Happy, Healthy Victoria Day

The Victoria Day weekend is almost here, and with it several long-standing Canadian traditions. A couple of these are healthy, providing lots of fresh air and exercise. It’s the customary weekend for the first big gardening effort of the year, planting out the annual flowers and, for those who like to reap – and eat – what they sow, vegetables. Gardening is all pushing and pulling, squatting and lifting, and so is a great workout.

For many, Victoria Day is also the start of the summer cottage season. Hordes will be heading north, braving the biting bugs, to connect the pump, put in the dock, air the bedding and mend any winter damage. Lots of healthy physical activity there, too.

But the downside of the 24th of May weekend is indicated by its sardonic nickname: May Two-Four. For some, it marks the beginning of the summer beer- (or cooler- or wine-) drinking season. Light drinking – one or two drinks a day – may be healthy enough; it may even confer some health benefits. We’ve all read about the purported good that red wine can do for the heart, for instance. But even that amount may be dangerous for some people – those with addiction issues, or who are at risk for liver disease or certain cancers. And drinking more than that moderate one or two drinks can be risky for everyone, increasing the danger of injury or accident, violence, and illness. Not to mention the terrible risks associated with drinking and driving. It’s a sad fact that the Victoria Day holiday is also the annual start of the summer tradition of holiday weekend road fatalities.

So this year, please, let’s all stay fit and healthy. Enjoy the holiday safely. Plant the petunias and the peppers, prime the pump. Drink alcohol in moderation if at all. And live to wear your red and white on the next holiday, Canada Day.

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