Tag Archives: fitness

Caregiver Support

Whether you are caring for the elderly or a loved one with a disAbility, most every caregiver should surround their life with resources and relief.

These resources will not only keep you feeling refreshed and renewed, but they’ll help you connect with others, who may have, or be currently experiencing similar lifestyles. In recognizing the different support options available, you’ll find yourself actively combating the chances of caregiver burnout and achieving the best quality care possible for your loved one.

Support is within reach. You just have to know where to look.

Caregiver Support Groups
You may be surprised to learn that a quick internet search can connect you with entire communities of caregivers. Sure, there are plenty of self-help articles and tips and tricks out there, but the value of an honest forum and communal support goes miles.

Find a caregiver forum in your state or region and consider the benefits of sounding off with other members. Bounce ideas and successes off of one another. Share your wisdom and experiences. Ask questions and seek answers.

Forums:

  • provide perspective
  • highlight industry products
  • connect like-minded individuals
  • create a canvas for ongoing conversation
  • offer new tips and tricks
  • and so much more

A forum is a great foundation to replenish your optimism and hope as a caregiver. You may even turn online connections into real life friendships and accountability. And what better way to grow as a caregiver than to do it in the company and strength of a community of caregivers?

Financial Aid
Many caregivers spend upwards of 20 hours per week giving care. It’s no wonder finances and employment opportunities can sometimes be difficult to balance. Don’t count yourself out, though.

Seek education on grants and financial aid. There are many benefits for caregivers such as mobility vehicle loans and income tax return incentives. A little homework can save you money in the long run. Getting ahead on your finances can provide tremendous relief.

Fitness
Explore activities you can experience with your loved one. From adaptive sports to a traditional walk around the block, exercise is a great way to proactively deal with stress and clear the mind.

To take it one step further, consider joining a league in your area. If you’ve become a member of an online forum, ask around about local gatherings and activities or take initiative to start one on your own. The positivity and energy can be contagious for all involved.

Family and Friends
Don’t go it alone. The strongest caregivers know when it’s time to ask for help.

It’s healthy to reach out to those you trust and your family and friends can be awesome support groups. Invite them to step up and come beside you as you provide care for your loved ones and don’t be afraid to walk them through a day in your life. The more they know about your situation and your needs the better they’ll be able to assist in the journey of you and your loved one.

Managing your own stress can make the ultimate difference in the life of the loved one you care for. In caring for you, you’re caring for them.

Stay Active with a Disability: Quick tips

Regular physical activity provides important health benefits for everyone, including people with disabilities. Getting active can help you:

  • Strengthen your heart
  • Build strong muscles and bones
  • Improve coordination
  • Relieve stress, improve your mood, and feel better about yourself

Before you begin…

  • Talk to your doctor about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you. If you are taking medicine, be sure to find out how it will affect your physical activity.
  • It’s also a good idea to talk to a trained exercise professional. Find a fitness center near you that is comfortable and accessible. Ask if they have experience working with people with similar disabilities.

Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activities.

  • These include walking fast or pushing yourself in a wheelchair, swimming, raking leaves, or other activities that make your heart beat faster.
  • Start slowly. Be active for at least 10 minutes at a time.

Do strengthening activities 2 days a week.

  • These include sit-ups, push-ups, or lifting weights.
  • Try working on the muscles that you use less often because of your disability.

Find support and stick with it.

  • Take along a friend, especially if you are trying out a new activity.
  • If you don’t meet your physical activity goal, don’t give up. Start again tomorrow.
  • Be active according to your abilities. Remember, some physical activity is better than none!

Sled Hockey: A Sport For All Abilities

Sled Hockey - A Sport For All Abilities

The popularity of sled hockey is on the rise.
Many DSUSA chapters offer sled hockey opportunities, as do other independent clubs across the country.  The sport received a huge boost when USA Hockey took over as the national governing body for sled hockey and sled hockey programs. For the past 10 years, USA Hockey-sponsored sled hockey programs have sprung up across the U. S., with the national team selected by the organization. Also fueling interest in the sport is the National Hockey League (NHL), which hosted the first USA Hockey Sled Classic in Littleton, Colo., and Denver this past October. Four teams made up of 46 players, many on current and recent U.S. national team rosters, played under their NHL affiliate’s jersey – Colorado Avalanche, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, and Pittsburgh Penguins. Organizers hope to ultimately have all 32 NHL teams represented in future Sled Classics. And let’s not forget the U.S. Sled Hockey team which won gold in the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Amputee goalie Steve Cash, who didn’t allow a single goal in five games, won an ESPN ESPY award for Best Male Athlete with a DisAbility.

Who Can Play
Sled hockey is played by a wide range of players with a variety of mobility limitations:  amputees, spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, along with anyone who has a permanent disAbility that limits participation in stand up hockey.  In addition, with the exception of the highest level of competition, non-disAbled players are encouraged to participate.

“To play sled hockey, the only requirement is that you have a disAbility that prohibits you from playing stand up. That makes it very broad,” said Tom Carr, CTRS/L, assistant director of outreach and athletics, at Northeast Passage.

Northeast Passage, DSUSA’s Chapter in New Hampshire, has a thriving sled hockey program that attracts as many as 200 participants throughout the winter season. “As a team sport, it’s one of the fastest growing,” Carr said.

Part of its appeal is that there is little difference between sled hockey and stand up hockey in how the game is played. “It’s fast-paced and a full contact sport. The main difference is it’s played on a sled,” he said.

Sled hockey is a great form of exercise and fitness. It increases strength and coordination and also conditions the upper body. The balance used to propel, play the puck, and turn and stop gives arms, back and abdominal muscles a workout.  Those who play regularly quickly notice an increase in overall strength and balance both on and off the ice.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention
Sled hockey had its beginning in the early 1960s when some enterprising athletes at a physical rehabilitation center in Sweden wanted to play the game. The men modified a metal frame sled with two regular-sized ice hockey skate blades that allowed the puck to pass underneath. Their hockey sticks were round poles with bike handles.

The growth of the sport was slow to develop but by 1969, Stockholm had a five-team league that included both disAbled and able-bodied players. Ice sled hockey was first demonstrated at the Paralympic Winter Games in Sweden in 1976, and then again at the 1988 Innsbruck Paralympics. It became an official event at the 1994 Lillehammer Paralympics.

The game and equipment
Unless there is a penalty, there are six players for each team – three forwards, two defensemen, and a goalie. Substitutes may be made when play is stopped, or on the fly.  Previously, periods were 15 minutes in length, but this year they have been increased to 20 minutes, the same as stand up hockey. Play is on a regulation sized ice rink with standard size nets and puck. Checking and high-speed slapshots are common features of the sport.

Carr noted that sled hockey players typically own their own sleds for the best customized fit.  “Once someone gets into the sport, they want and need their own equipment,” he said. Players can get a basic hockey sled and pair of sticks for (approximately) $1,000.

Sleds are usually made of light-gauge aluminum, consisting of a customized “bucket” to sit in. A backrest can be used depending on the ability of the athlete. A frame supports the bucket, legs and feet, and is mounted on two skate blades attached under the bucket.  Athletes with double amputations tend to have an advantage here, since they can use shorter sleds with no leg supports, resulting in a smaller turn radius.

Instead of one hockey stick, players use two for propulsion, passing and shooting.  The sticks may be up to 100 cm long but are usually between 75-95 cm and can be wood, aluminum, or composite materials. The sticks have metal picks on one end for players to propel themselves.

“It helps if you have decent upper body strength and hand grip, but even then there are modifications and adaptations that can be made,” Carr said.  “Even those with limited grip can have sticks secured to their hands allowing them to participate.”

Players are outfitted with a hockey helmet, gloves, and body protection. Goalies wear basically the same equipment but do make modifications to the glove; metal picks are attached to the backside allowing the goalie to maneuver.

Sled hockey has a relatively small number of equipment suppliers to provide the sleds, sticks and picks that are unique to sled hockey. All other hockey equipment that is necessary such as helmets, gloves, etc. can be bought from any other stand up hockey equipment supplier.

Caregiver Support

Whether you are caring for the elderly or a loved one with a disAbility, most every caregiver should surround their life with resources and relief.

These resources will not only keep you feeling refreshed and renewed, but they’ll help you connect with others, who may have, or be currently experiencing similar lifestyles. In recognizing the different support options available, you’ll find yourself actively combating the chances of caregiver burnout and achieving the best quality care possible for your loved one.

Support is within reach. You just have to know where to look.

Caregiver Support Groups
You may be surprised to learn that a quick internet search can connect you with entire communities of caregivers. Sure, there are plenty of self-help articles and tips and tricks out there, but the value of an honest forum and communal support goes miles.

Find a caregiver forum in your state or region and consider the benefits of sounding off with other members. Bounce ideas and successes off of one another. Share your wisdom and experiences. Ask questions and seek answers.

Forums:

  • provide perspective
  • highlight industry products
  • connect like-minded individuals
  • create a canvas for ongoing conversation
  • offer new tips and tricks
  • and so much more

A forum is a great foundation to replenish your optimism and hope as a caregiver. You may even turn online connections into real life friendships and accountability. And what better way to grow as a caregiver than to do it in the company and strength of a community of caregivers?

Financial Aid
Many caregivers spend upwards of 20 hours per week giving care. It’s no wonder finances and employment opportunities can sometimes be difficult to balance. Don’t count yourself out, though.

Seek education on grants and financial aid. There are many benefits for caregivers such as mobility vehicle loans and income tax return incentives. A little homework can save you money in the long run. Getting ahead on your finances can provide tremendous relief.

Fitness
Explore activities you can experience with your loved one. From adaptive sports to a traditional walk around the block, exercise is a great way to proactively deal with stress and clear the mind.

To take it one step further, consider joining a league in your area. If you’ve become a member of an online forum, ask around about local gatherings and activities or take initiative to start one on your own. The positivity and energy can be contagious for all involved.

Family and Friends
Don’t go it alone. The strongest caregivers know when it’s time to ask for help.

It’s healthy to reach out to those you trust and your family and friends can be awesome support groups. Invite them to step up and come beside you as you provide care for your loved ones and don’t be afraid to walk them through a day in your life. The more they know about your situation and your needs the better they’ll be able to assist in the journey of you and your loved one.

Managing your own stress can make the ultimate difference in the life of the loved one you care for. In caring for you, you’re caring for them.

Stay Active with a Disability: Quick tips

Regular physical activity provides important health benefits for everyone, including people with disabilities. Getting active can help you:

  • Strengthen your heart
  • Build strong muscles and bones
  • Improve coordination
  • Relieve stress, improve your mood, and feel better about yourself

Before you begin…

  • Talk to your doctor about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you. If you are taking medicine, be sure to find out how it will affect your physical activity.
  • It’s also a good idea to talk to a trained exercise professional. Find a fitness center near you that is comfortable and accessible. Ask if they have experience working with people with similar disabilities.

Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activities.

  • These include walking fast or pushing yourself in a wheelchair, swimming, raking leaves, or other activities that make your heart beat faster.
  • Start slowly. Be active for at least 10 minutes at a time.

Do strengthening activities 2 days a week.

  • These include sit-ups, push-ups, or lifting weights.
  • Try working on the muscles that you use less often because of your disability.

Find support and stick with it.

  • Take along a friend, especially if you are trying out a new activity.
  • If you don’t meet your physical activity goal, don’t give up. Start again tomorrow.
  • Be active according to your abilities. Remember, some physical activity is better than none!