All Posts By

Mark E. Smith

March 30, 2017

Follow These Four Simple Steps to Promote Heart Health

Heart Health Month

Sure, when we think of heart health, aspects like intense cardio workouts come to mind. However, how can those of us with disabilities or conditions, including those of us who are aging, maintain – and even improve – our heart health? It’s easier and more practical than one may think.

Sleeping Your Way to a Healthier Heart

Indeed, increased heart health can be as easy as sleeping. Studies show that sleeping around 7 hours per night reduces calcium in arteries and heart disease. The quality of sleep, matters, too, so if you can get a truly sound 7 hours of sleep, you’re dramatically improving your heart health. Now that’s wonderful news!

View Your Weight Not Just From a Mirror, But From Your Heart

Weight is a physical, mental and emotional battle for many. It also weighs on your heart – literally. Speak with your doctor about your weight, and get a true diagnosis on whether your weight is appropriate. For most who are moderately overweight, losing just 5% can dramatically not only improve heart health, but decrease cholesterol. hypertension, and diabetes. This means for a 5’9” male, who ideally should weigh in the 170 lb. range, at 200 lbs., losing merely 10 pounds has a very positive effect on heart health, according to the American Medical Association.

Fuel Your Heart the Right Way

We often think of how our diet effects areas of our health. However, our hearts are the engines that power our bodies – and they, too, benefit from nutrition. Specifically, an easy way to note what best feeds our hearts are natural foods that grow. In the grocery store, this means staying away from packaged items, and looking toward fruits, vegetables and nuts. Additionally, if you’re out at a restaurant, according to WebMD, skip the steaks and pasta and look to the fish. Salmon, in particular, is rich with omega-3 fatty acids that have an anti-clogging effect, keeping blood flowing optimally to your heart.

E1 370 Series Platform Ergometer

The E1 370 Series Platform Ergometer

Your Heart Likes to Pump

Among the best ways to keep our hearts healthy is by using them beyond a resting state. Put simply, our hearts like when we move and make them work a bit. Exercise is a key to this, but in very liberal terms. Based on disability, condition or age, many have limitations when it comes to “exercise.” However, whatever movement we can do is very advantageous to heart health and getting our vascular system flowing. Specialized exercise machines are available, designed for those of us who are not able to stand to exercise in the ways we traditionally think of. Check out the upper and lower body Ergometers from Endorphin, and available at SpinLife.com . Always consult a physician before attempting any exercise program, but they can range from simple arm movements to as intense as handcycling for wheelchair users. Movement is the key, and it varies by individual.

Heart Health to a Natural Beat

We’ve all seen extremes when it comes to heart health, from triathletes to countless so-called supplements. However, the medical community proves that, regardless of disability, condition or age, there are very practical, everyday steps we can take toward better heart health – right down to how much we sleep, eat and move.

January 25, 2017

Who’s Caring for Caregivers?

caring for caregivers

Among those of us in our 40s, 50s and 60s, huge numbers  are called upon to provide caring for aging relatives. More than ever before.

By 2020, for the first time in human history, there will be more individuals over 65 than children under the age of 5.

What this astounding statistic translates to is that for many of us, if we’re not caring for our aging spouses, we’re likely caring for our parents and grandparents. And if we, ourselves, aren’t caregivers, we undoubtedly are close to someone who is. Continue Reading

December 29, 2016

Join with Us and Celebrate the True Spirit of the New Year

Celebrate the New YearIn modern times, New Year’s resolutions are goals for the coming year.

However, the New Year tradition dates back over 4,000 years, and was actually about reflecting on the prior year. Put simply, it was about looking back, as opposed to looking forward, and using that momentum to improve.

There’s a lot of empowerment in using the New Year to look back. After all, through the good times and the tough times of the past year, we made it!

It’s via this enlightened lens that New Year’s serves as an especially poignant annual milestone for those of us living with disability, illness or any adversity. We made it!

Continue Reading

December 14, 2016

The Ultimate Gift: Give the lasting Gift of Mobility

santa-and-cart-4

Looking for the ultimate gift?As we head into the holiday season, many wonder what to get the parent or grandparent who has it all.

If your family is like many of ours, we have aging relatives who could benefit from a mobility device – whether that’s a lift chair, scooter or portable power chair – but have been reluctant to pursue one on his or her own. Why not, then, consider giving your loved one the ultimate gift: the gift of mobility. Continue Reading

December 9, 2016

Prioritizing Pressure Management: Reducing the Risks of Seated Pressure Sores

pressure management

Prioritizing Pressure Management: Reducing the Risks of Seated Pressure Sores

Why would we develop seated pressure sores, anyway? Here’s a simple physiological fact: as humans, our bodies aren’t designed to sit for long periods. As padded as some of our posteriors may seem, nature didn’t intend for them to handle concentrations of seated body weight indefinitely. And, unfortunately, for those of us with mobility impairments, remaining in a seated position for extended periods can lead to a very serious and debilitating condition called decubitus ulcers – more commonly called pressure sores.

Seated pressure sores occur when bony areas rub away at tissue. Many assume that pressure sores occur from the outside, in. however, it’s in fact bony areas pressing or rubbing against tissue, from the inside, out that causes pressure sores. And, this is among the reasons why they’re so dangerous – by the time we see a pressure sore, serious tissue damage has already occurred, often requiring surgery and months of bed rest.

So, as those often seated, how do we prevent pressure sores? This is where individual practices of pressure management come in. Continue Reading