Tag Archives: exercise

Chiropractic Health Awareness: Get Vertical

Whatever your condition, there are steps you can take to improve your back health by getting vertical: standing up and exercising more. Moving helps increase circulation to your back, which in turn brings much needed nutrients to the disc spaces and soft tissues.

With this in mind, here are 7 tips to help you “Get Vertical”:

  1. Take a stand at work
    A health buzz word circulating for the past several months is “sitting disease.” Sitting too much all day, every day of the year has a serious impact our health. One study showed a significant increase in people’s mood and a decrease in their back pain when they stood for just one extra hour a day.If you work at the office all day, invest in a stand up desk. You can find simple, inexpensive models easily through an internet search.

    If a standing desk is not your style, aim to stand up and stretch at least every 20 minutes.

  2. Make an appointment with a physical therapist
    Physical therapy can have a profound effect on your spine health if you find the right therapist.
  3. Find a walking buddy
    Set a standing walking “date” with someone in your office or in your neighborhood who has a similar walking pace as you. Hopefully you’ll connect with someone who also has similar interests, so the time you spend walking will fly by.
  4. Or, just place a treadmill in your TV room
    Have you ever added up how many hours you actually spend watching your favorite TV series? Consider investing in a treadmill and walking at a moderate pace while you watch your favorite shows. You’ll be so engrossed in the plot lines you won’t even notice you’re moving!
  5. Adopt a dog
    Studies show dog owners tend to be happier and healthier than non-dog owners. It doesn’t take a study to show that if you have a dog, you’ll have to walk more. If you walk slowly, consider adopting an older dog who won’t demand a lot of time or energy, but who will just appreciate a home, and a low key walk every day. If you have more energy, go for a younger, more active dog to keep you on your toes.
  6. Or, offer to walk your neighbor’s dog
    If adopting a dog is too much responsibility, take notice of the harried mother down the street, or the elderly couple next door with dogs. Offering to walk their dogs even once or twice a week could be as big of a help to them as it is to your spine.
  7. Clean your own home
    If you really hate formal exercise, don’t discount how much you move when you clean your home and tend your own yard. Scrubbing the shower, mopping the floor, raking the leaves, pushing a mower all count as exercise. All these tasks accomplish the same things as formal exercises: they challenge your muscles and get your heart pumping.

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!

Spring has sprung! Is your garden ready?

Do you have limited mobility and enjoy gardening? Or is gardening something you’ve always wanted to try because you love spending time outdoors? Here are some useful tips to help you adapt your garden and/or get around obstacles you may have:

  • Depending on your disability, it might be easier to focus more on raised beds or container growing. Make sure any ground level areas are low maintenance to keep the digging and weeding needed to a minimum.
  • If you use a wheelchair or walking aid, paths in the garden/greenhouse need to be wide enough and with ample turning space.
  • Look for lightweight, ergonomic tools that are designed to be easier to grip. Newer types of prosthetic grips with specific uses have even been developed for amputees. Spring-released tools can help compensate for weak hands. Cordless power tools can also be a big help.
  • Watering is crucial to any successful garden but some watering cans can be awkward to carry, so choose a design you can manage easily. A lightweight plastic watering can with flat sides should be easier to carry and tip than a round can.
  • If you prefer to use a hose, a hose reel should be easier to manage than a standard hose. There are also lightweight expanding, or ‘curly’, hoses which are easier and lighter to pull into position, and they spring back into place.
  • Gardening is great exercise and it’s always satisfying to see the beautiful results of all your hard work. The key is to adapt and learn, but most importantly to get outside and enjoy yourself.

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.

How to Stay in Shape During the Off Season

It is hard to keep in shape during the fall and even more so in the winter season. This holds true more so for a person who is differently abled. During the time of bad weather, like rain or snow, it is almost impossible to get around or to get out and do a little running or pushing. There are always alternatives though, you could purchase or make your own weights. If you are less of a strength person and more of a stamina or cardio person, you can always take the time to go for a roll around the neighborhood or nearest public track, if there is one.

If you lack the transportation, are unable to leave the house, or bad weather bothers you such as rain, you can always invest in an indoor rolling trainer. This device assures you a cardio workout from the comfort of your own house or garage. Equipment like this can get exceptionally pricey, unfortunately. Some may think, “Why the high price for pieces of metal welded together?” if this is you, you can always construct your own.

There are stores online that sell the equipment such as these, that are needed for a person whose day to day life involves a disAbility.

If you are a handy person and like to make things there are also videos online on sites such as YouTube that have “Do It Yourself” videos on how to construct a rolling trainer. If you are looking for an alternative to working out this fall or winter season and do not know where to start, here are some simple questions to ask yourself. What is the purpose of wanting to get in shape? What do you need to work on more: strength, speed, stamina or all of the above?

You will need to figure out what exercises you are capable of. Once you have figured out your abilities and where you want to go with your workouts/exercises, the, there is no better time to start your road to health or training for a sport then as soon as possible. Make sure to be happy with your choices and be safe in your workout endeavors.