Our brains are made of billions of neurons, which interact with each other to complete specific tasks. Signals are sent from one neuron to another along neural pathways, and these determine our thoughts, emotions, insights, and so much more. Each task relies on a different neural pathway, so the pathway for reading a book is different than the pathway for putting on our shirt. The more we use a pathway, the stronger the connection becomes.
These neurons have the ability to physically change themselves when faced with new and difficult experiences. This ability is called neuroplasticity. As we are exposed to new areas, tasks, information or experiences, neural pathways are formed and existing ones are reshaped. This will continue throughout our entire lives as we learn. As we have experienced through practicing a musical instrument, memorizing our shopping list or recalling a friend’s phone number, if we consciously focus and train our brains in a certain area, they will become faster and more efficient at performing those tasks.
Just as we need to exercise the muscles in our body, we also need to exercise our brain. But what exercises are best?
Take a look at the following from The New York Times that discusses studies on the aging brain and some advice to help you age well.
Many travel companies, packages, hotels and airlines claim to be “accessible” which is often a blanket term for “we try”. After all, nothing can be fully “accessible” as each disability is different, requiring varying levels of accommodation.
Travelling with a disability can be difficult, but with thorough planning it can be a wonderful experience. Our free E-Book on Accessible Travel is full of helpful information, tips and checklists to help you plan, pack and prepare for a fantastic getaway.
While studies show that walking in nature can boost mental health, researchers are delving deeper to study the actual effects on the brain. Learn more about the ongoing studies in the following from the New York Times and be sure to take advantage of all the natural world has to offer this Spring.
Let’s be honest, as fun as vacations are, travelling is stressful. The planning, packing, confirming all the details, getting from A to B, preparing to be away from work or home, keeping paperwork organized…it takes a significant amount of time and effort to put a trip together. Yet, if you have a disability, travelling becomes even more complicated.
March break is approaching and for months my clients have been asking me about travelling with a disability. I enjoy these discussions because I do believe that anything is possible – take a look at our latest OT-V episode all about accessible travel including tips for travelling with a disability.
Care of some amazing technology we’re now able to see the direct effect of a football concussion. In this example, shared by the New York Times, a football player was wearing a mouth guard equipped with motion sensors that enabled researchers to see what was happening inside his brain at the time of impact. Researchers are using this data to help create better safety equipment and helmets for players who risk a lifetime of head injuries and their damaging effects.
Be sure to watch the video of the effects on the player’s brain and learn more from the New York Times.
It’s Canada’s 150th Birthday and Participaction is celebrating by encouraging Canadians to get healthy by taking part in the 150 Play List. The 150 Play List is comprised of 150 fun and truly Canadian activities you are encouraged to try this year. Visit the Participaction website to sign-up, track your activities, earn rewards and more.
Selifies are everywhere! In fact, they are now even in the Oxford Dictionary which defines the term ‘selfie’ as: “ a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.”
Why are selfies so popular? Why do we post them? Some find them narcissistic, others simply a means of creative expression. Many, especially young millennials, find them fun to do. With their dominance on social media people are starting to wonder what motivates people to take a selfie and what impact posting one has on self-esteem?
The following from CNN discusses conflicting studies on whether posting selfies is good or harmful to your self-esteem. Check it out here and let us know what you think– To selfie or not to selfie?
During the winter months kids, and adults, tend to be less active as we are often kept inside sheltered from the cold and harsh weather. Keeping active is necessary for your body and mind and can help to ward off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and the winter blues. Though many activities do exist, it can often be difficult to find suitable activities for children with disabilities. The Canadian Paralympic Committee has launched a site to help families, educators and medical professionals locate activity plans and providers in their area for children with disabilities. Check it out today!
Results from an ongoing study on texting and driving by the Sudbury District Health Unit and Laurentian University have produced scary results, but researchers are optimistic these results put them closer to improving strategies to reduce this dangerous behaviour. Research shows: “They admit to doing it, but they feel bad about doing it, they know it’s wrong and they don’t feel safe when someone else is texting and driving. Learning that information gives us a bit of leverage to empower passengers to stand up and say, ‘No, this is wrong,’ against their peers.” Learn more about this research and the ongoing efforts to reduce texting and driving in the following article from the Sudbury Star.