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Archive for category: Sports and Leisure

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O-Tip of the Week: Pack a Clothespin for Cleanliness

Our O-Tip of the week series we will be providing valuable “OT-Approved Life Hacks” to provide you with simple and helpful solutions for living. 

Spring Break is upon us so for the month of March, our O-Tip of the Week series will provide tips for traveling like a pro!

Clothespins come in handy for more than just hanging laundry!  Pack a clothespin in your toiletry bag and use it to prop up your toothbrush to keep it from touching hotel sinks and counters.  Because you don’t want someone else’s germs to ruin your vacation!

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O-Tip of the Week: No Need to Use Data with this Simple Trick

Our O-Tip of the week series we will be providing valuable “OT-Approved Life Hacks” to provide you with simple and helpful solutions for living. 

Spring Break is upon us so for the month of March, our O-Tip of the Week series will provide tips for traveling like a pro!

Did you know you can still use GPS on your smartphone without paying the high price of data usage in a foreign country?  It’s easy to do with Google Maps.  Before you leave download maps of the areas you will be visiting and when you arrive you will be able to use these with GPS for driving directions completely offline.  Learn more in the following care of Google Maps support.

Google Maps:  Download areas and navigate offline

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Are You Capturing the Moment… or Missing it Altogether?

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

I love the song “Scare Away the Dark” by Passenger. Some of the lyrics have powerful insinuations: “we should stare at the stars and not just at screens”…”we want something real not just hashtag and twitter”…”we are all slowly dying in front of computers. I believe there is significant truth to what he is saying. The technology pendulum has swung so far in the direction of obsession and I am personally looking forward to it bouncing back to some form of neutral.

If addiction is defined as “the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice that is physically or psychologically habit-forming to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma…” or “usage of something that is beyond voluntary control” then I would argue that technology applies, and many people have a serious problem.

On a recent holiday, the evidence of this was immense. On one occasion I saw three young women on a horse-drawn carriage ride (a $50 experience I might add) and they were all looking at their phones. Were they texting, tweeting, posting on FB “loving my horse-drawn carriage ride”, or maybe playing candy crush, Instagramming a photo, or taking a selfie? Or the families sitting at dinner looking down, using their devices, essentially ignoring each other. Or the guy at the theme park videotaping his experience – he was even videotaping while a photographer was taking their family photo! I am not sure it matters what these people’s intentions were with their devices, but I felt that in perhaps trying to capture these moments they were missing them completely. Look around, talk to each other, take in the sights, sounds, smells, be mindful of the fragility of life and take a moment to be grateful for the experience. Connect. Engage. Smile at a person, not just a screen.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for capturing moments. But some moments need to be captured by our eyes and filed in our brain, not just on a device, memory card, or online. The concept of being present includes enjoying moments while you are in them – without living in the past or obsessing about the future. How can we do this? Enlightened Living suggests that being present involves recognizing that we can only do ONE thing at a time and thus we should engage wholeheartedly. Taking a photo while trying to absorb a moment are two tasks that cannot happen simultaneously. Thus why people feel that “life has passed them by”…they were never there to fully experience it in the first place.

So every once in a while check your addiction. Step away from your phone. Take technology away from your children. Leave it at home. Don’t take it on vacation. Set rules for technology behavior. In our house, we have significant rules for screen use, including a 17 clause contract our daughter signed in getting her first cell phone at age 14.  Some of the important clauses include: 

  • Rule # 1: The phone cannot be used to be mean to anyone – directly or indirectly.
  • Rule # 2: Proper grammar and spelling must be used when communicating.
  • Rule # 4 and 5: The phone is not allowed upstairs and cannot be used during family or meal times.
  • Rule # 9: I will not use my phone to take photos or video of people without their permission. I will not post or share photos or video without the consent of the people in them.
  • Rule # 15: I will follow classroom and teacher rules for phone use when at school.
  • Rule # 16: I understand this is not an appendage and obsessive use will not be tolerated.
  • Rule # 17 is a list of reasons for repossession.

My 14 and 12-year-olds read the contract together. At the end, my 12-year-old said: “so, what CAN she do”?

Do you feel sorry for my kid? Don’t. The real reason for the contract was not because she needs to be rigidly structured, but because I, as a new parent of a kid with a cell phone, was not comfortable with the entire concept in the first place. At 14 (and younger) kids are not developmentally able to understand and grasp the full impact of this new power in their possession. That is why there are recommended ages for Facebook (14), and age-specific laws for driving and drinking. They are young, naïve, immature, and still learning the ways of the world. I have a responsibility to be her guide, as effortful as that is. In the end, the contract worked to set out the expectations, establish boundaries, communicate about safety and proper use and helped us recognize the need to adapt as a family to the transition of now raising teenagers, not just “kids”. But my true intent was to make sure that I don’t teach her, or worse, model for her, that technology trumps experiences, replaces in-person relationships, or is a valuable way to tick away the proverbial time bomb that is life.

So, try if you can to capture moments by being present, and by using your born faculties to photograph, store and file your memories – not just a device. Check in with yourself at times about your behaviors, track these, shock your system with some detox, set some boundaries and try to unplug.

 

Previously posted July 2014

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Social Outings Rx

We’ve said this before and we will say it again… being social is good for your health.  Occupational Therapists recognize the importance of social interaction within leisure activities for persons with and without disabilities. We work with clients to explore their interests to help find activities that offer opportunities for social interaction and, if needed, find ways to address the different barriers to engaging in these meaningful past times.

Great news!  Your family doctor can help with this too. There is now a pilot program in Ontario that allows physicians to write prescriptions for social activities and the ROM is assisting with this initiative.  Learn more in the following care of CBC News.

CBC News:  Doctor’s orders: ‘Social prescriptions’ have been shown to improve health

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Give Gifts That Help Children ‘Grow’

If you’re a keen and organized shopper, I’m sure you have the majority of your holiday gifts already purchased, and if you’re anything like my Mother had everything done and wrapped in August! However, if you’re anything like my husband, you are waiting until the 24th to think about Christmas.

Although Santa and his Elves are hard at work building the toys your children put on their Christmas wish list, there may be a few items you still need to purchase.

We consulted our talented team of Pediatric Occupational Therapists and are happy to provide you with some fun but functional gift inspiration. These are gifts that are educational and stimulate child development:

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Sparking Change in the Wake of Tragedy – ‘Buckle up for The Broncos’

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

As a kid in the 80’s I remember seeing a newspaper article about a girl that was struck by a car after exiting a school bus.  There was a picture of the girl on the ground being attended to by emergency personnel.  It was a disturbing image and I was about her age.  After that, it seemed that school buses started to have stop signs and flashing lights, and huge fines were imposed for passing a school bus when it stopped to let children on or off.  Whether these two events are directly related or not, it is true that laws tend to change when something horrible happens and people are hurt or killed.

In April of this year, tragedy struck Saskatchewan as the Humboldt Bronco’s Junior hockey team bus was in a collision with a transport truck, killing 16 people on board and seriously injuring 13 others.  Those killed and injured were teenagers, coaches, and trainers.  Could any good come of this senseless loss of life and talent?  Maybe, as those involved are asking people to #buckleupforthebroncos by encouraging the use of seat belts on tour buses if these are present. 

Transport Canada is already responding and by 2020, all newly built transport buses will be required to have seatbelts.

So, what are the current laws in Canada for this?  Well, seatbelt use falls under the jurisdiction of the provincial and territorial governments and in most provinces the law states that seatbelts must be worn if they are provided, but of course, most motor coaches are not required to be equipped with belts, so they are not always available to be worn.  That will change in 2020.

Working in the field of auto insurance where my clients are people injured in car accidents, I can state clearly that seatbelts save lives.  Bus accidents are rare but are catastrophic when they happen.  These new laws could save many lives and hopefully will reduce the significance or impact of bus-accident-related injuries.

But all of this got me thinking…my daughter is a varsity athlete for a prominent University.  I asked her if the coach bus that transports them to games and tournaments has belts.  Her answer was “no, they do not”.  I suspect this means that most University, College or Sports teams buses don’t as well, so change is necessary and if these buses can’t be retrofitted to include belts, they need to be replaced.   I too am in the sports arena as the assistant coach of a sports team and our club also travels by coach bus.  I have asked our travel coordinators to make sure our tour operators provide buses with belts, and if they don’t, to find another vendor.  Hopefully, that can help promote change — one team at a time.

We all need to buckle-up and if belts exist, use them.  Even if you don’t feel the need to wear a belt, in the event of an impact if you are unsecured you would be tossed around the inside of the vehicle, threatening the security of others.  Secure yourself, secure your belongings, and secure your passengers.  There is no logical reason not to.

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The A to Z of OT: T is For… Accessible Travel

While travel is a fun and rewarding leisure activity, it can also be extremely stressful.  Traveling with a disability can be even more difficult, but with thorough planning, it can be a wonderful experience.  Learn more about how an Occupational Therapist can help you say Bon Voyage in our post Travelling with a Disability, by viewing our OT-V video below or by downloading our Accessible Travel Guide.

October is Occupational Therapy Month and to celebrate we will be sharing a new series called the A to Z of OT.  In our attempts to further educate the public about what Occupational Therapists do we will be highlighting twenty-six of the awesome ways OTs provide Solutions for Living.  

We encourage you to follow along and to add to the discussion by highlighting other awesome things OTs help with for each corresponding letter!

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The A to Z of OT: L is For… Leisure Activities

Occupational Therapists define the word “occupation” as the way people “occupy” their time. So, for us, this term actually includes all roles involved in living including how we have fun! 

Occupational therapists recognize the importance of leisure activities for persons with and without disabilities.  Learn more about how OTs work with clients to help them bring more fun back into life in our previous post, Leisure Anyone? 

October is Occupational Therapy Month and to celebrate we will be sharing a new series called the A to Z of OT.  In our attempts to further educate the public about what Occupational Therapists do we will be highlighting twenty-six of the awesome ways OTs provide Solutions for Living.  

We encourage you to follow along and to add to the discussion by highlighting other awesome things OTs help with for each corresponding letter!

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Golf FORE All

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

I don’t quite understand why hitting a stationary ball is so difficult but alas, golf is one of my favorite sports.  I started playing as a teenager and spent years figuring out that my old baseball swing aimed lower would hit a golf ball far, but not really straight.  With practice I have removed the sway, slowed down my tempo, and learned that trying to kill the white-dimpled-target does not work out either, and voila, I am hooked.

But beyond my love of the sport as an athlete, I also love how adaptable it is.  Growing up I remember playing with my grandfather who had polio.  He would swing a club with one arm while his other arm held his crutch to keep him standing.  Yet, even with one arm, he could hit the ball consistently far and straight – skills foreign to most amateurs.  As an occupational therapist, I now suggest golf as one way to re-integrate clients into the athletic world following an accident or injury.  How?  By breaking the sport into its component parts, and structuring participation around ability. 

Many people start with putting.  While putting can be boring to practice, it is the most important part of the game as you are likely going to put at least 18 times a round.  Putting requires neck flexion but can be done in sitting or standing.  Mats can be purchased to putt at home that will eject the ball back to your feet if your putt is successful.  At times, I have even used putting with clients at their home to test for visual-spatial deficits which makes it a great exercise to also practice if deficits are noted.

From putting, people can slowly increase the club speed through chipping, pitching and low wedge shots.  In these cases, there is little body movement and reduced torque through lowered club speed that would cause pain if the ground, not the ball, was impacted.  Then, if feeling good around the greens, the player can start with low irons on the range and work backwards to full swings.  Eventually, they can try a few holes with a cart to pace the walking, then consider a pull cart with walking later if that is within their abilities.

What is also great about golf, however, is how this is getting attention in the world of modified sport.  Now, some courses have Solo Riders (www.solorider.com) that can be used by people who have deficits in independent standing.  These Solo Riders position the golfer in swing distance from the ball, then elevate them into a standing position to facilitate the swing.  These carts can go on the tees and greens as they only distribute 70 pounds for force through each tire – less than a person’s foot so they don’t damage the course.  I played in a tournament recently where a local golf pro, who had a spinal cord injury, demonstrated the use of a Solo Rider on a par 3 from the tee and hit the ball within a few feet of the pin.  Apparently, for the group before us, he hit a hole in one.

I also remember reading an article a few years ago about physiotherapy programs that were focusing on golf-related skills in therapy such as balance, trunk control, pelvic rotation, and fluidity of movement to help golfers return to the game.  Other activities, such as yoga and Tai Chi are also now known as ways golfers can improve flexibility, strength, endurance, and muscle control in the off-season.

My parents vacation in Florida all winter, and while there met Judy Alvarez who instructs and assists disabled people to learn, enjoy and excel at the game of golf.  I read her book (Broken Tees, Mended Hearts) on a recent holiday.  What is most compelling in her book is not about the physical benefits of golfing, but rather the emotional and participatory value golf has for her disabled clients.  Through participation in a challenging but modifiable sport, people can regain passion for sport, competition and can work to achieve personal bests.  Golf really is FORE all and I hope you will consider hitting the links.

Originally posted July, 2013.

Summer Programming Note:

Summer vacation is here and we will be taking a break from our regular schedule.  We will be posting some of our popular seasonal blogs just once a week throughout the summer but will resume our regular three weekly posts in September, filled with new and exciting content including our popular O-Tip of Week series.