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Archive for category: Sports and Leisure

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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.

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Swimming Safety: Rules for Pools

In celebration of summer, I wanted to re-share this infographic on pool safety. These helpful tips and tools are good things to review and consider, ensuring you, your friends and loved ones are safe and enjoy some fun in the sun this summer!  Remember, when it comes to children, nothing is safer than diligent and attentive supervision.

 

Previously posted July 2017

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.

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Summer Reading Challenge

It can be difficult to keep children’s minds stimulated during the summer months and often many children suffer summer brain drain.  One of the best ways to put a plug on this drain is to encourage regular reading.  Encourage your child to set a SMART Goal for how many books they plan to read this summer and keep track using our free printable summer reading log.  Be sure to build in rewards when your child is on track and when they meet their goal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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Fun Ways to Encourage Learning Over the Summer Months

It’s that time again… The report cards are done, the bell has rung, and summer vacation is upon us! Summer is a time for camps, vacations, trips, cottaging and so much more.  But with all the fun in store, where do they fit in time to learn? How do we as parents make sure our kids don’t suffer summer “brain drain,” while still ensuring they get the break and vacation they need?  Check out the following infographic for ideas to keep kids brains sharp while having fun this summer vacation:

Previously posted July 2017

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.

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Summer Can be Stressful: Reduce Stress with These Top Tips

As Canadians, we are well-known for making the most of our short summer months! We often fill them with day trips, weekends away, and vacations with family or friends. However,  this summer fun can also bring on “summer stress” with all of the errand running, planning, organization and co-ordination that’s required to make that summer fun possible. Everyone sees and defines “stress” differently, but whether you recognize these additional demands as being “stressful” or not, they certainly weigh on our minds and add to the mental list of things we need to accomplish and manage in our days.

So what can Occupational Therapy do to help? Stress management is one area where Occupational Therapists can make suggestions that are helpful.  These suggestions can help you to get the most fun from your summer, while preventing and managing the inevitable summer stress. Below you will find some general examples of the kinds of Occupational Therapy strategies that can help you limit and manage your summer stressors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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Yoga for the Healing Brain

Guest Blogger Samantha Hunt, Student Occupational Therapist

In celebration of Brain Injury month in June, we wanted to highlight the benefits of yoga and mindfulness meditation as a solution for living with traumatic brain injury (TBI).

What is Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation?

While there are many different types of yoga practices, in general yoga involves physical movement, breathing exercises, meditation, and moral observations in a set period of time, with the goal of connecting the mind and body. Likewise, mindfulness meditation is described as “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally”, in order to help train us in awareness, concentration, and acceptance. Yoga can be practiced with one-on-one instruction, or in a wheelchair or sitting down as well, through adapted yoga.

Yoga, Mindfulness Meditation and TBI

After experiencing physical trauma, there is a severe body and mind separation that impacts the abilities of the nervous system and alters the pattern of the body, breath, and mind structure. This is where the practice of yoga and mindfulness meditation can assist the recovery. By consciously and consistently focusing the mind, we are reprogramming the neuropathways in the brain that have been impacted. By quieting the mind and focusing on building strength and flexibility, practicing yoga can also assist with the mental distractions and stressors that commonly occur after TBI, such as over excitement and anxiety.

Benefits of Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation for TBI

·       Improved concentration

·       Decreased stress, anxiety, and depression

·       Better sleep

·       Improved attention abilities

·       Improved working memory

·       Reduced mental fatigue

·       Improved strength, balance, endurance, and flexibility

Where to Begin

There are several simple ways to start incorporating yoga and mindfulness into your life. Some suggestions include:

·       Reading for inspiration (mindfulness books, yoga books)

·       Joining a group or taking a class

·       Free apps (such as “Headspace” or “Happify”)

·       Practicing 4-8 minutes of mindfulness breath each day

·       One-on-one adapted yoga with an instructor, such as (in the Hamilton Ontario area):

o   Christina Versteeg, Paradigm Rehabilitation (Christina@paradigmrehab.ca)

·       Following yoga practice videos online, such as:

o   http://www.loveyourbrain.com/yoga-videos/

o   https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene

 

References:

www.braininjurycanada.ca/yoga-webinar/

www.tbitherapy.com/yoga-meditation-brain-injury/

www.ontarioabiconference.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/C2-Yoga-Therapy-for-Acquired-Brain-Injury-.pdf

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Trampoline Parks: Are they Worth the Risk?

A place where kids, teens, and adults can go for hours of endless fun, any time of the year and it offers great physical activity… sign me up! Right?  Trampoline parks have become extremely popular due to the fun activities and obstacles they have, the fact that the activity can be done year round, tire out busy-bodies, and provide a form of cardiovascular exercise.  However, despite all of these great aspects, many wonder are the risks worth the rewards?  An increase in broken bones, concussions, and spinal cord injuries at trampoline parks have led to a call for regulation in Canada.  Recently, a trampoline park death has increased the urgency of addressing this inadequacy.  Learn more in the following care of CBC News.

CBC News:  ‘They are very dangerous’: Trampoline park death highlights calls for regulation

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O-Tip of the Week: Not Enough Exercise? Sneak it in!

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 has finally sprung and it’s time to add some healthy activity to your life.  So, for the month of May, our series will be providing tips to help you get physical!

You don’t have to spend an hour each day at the gym to be active.  There are many ways you can “sneak exercise” into your busy day.  Some examples include:

  • Walking or biking to work
  • Taking a walking lunch or a walking meeting
  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Parking a little further away so you can have a short walk
  • Walking every aisle in a store, instead of just the one you need

How do you “sneak” exercise into your day?  Share with us as we’d love to hear some new and fun ways to get moving! 

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Warning: Long Weekend Ahead!

Warning:  Long Weekend ahead!  This warning is one we re-post every year as, unfortunately, many need a reminder to make smart and safe choices during this first long weekend of the season.

While the Victoria Day long weekend is often a kick-off to summer, it is also known as one of the deadliest weekends in Canada.  Impaired driving and boating numbers are highly elevated during long weekends and MADD Canada estimates that impaired driving kills between 1,250 and 1,500 people every year, and injures more than 63,000 in Canada.  The following PSA is a great reminder of the effects drinking and driving can have on your life and on the life of someone else.

So please, while you enjoy this first long weekend of the season, think smart and be safe.  Don’t drink and drive.

 

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O-Tip of the Week: Need Some Motivation? Phone a Friend!

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 has finally sprung and it’s time to add some healthy activity to your life.  So, for the month of May, our series will be providing tips to help you get physical!

One of the best ways to get and stay motivated to be active is to exercise with a friend.  Find yourself a “workout buddy” to go to the gym or latest yoga class with, or to walk or run together.  Having a friend to exercise with can keep you determined and accountable!