period of dangerous driving, where drivers must suddenly adjust their habits. The change in road conditions can happen very quickly. Unfortunately, that also means collisions will be more frequent, and insurance claims will be high.
Anyone with experience in the auto industry knows this season well. Autoworkers across Saskatchewan, like Kenton King, know firsthand that this ‘slippery season’ can be a busy one.
With some smart preparation, this season can be different for you. Why wait for the path to your garage or winter storage shed to become wet with snow? You can be ready for winter driving conditions now, by loading your vehicle with brushes, scrapers, and survival gear before the snow flies. You can switch to your winter tires early this year, and you can practice winter driving techniques as a review to get you into that ‘winter driving mindset’. Need to drive somewhere? Why not plan ahead and leave earlier than you usually would, since you know that winter driving conditions add time to most trips.
Prepare yourself at ‘this’ time of year, so ‘that’ time of year won’t be so difficult. Take it from autoworkers in Saskatchewan – you don’t want to be part of the dangerous and expensive mess that is ‘Slippery Season’!
Today, our own Traffic Safety Specialist and Skid Smart Collision Avoidance Instructor, Al Gall, participated in the kickoff of SGI’s November Traffic Safety Spotlight alongside Tyler McMurchy, SGI Media Relations. The two provided information on intersection and winter driving safety before fielding questions.
Intersections account for almost half of the total collisions in Saskatchewan. The onset of winter driving conditions only amplifies the danger in these high-risk areas.
This November, make intersection safety a part of your driving awareness efforts. What preparations can you make to ensure safe winter driving?