Filtered by tag: Guest Post Remove Filter

Physical Activity versus Exercise: How Much Do We Need?

We are often told that we need to exercise but are not told HOW to exercise. First off, let’s differentiate the difference between physical activity and exercise.  Physical activity is any bodily movement that occurs as a result of musculoskeletal contraction that ultimately increases energy expenditure.  This is a fancy way of saying that physical activity is an action that requires energy to perform. An exercise is a structured form of physical activity.  But let’s not get caught up in the jargon because both are one and the same and are important for our mental and physical health.  

Man in a wheelchair lifting a kettlebell weight above his headThe American Heart Association currently recommends that adults accumulate greater than or equal to 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week while children should get at least 60 minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity weekly.

So, what exactly is moderate vs. vigorous activity? While everyone has different abilities, here are some different ideas to get those recommended “moderate” minutes as classified by the American Council on Exercise that can be adapted to functionality: chores that I push off until the weekend (washing windows, washing my car, cleaning the garage, sweeping/vacuuming), general carpentry, walking 3-5 mph,  mowing the lawn, slow room ball dancing with that special someone, fishing, sailing your boat, canoeing/kayaking (3-5 mph), gardening, leisure biking/stationary bike, leisure swimming (what you consider “easy”), table tennis, shooting hoops, non-competitive volleyball, and golfing!  

Read More

Interview with Orlando Magic Wheels

Our intern, Alan Thach, interviewed Jim Moore and Javier Rodriguez, team representative of the Orlando Magic Wheels. The Orlando Magic Wheels (OMW) is a member of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) where physically challenged athletes compete in fast moving basketball tournament play. 

Check out this informative YouTube video for more information about the team, it's history and their mission! 

Read More

Backwards Walking May Be More Helpful Than You Think

What is the most common cause of long-term disability amongst adults? Stroke (National Hospital Care Survey Demonstration Projects: Stroke Inpatient Hospitalizations, 2019). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. 610,000 of them being their first new stroke. Subsequently, strokes can reduce mobility in more than half of stroke survivors aged 65 and older (Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics, 2022). The aftermath can affect your ability to transfer, ambulate (fancy term for walking), prevent you from doing activities of daily living, living independently, and increase your risk of falling.

Backward walking activates more muscles in comparison to forwardfeet walking  walking, targets knee flexion and helps to activate those muscles
that haven't been firing correctly because of the aftermath of the 
stroke. 



Read More

How to Get Involved With the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA)

How to Get Involved With the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA)

Many are inspired by the feats on display in Tin Soldiers. This documentary covers the lives of paralympians including gold medalist Alana Nichols. Pulse, based on the life of Oksana Masters, is also popular. (You can watch both movies for free with an Amazon Prime trial.)

Maybe you were inspired by the 2020 documentary Rising Phoenix that went behind the scenes with top athletes in the Paralympic Games. Now you might be wondering what sport is right for you.

Read More

NFL Football Players with Disabilities

Having a disability does not define what a person can or cannot do which is evident by the numerous examples that professional athletes have set. There are many professional athletes that have persevered through mental and physical disabilities in order to reach the highest positions in their profession. An example of this is Shaquem Griffin who was an outside linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks.

Griffin had his left hand amputated as a result of amniotic band syndrome and decided to continue his dream of playing football. Griffin was offered a scholarship to play at the University of Central Florida in which he was a critical part in bringing the program into the national spotlight. In Griffin’s final season at the University of Central Florida, he was the Atlantic Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, an All American and 2018 Peach Bowl Defensive Most Valuable Player. He also helped University of Central Florida achieve an undefeated season in 2017 that led to a Peach Bowl victory against the University of Auburn.

Read More

The Benefits of Walking Outside

I do not think anyone could have imagined the challenges that presented themselves in 2020. Beginning with quarantine and then states slowly beginning to reopen brought people new routines. One thing that did get added to many people's new routines was at-home workouts. As the summer ended and winter months approached, many resorted to outdoor activities to help improve not only their physical health but their mental health as well. Staying isolated can take a toll on a person, and some doctors have begun to write “nature prescriptions” (Ducharme, 2019).

family walking outdoorsBeing outside for 20 minutes can help improve your mood and well-being.

Increased time outdoors also means an increase in the body’s intake of vitamin D, which is known to help improve the immune system, bone density, and depression.

The nature prescriptions that doctors have chosen to write are to help with overall health. Whether you walk, run, hike, bike, swim or even sit down to take in the environment or fresh air, being outside for 20 minutes can help improve your mood and well-being (Ducharme, 2019).

Read More

Remote Work as the Pathway to Inclusivity

Following the coronavirus crisis, the workplace has changed for just about everyone. Logging onto Zoom meetings has become the regular substitute for arriving at the office and being greeted by coworkers in person. While most people are experiencing the transition to remote work, one company, in particular, has been very familiar with virtual office space for years. The company has built a model to encourage inclusivity for years, dating back to before the pandemic. It has no intention of going back into the office anytime soon.

In 2013, two roommates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology founded Ultranauts; a start-up focused on software and data engineering. Since its founding, Ultranauts has served as a model for inclusivity. The kicker here is that Ultranauts has been a remote-based company from the very beginning. There are many examples that Ultranauts demonstrates in the path to more inclusive leadership.

Read More

US Disability Soccer Network

If you love the beautiful game and want to exercise more, playing soccer is something you should consider. The US Soccer Disability Committee created a network to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to play soccer. On their website, usdisabilitysoccernetwork.com, you'll find different organizations providing services, training, and competitions. These are some of the many categories of disability soccer that athletes can take part in at all different levels and ages:

Blind Soccer

Blind soccer, also known as football-5-a-side, is an official sport in the Paralympic Games. The rules of the traditional game have been modified and adapted for athletes with visual impairments. There are five players on each team, and the match is played on a solid surface. There is no offside rule, and players have to wear blindfolds. The ball contains small bells, helping players locate it based on its noise when it travels. Finally, the goalkeepers are usually sighted but are confined to the goal area. 

Read More

Nutrition, Exercise, and Mental Health During COVID-19

Dr. Vicari Erwin-Wilson, who has her Doctor of Medicine from the University of Florida, is a board-certified family physician in Tallahassee, Florida. Throughout her career, Dr. Erwin-Wilson has been encouraging patients to take care of their bodies, both physically and mentally. However, this has become even more important over the last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this post, Dr. Erwin-Wilson gives advice on how to stay physically and mentally healthy during this unprecedented time.

Photo of Dr. Erwin-Wilson“Be sure to do something you enjoy, because smiling and feeling happy has been proven to improve the immune response and overall well-being.”

One important aspect of staying healthy is through adequate nutrition. With a bachelor’s degree in human nutrition, Dr. Erwin-Wilson is passionate about eating a proper diet and encouraging others to do so. One of her favorite healthy meals to cook is salmon with broccoli and brown rice. Dr. Erwin-Wilson believes food can greatly impact a person’s health. To help boost the immune system, she recommends getting adequate protein (from things such as lean meats, eggs, fish, nuts, and beans) and eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. The dark green, orange, yellow, and purple vegetables have specific chemicals called phytonutrients that pump up the immune system.  One way she suggests getting a balanced diet is by having “a good variety by eating a rainbow of colors.”

Read More

The Importance of Promoting the Participation of Children with Disabilities in Sports and Tips to Implement it at Home

An important part of childhood is participating in sports. Most of us grew up playing baseball, basketball or soccer with our friend from their neighborhood. Physical activity provides many benefits for children, including those with disabilities. According to the Institute on Disability/UCED, approximately 7% of the US population accounts for children with disability. However, there is a lack of opportunities for their participation in recreational sports and physical activities. In recent years, many efforts have been made from different international organizations to try to close this gap and create more opportunities. Despite these efforts, an increasing number of children with disabilities have reported low levels of cardiorespiratory strength, less muscular endurance, and higher rates of obesity than typical children.

Benefits of sport participation

The main reason to participate in sports is to increase physical activity to help reverse impaired mobility, optimize physical functioning, and increase overall well-being. Playing sports plays a fundamental role in the maintenance of normal muscle strength, flexibility and a better joint structure and function. Good levels of muscular strength and endurance help increase bone mass, reduce injuries from falls, and provide a greater ability to complete daily activities.
By participating in sports children can leave behind a sedentary lifestyle that leads to obesity and other health complications. Sports participation also enhances the psychological well-being of children with disabilities; it provides opportunities to make friends, be creative, develop self-identity and live a more meaningful life. For example, Special Olympics athletes show better self-esteem, physical competence, and peer acceptance when compared with non-participants. Finally, participation in regular physical activity can foster independence, coping abilities, competitiveness, and teamwork among children with disabilities.

Read More

Mindfulness

photo of Reilly HowardLife is crazy. In the blink of an eye, everything can change. That’s how fast things move- in the blink of an eye. As lovers of sport and recreation, its easy to understand the appeal of a fast-moving lifestyle. Though this begs the question, what happens when things move too fast? Sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the breakneck pace of the world around us. When the physical world gets to be too much, we often attempt to retreat into our own minds. Yet just as often, people are met with an unsettling amount of anxiety and stressful thoughts within the mind. Enter the practice of mindfulness.

Mindfulness is seemingly the buzzword of the late 2010s. Every fitness guru, professional athlete, and social media influencer is seemingly screaming “you have to practice mindfulness!” from the top of their lungs. Sure, that’s all fine and well, but what exactly is mindfulness? This term can be defined as “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” (Jaret, et.al, 2020). Mindfulness is essentially finding peace and quiet in one's own mind. It sounds simple enough, sure. Yet remember those unsettling thoughts I talked about earlier? Well, how in the world are we supposed to find peace and quiet inside our own mind with those there? The answer is mindfulness.

Read More