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HAHRC BEATS: Have a safe summer by the water

We live in an area surrounded by beautiful water.

When the weather is warm, people are drawn to the water to cool off, splash around and swim— regardless of whether they know how to swim.

Here are some tips to help you have a safe and fun summer by the water:

Learn to swim! Learning to swim can help you to stay safe.

Drowning is the leading killer of American children, and can be prevented.

Swimming offers a full-body workout without any joint impact. It helps to build muscle and make your heart stronger. It can help people with arthritis or overuse injuries to relieve stiff joints and muscles.

It improves mood in both men and women.

Always swim with a buddy. Swim in safe areas marked for swimming, and follow the rules for that area.

Pay attention to any possible hazards, such as depth changes, currents and any hidden obstructions.

Always enter water feet-first.

Know your limits and the limits of your children and set rules based on those ability levels. For example, inexperienced swimmers should stay in shallow water, and they should wear an appropriately sized lifejacket.

Use common sense and avoid swimming in bad weather or water that is too cold.

Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District offers swim lessons for all ages in group or private lessons. Call the Aquatic Center at 541-386-1303, or visit www.hoodriverparksandrec.org for times.

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What should you do if someone gets in trouble in the water and becomes a distressed swimmer?

If a lifeguard is present, alert him or her.

If no lifeguard is present, call an adult to help.

If you are alone with the person, reach or throw something to help. But don’t go in because it could put you in danger as well. There are many things that might be appropriate to use to help save a life, such as a noodle, lifejacket, stick or pole, rope, cooler or ball.

If you want to train to be a certified lifeguard, American Red Cross lifeguard training is also available at the Aquatic Center (541-386-1303).

Be safe out there by the water. Have fun, and make sure to wear your sunscreen!

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Healthy Active Hood River County (HAHRC) is our community healthy living coalition. It promotes wellness through increased physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco use prevention and policy and environmental change. HAHRC provides a monthly column for Mind, Body, Spirit.

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