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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 18, 2017

Relieve Pressure Using these Effective Wheelchair Stretches

pressure relief

Stretching and exercise are great ways to relieve pressure issues that come with prolonged sitting. Here are a couple of easy stretches that can be done, every day and without drawing undue attention to the exercise. Each technique can be done independently or with assistance; depending on your strength and balance. Be sure you are in a wheelchair of adequate weight when doing these stretches- for safety’s sake. 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

November 9, 2016

5 easy tips to avoid falls: Reduce your personal fall risk!

avoid falls

 

“What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?”

According to Greek Mythology, this is the classic riddle delivered by the Sphinx. According to the myth, if any person who was asked this riddle could not answer, they were thrown down against the rocks and killed by the Sphinx.  When this riddle was posed to Oedipus Rex, he considered his words carefully and declared the answer in one word; Man.

His reasoning was as a baby, a human goes about on all fours (“four legs in the morning” – morning being childhood).   Then he learns to walk, which he does well into adulthood (“two legs in the afternoon” – afternoon being adulthood).  Finally, advanced age requires him to use a cane to support himself (“three legs in the evening” – evening being old age).

It is the evening I wish to discuss in this post.

It is so important to avoid falls. Statistically 1 in 4 aging adults will be injured in a fall this year. Falls prevention is such a hot topic that the federal government NCOA has devoted a whole program strictly centered on fall prevention.

brava-walker avoid falls

Brava Walker

As we age, our once strong bodies sometimes need additional support to continue to be active.  Using canes, walkers or crutches becomes commonplace as balance or coordination skills become affected. Making certain our home environments are adapted to our new skill level is important.  Here are 5 easy to accomplish tips to ensure your environment helps you avoid falls.

  1. First thing to remember is to remove unnecessary clutter in your home.  Removing unnecessary clutter from walkways will help prevent unwanted tripping over objects that you meant to throw away years ago.  Yes we all have them! Clear the pathways of stacks of books and magazines, extra furniture and scatter rugs.
  2. Next thing is to install grab bars in and around your bathing areas.  Nothing feels quite like a hot bath after a long day, so ensure you can traverse these wet, slick areas by installing grab bars everywhere you may need a handhold.  Apply non-slip appliques in the bottom of your tub for extra traction, or use a rubberized bath mat with suction cups.
  3. Make certain you can see objects around you properly to avoid falls.  Knowing where things are supposed to be in your home is not enough.  Be certain you have the proper lighting in your home to see clearly so obstacles won’t become obstacles to you! Add nightlights that come on automatically as night falls- so you won’t!
  4. Have dual handrails installed on stairs- not just on one side, but on both. While climbing stairs we can                                                                    become fatigued more quickly than walking
    avoid falls

    Sugar Cane

    on a level plane.  Dual handrails will help to steady your gait and provide additional support for the body. Avoid falls as you avoid carrying things up and down the stairs as much as you possibly can. Countless falls happen every year as people negotiate the stairs with hands full.

  5. Finally, review your medications side effects.  If a medicine tells you plainly on the bottle, “May cause dizziness”, avoid physical activity for a couple of hours after you take that medication.  Instead, pick up a book or read your favorite blog to enhance your mind! Always use your walker or cane if you do find that your medication is causing dizziness issues, and do speak to your doctor about any side effects you are experiencing. Your doctor certainly doesn’t want to increase your fall risk either!

What happened to Oedipus?  Once he answered the riddle of the Sphinx he was free to pass and enjoy life.  All of us here at SpinLife wish the same for you, and hope that using these 5 simple tips will prevent a fall that could do serious damage to your “Oedipus Rex!”

 

 

 

 

October 14, 2016

Enabled Driving: Innovative Vehicle Modifications Make it Possible

Enabled driving

When it comes to freedom, many find it on the open road, behind the wheel of one’s favorite car.

Physical disability doesn’t change that, where from adaptive operation to transporting a mobility product, hitting the open road is wonderfully possible – with the right enabled driving equipment, that is.

Lets talk about enabled driving.

enabled driving hand controls

Vehicle Controls

You may have heard the term, ”hand controls.” However, a more apt term is, ”vehicle controls,” where a vast array of enabled driving technologies allow vehicle operation among a wide range of physical needs. For example, pedal extensions allow those of a short stature to drive, moving the pedals closer. Hand controls allow those without the use of their legs to drive using their arms, where a lever system allows pedal operation. And, electronic controls can go as far as eliminating use of the pedals and steering wheel altogether, replacing it with a joystick-type control for those with very limited upper-body use and strength. Of course, there are a lot of variations in-between, where adaptive solutions are seemingly limitless.

Continue Reading