Month: December 2021

Book Giveaway, HumanKind: Changing the World One Small Act at a Time

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Exercising with Spinal Cord Injury

Exercising with Spinal Cord Injury

The spinal cord is the pathway through which the brain sends and receives information to the rest of the body. Spinal cord injury (SCI) results from trauma (e.g., motor vehicle accidents or falls) and can cause three types of impairments: completely paralysed or very weak muscles; reduced or absent feeling; and impaired autonomic functions such as reduced sweating or low blood pressure.

The functions that are impaired and how much they are impaired are determined by two things:

  • How high the injury is. The closer the injury is to the brain then the more function is impaired. Tetraplegia (preferred to the term ‘quadriplegia’) refers to injuries in the neck region and typically results in impairments of arm, trunk and leg function. Paraplegia refers to injury below the neck and while trunk and leg function is impaired, arm function is typically normal.
  • The completeness of the injury. When an injury does not damage the full thickness of the spinal cord, some connections with the brain remain intact and some function can be preserved below the level of the injury. The amount of function preserved is highly variable, even for people with injuries at the same level.

In Australia, over 20,000 people are living with SCI. Almost one quarter (23%) of people with an SCI are under 35 years old, and the vast majority are aged under 65.

Men are more likely to incur an SCI, with approximately 70% of new incidences reported in male patients. 42% of people living with an SCI are classified as tetraplegic.

disability wheelchair

THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE

People with mobility impairments, including people with SCI, are among the most physically inactive members of society. This profound physical inactivity is very harmful for health, fitness and function, and compounds the consequences of SCI.

Exercise can help to improve the quality of life of those living with SCI. Exercise interventions can enhance functional independence (e.g., the ability to push around their community without help or get out of their wheelchair and into bed or into a car) and can also decrease levels of depression and anxiety.

Aerobic exercise (e.g., wheelchair pushing, hand cycling, or swimming) improves cardiorespiratory fitness, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and may reduce the incidence of urinary tract infections.

Strength training improves strength of non-paralysed muscles and may improve strength of partially-paralysed muscles.

Exercise interventions that avoid painful movements and include specific upper-limb strengthening can also reduce shoulder pain, a common problem for manual wheelchair users.

TYPES OF EXERCISE RECOMMENDED

The effects of SCI vary enormously. Some people can walk and live independently, while others require a motorised chair and personal support for activities of daily living. Therefore, specific exercise prescriptions that apply to all people with SCI are not possible.

However, in general, people with SCI should:

  • be as physically active as they can be, aiming to accrue at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity on most or all days of the week, and
  • they should also include strength training for major muscle groups and flexibility training for their major joints.

Exercise intensity and duration should start low and increase gradually, particularly for those with tetraplegia or a history of low blood pressure. Short Interval training (5 minutes work followed by full physiological recovery) at low intensity may assist the very unfit to accumulate sufficient aerobic duration.

SPEAK TO THE EXERCISE PROFESSIONALS

Because each SCI is so individualised, tailored exercise prescription is often needed to ensure the individual is moving safely and getting the most out of their training. Accredited Exercise Physiologists are uniquely qualified to support people living with SCIs to enhance function, improve their fitness and improve their quality of life.

Click here to find an Accredited Exercise Physiologist near you.

Expert Contributor: Associate Professor Sean Tweedy, PhD and Accredited Exercise Physiologist at the University of Queensland

Write Yourself Down


Do you know who you are?

Like really know.

And do you show that real self to others

So much so that everyone would feel like they knew you forever.

Realer than the chairs, the tables, the roads.

More real than anything else real. 

I have been asking myself lately if I know who I am.

And not the kind of question that leads to the purpose of my life. None of that.

Just the basic aspect of the question.

Who am I. 

Beyond the kind of food I like to eat.

Beyond what my family and friends think of me.

Beyond the filters of prejudice from preconceived notions, stereotypes.

If I was to sit down right here and write all the things that I am, will you do the same?

Will you just sit down and write yourself on paper? 

I mean the real truth of you.

And then would you take that paper and make it real, as real as the table it is resting on.

As real as the DNA of you?

When you write yourself down, look for the details of you. 

I will do the same. So here goes nothing.

I am a good person.

I love to hear people’s stories.

What troubles them. What wins them over.

What impossible things they have done.

The unthinkable things they had to endure too.

I don’t want to die even if it means that I will be reborn. 

I want to travel all around Earth.

Stand on the Moon.

See the Milky Way up close.

I love to paint. So much it hurts not to.

I love my children as if I had already loved them before this life.

I grieve the people I love even when they are alive.

I just grieve the day I may lose them.

I started writing because of the strange grief thoughts in my head. 

I wrote so I would not lose my mind.

I think I am funny. I love karaoke. Even though I am a terrible singer.

I never lie. I don’t like people who do.

I am quirky. For better or worse.

I wish I had realized it sooner, everything would have made a lot more sense.

I don’t like to shop.

I wish I only needed two pairs of jeans and a couple of t-shirts.

I love short hair.

I am a small person inside my head.

I don’t think about my age much.

I will write and paint my way to the last day of my life.

I have not enjoyed the public aspects of my work.

That surprised the heck out of me.

The longer I am on this journey the more I enjoy giving it all away. All of it.

Inside my head, I live outside of time.

As if I am not here. Even though I know I am.

I feel free. Maybe for the first time.

To live the life of my choosing.

And that is the hardest thing I will ever have to do.

Aside from saying goodbye to the people I have loved.

Now it’s your turn. 

Write yourself down. 

Remember who you are. 

With me, myself, and I

Christina


Christina Rasmussen is the creator and founder of The Life Reentry Institute, Second Firsts, and Star Letters, and the host of the Dear Life Podcast. Christina is on a crusade to help millions of people rebuild, reclaim, and relaunch their lives using the power of their own minds. Christina’s work has been featured on ABC News, NPR, The White House Blog, and MariaShriver.com. She is the bestselling author of Second Firsts: Live, Laugh, and Love Again, which has also been translated in Chinese and German and just released her second book Where Did You Go on expanding the mind in ways that allows co-creation with the forces of the universe. She is also writing her first work of fiction: a science fiction story about a woman on a quest to start over and begin a new life. You can find more information on her website and follow her on FB or Twitter.

Image courtesy of RODNAE productions.

The Physical Demands of eSports Athletes

The Physical Demands of eSports Athletes

The world of competitive video gaming is a fast-growing international phenomenon with millions of fans and billions of dollars up for grabs.

Streaming services and live events have turned casual gamers into serious stars who can sometimes rake in seven-figure earnings and massive brand endorsements.

WHAT IS ESPORTS?

Put simply, eSports is competitive level gaming.

It’s teams of people playing games against each other at a professional level, regularly winning huge sums of money as prizes.

These eSports players are contracted to play for a variety of different organisations, much like a football or basketball player would be. These teams practice and compete in their respective game just as a footballer or other sportsperson would too.

Depending on the game they play – from shooters such as Call of Duty to sports titles like Madden NFL – there will be a number of tournaments and events each year with hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes obtainable, sometimes even entering the millions.

These gamers are watched and followed by an immeasurable number of fans all over the world, who attend live events, tune in on TV or stream online.

ESPORT “ATHLETES”?

Although many wouldn’t think it, eSport players experience the same physical and mental demands as any athlete.

By most measures, videogaming is already a sport, and gamers are a highly evolved breed of extreme athlete. The top players form teams, compete in leagues, hire full-time coaches, and adopt strict training regimens.

In 2020, Medium published an insightful article looking at the training regimes of various eSports teams. They found players train roughly 50 hours a week, as a group, plus many individuals choose to train separately on top of this.

They do this while following a customised diet, as nutrition is key to performance and reaction times. Much like with other sports, teams will also review past performance with their coach and analyse what went right and wrong.

The training itself uses state of the art technology that focuses on key functions like attention, memory and reaction time. Training exercises will even mimic real-life situations with crowd noises and changing lights used to get players familiar with the possible distractions they may face in a live competition setting. In addition to training being closely related to the game itself, eSports teams now hire fitness coaches as standard.

The margins between winning and losing are so small that being in physically better shape can end up making all the difference,  and certainly has a direct impact on reaction times, endurance and the ability to maintain concentration for extended periods.

THE PHYSICAL DEMANDS

A study conducted and exposed that eSport athletes are exposed to the same physical strains as “normal athletes”.

The study showed the amount of stress hormone – cortisol, going through the players during a competition, matched those of race car drivers.

In addition, eSports players also had heart rates around 160-180 beats per minute (which is equivalent to running at a high cadence).

According to a study carried out by Queensland University of Technology in 2020, the impact of this is that eSports players are between 9% and 21% more likely to be at a healthy weight compared to the general population.

They also smoke and drink much less too, which firmly challenges the stereotype that people who play video games competitively are sedentary and obese.

The study added that “As part of their training regime, elite eSports athletes spend more than an hour per day engaging in physical exercise as a strategy to enhance gameplay and manage stress”.

Unfortunately, many eSports players still don’t realise the massive bodily demands being placed on them and therefore don’t train for competition in a professional manner.

This can lead to many problems that could be easily prevented with adequate exercise, targeted for eSports players.

I guess the questions remains…

Will we see a gamer make it on the front of a Weet-Bix box one day?

ESPORTS & EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY

Exercise and physical activity play a key role for success in eSports and should be a focus for players and organisations training eSports players.

This will mean that in the future, young gamers will have more reason and motivation to be physically active.

Esports, even though demanding, is sedentary and poses a large cognitive load on athletes.

A balanced lifestyle can improve overall health for eSports athletes, as well as enhance gaming performance. Exercise produces countless benefits that can help players reach a higher level of gaming — both physical and mental.

As the world continues to wrap their heads around this still up and coming phenomenon, there aren’t many who understand it as mush as Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Samuel Warrener.

Sam has worked as an Accredited Exercise Physiologist for over 10 years and is currently the Managing Director & Founder of the R.E.P.S: Rockhampton Exercise Physiology Service.

Using computer games as a way to switch off from his long clinical days, Sam discovered the need for exercise within the gaming world after talking with others while playing online.

Knowing he could help, Sam created Rehab eSports, combining his two passions – online gaming and exercise physiology.

We spoke with Sam who gave us an insight to common issues among players and the importance exercise can play.

HEAR FROM AN EXPERT:

What role does exercise physiology play in the gaming world?

There are three distinct categories in the gaming world; Streamers, Pro Gamers, and Recreational Gamers. Exercise physiology education, general exercise interventions and individualised exercise prescription is relevant to all of these categories, but varies in focus.

Streamers are incredibly devoted to spending long hours in front of a webcam while playing games or talking to fans and this prolonged sitting is the primary focus of my intervention. Pro Gamers often compete for prize money in tournaments; they often train similarly to elite athletes with skill, fitness, strength, reflex and tactic components. Recreational gamers will often play for fun but are reaping benefits of social community, de-stressing, and freedom from physical limitations that their body is placing on them.

Throughout my time gaming, I have competed in tournaments, streamed and played for recreation and can empathise with each group as well as see the importance of integration of exercise into their daily life. As we (AEPs) do with everyone, we listen to the individual about their current challenges, goals and lifestyle, and use this information to tailor their exercise prescription to suit them, with an aim for improved progression.

What are your general top 3 health tips for gamers?

1. Go AFK to be AOK

Breaking up your gaming sessions is a big key to improving your health and your in-game performance. Getting up and going for a walk allows your eyes to readjust, your hormone levels to rebalance, increase cardiovascular health and improve your mental health.

2. Mods for Posture to Nerf Musculoskeletal Issues

If you’re sitting for long periods or laying down for an extended time, your body gets used to this position and certain muscles will weaken and/or tighten. See the point above for preventative measures, but often we are dealing with years of a habit of poor posture prior to seeking help. To help in these situations, stretches are often needed to improve hip flexor, hamstring and anterior shoulder tightness, as well as strengthening exercises for the glutes, quadriceps and upper back musculature.

3. Set Up Your Gaming Station to Maximize your HP

Whether you’re a pro with more RGB than RAM or a n00b on a potato, your gaming station set up will be something that is unique to you. While setting it up in your style, it might be worth following these few ideas to make sure your war room doesn’t become a sore room:

  • Keep the top of your monitor at eye height.
  • Set up your chair with your feet on the ground and joints (elbow, knees and hips) at 90 degrees.
  • Have all your peripheries (mouse, keyboard, controller) within easy reach.

Speak with a professional

Accredited exercise professionals are university-qualified who are equipped with the knowledge and skills to improve health, fitness, well-being, performance, and assist in the prevention of chronic conditions.

To find an accredited exercise professional near you, click here.

The Nike Run Club gives you the guidance, inspiration and innovation you need to become a better athlete. Join Nike Run Club to reach your goals and have fun along the way. Download to get started.

Written by Exercise Right. We have partnered with Nike Australia Pty Ltd for this article series. The views expressed in this article, unless otherwise cited, are exclusively those of the author, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA). ESSA is a professional organisation committed to establishing, promoting and defending the career paths of tertiary trained exercise and sports science practitioners.

Nike had no role in the collection, analysis, or interpretation of data or research or the writing of this article.

Feeling Burnt Out? Meet Toxic Productivity & Grind Culture with Rest

Disclaimer

This site is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal, or other professional advice. The content on Tiny Buddha is designed to support, not replace, medical or psychiatric treatment. Please seek professional care if you believe you may have a condition. Before using the site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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Staying active with Multiple Sclerosis

Staying active with Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (commonly known as “MS”) is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. It’s characterised by the formation of areas of demyelination (plaques) throughout the brain and spinal cord. This damage to the central nervous system results in slow or interrupted transmission of nerve impulses and causes a wide range of symptoms.

Symptoms of MS include physical and cognitive disability, extreme fatigue, temperature sensitivity, and depression. There is currently no known cause or cure for MS.

MS affects over 25,600 people in Australia. Most of these people are diagnosed between the ages of 20-40, but it can affect younger and older people too. MS is roughly three times more common in women than in men.

THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE

Today, exercise is considered safe for people with MS.

Many of the symptoms associated with MS are reduced through physical activity and exercise. Research has indicated that persons with MS who engage in exercise have:

  • less relapses
  • increased mobility
  • increased strength
  • increased cardiovascular health
  • lower levels of fatigue
  • lower incidence of depression and anxiety
  • less pain
  • better balance
  • better quality of life

Any exacerbation of symptoms associated with exercise are normally fully reversed 30 minutes after the end of the exercise session. Including exercise in your life as soon as possible after diagnosis is expected to prevent early progression of the disease.

TYPES OF EXERCISES RECOMMENDED

The physical activity and exercise guidelines for adults with mild to moderate MS are:

  • 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity, 2 days per week, and
  • strength training for major muscle groups, including the calf muscles, leg muscles, abdominal, and arm muscles, on 2 days per week.

fitball

If you are already undertaking exercise, the guidelines for mild to moderate MS are:

  • 40 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise, 5 days per week, and
  • strength training for major muscle groups, including the calf muscles, leg muscles, abdominal, and arm muscles, on 2 days per week.

You should also be completing exercise to work on your balance and flexibility as often as each day of the week.

Aerobic exercise can be performed in a variety of settings including individual and group training sessions on land or in water. Use of exercise bikes and elliptical trainers is preferable to the use of a treadmill when there is a risk of tripping and falls. Research has shown that walking is the number one choice of aerobic exercise by persons with MS.

It’s best to start small and gradually increase your exercise intensity and duration. How fast can you already walk? How long can you walk for? Build this up to achieve your 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise.

For strength training exercise, slowly work up to doing two sets of 10-15 repetitions of each strength training exercise. Experiment with timing so that exercise does not tire you out for the rest of your day.

Some guidelines for strength training with MS include:

  • Exercises can be performed in a variety of settings including home, community centre or gym.
  • You can use resistance or machine weights, body weight, resistance bands, or water.
  • Progressive resistance with heavier weights and low repetitions is beneficial.
  • Frequent rest breaks and alternating muscle groups during training helps minimise fatigue.

Stretching and balance exercises can be helpful to improve posture and flexibility and can be done on most days of the week. You can do these strength and balance exercises using gravity or resistance bands, or by challenging normal sitting and standing posture.

GETTING STARTED

If you’re new to exercise, it’s important to start slowly. We recommend working up to the recommended volume of exercise over two to three months and break exercise into shorter bouts of 10 to 15 minutes at a time if necessary. Remember that all exercises can be modified by an Accredited Exercise Physiologist to suit your ability.

The most important thing is to choose exercise that you enjoy, and remember, something is always better than nothing!

THINGS TO BE AWARE OF

Fatigue – fatigue is common in MS; exercise and fatigue management education strategies will actually help your fatigue level in the long term.

Heat sensitivity and MS – physical and sensory symptoms may temporarily increase with small increases in environmental or body temperature. People with MS should be encouraged to keep cool and well hydrated during exercise sessions.

Spasticity and contractures – A person with spasticity may find it difficult to walk or perform certain exercise activities. By performing stretching exercises daily, this can help make muscles longer, helping to decrease spasticity and prevent contracture.

Finding support – support to help you exercise is not to be underestimated. Research indicates that learning about exercise, working with others to overcome your barriers, and identifying facilitators to exercise will make you more successful in increasing your activity levels.

 SPEAK TO THE EXERCISE PROFESSIONALS

A health professional, like an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, can help you tailor exercise so that they are safe and suit your individual needs. They can also show you how to gradually increase your training load so that you minimise the risk of injury or are able to better manage your fatigue.

Getting support from an accredited exercise professional can also help you with goal setting and motivation to help make regular exercise and physical activity a part of your day-to-day life.

Click here to find an Accredited Exercise Physiologist near you.

Expert contributor: Dr Yvonne C Learmonth, Physiotherapist, Discipline of Exercise Science; Centre for Molecular Medicine and Innovative Medicine, Murdoch University, & Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science

Do Manifestation Techniques Produce Real Results?

Manifesting Techniques Produce Results

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Does manifestation work? Can you change your reality with manifestation techniques?

If you have read about manifesting, you might have been intrigued to know whether it’s really possible to get real results. Can you really attract the things you want? can you really improve your life?

These are legitimate questions, since it might seem strange how desiring something can attract it into your life.

First, for those of you who do not know what manifestation means, here is a short definition.

What Is Manifestation?

Manifestation is the act of bringing into real life the things you want. It is the process of turning your thoughts, desires and dreams into reality, using the power of your thoughts and the power of your imagination.

Manifestation is a mental technique that works together with creative visualization and the law of attraction.

The theory is that by focusing on a goal, imagining it, or writing about it, you can bring it into reality.

This is not a new idea. This process has been called, creative visualization, the law of attraction, the law of opulence, or the power of the mind.

Research by Dr. Carol Dweck clearly shows that believing you can do something makes it more likely that you’ll successfully do it.

In an article about this topic, psychologytoday.com says:
“Research shows that our expectations, positive or negative, tend to be confirmed. This is what is known as a self-fulfilling prophecy. So if we expect to bring our idea to life or reach our goal, we’re more likely to.”

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Make Your Dreams Come True with the Law of Attraction

Discover how to manifest whatever you want, no matter what your current reality is.Get the eBook

Why Manifestation Technique Might Not Work

Does manifestation work?

The short answer, yes, it works, but there are some factors, which you need to take into account, otherwise you might not get results.

It’s possible to use the techniques, and yet, not get results.

If you wish to be a millionaire within the next month, it will of course not work. It is not a reasonable goal, except if you win the lottery. Becoming a millionaire requires work and time.

You have to be reasonable with what you want. You can become a millionaire, but you need to really want it, be willing to accept everything that this entails, such hard work, getting out of your comfort zone, and accepting all the responsibilities that come with being a millionaire.

You also need to know in what area of life you want to make money, and get the necessary skills.

  • You need to choose a goal that is reasonable and within reach. Then, using manifestation techniques would accelerate the result.
  • If you choose goals that are far beyond your current circumstance, it would be difficult to manifest them.
  • If your desire is weak, or you don’t believe you can attract what you want, you will put barriers that would prevent the accomplishing of your goal.
  • Letting doubts enter your mind would neutralize the law of attraction.
  • Lack of enthusiasm would make it difficult for the manifestation techniques to work.
  • Are you qualified for what you want attract? If you are not, even if an opportunity pops up you might not get what you want.

These techniques do not replace effort. You need to do whatever is necessary to get your goal accomplished. If you need to learn a new skill or get a certificate, start studying.

If you need some experience and information, go get them.

If you intend just to read about manifestation, and maybe try it for a little while, without believing it will work, it would not work.

Will You Always Get Results?

The best thing to do is to try it with some minor goal, something within reach, and see how it works. Then, gradually try bigger goals.

Will you always get results? As said earlier, sometimes you might get results fast, at other times it would take some time, and sometimes, you might get no results at all.

What to do get results? You will have to study these techniques and use them. You need to keep an open mind, and also learn from your mistakes if you don’t get results.

There are people who promise you great results in a short time, who tell you that you can get anything you want. Well, this is exaggerated.

As in everything in life, the truth is in the middle.

What can help? Reading, studying, and getting all the advice and guidance you can find.

In my book ‘Manifest and Achieve Whatever You Want‘, I have explained in a detailed way how to make manifestation works and how to use it.

You will find in the book examples for getting a car, a house and a job, and many other examples, together with guidance and tips.

You will also learn about creative visualization and the law of attraction.

Manifestation would work for you, when you follow the rules and instructions. Sometimes it might not work as expected, but so it is in every area of life.

Manifesting techniques can produce real results if you use your common sense and intuition, and when your ambition is really strong.

Bear in mind that just wishing you get a certain result, and then wait passively for results, is not enough.

I hope you got your answer to the question, ‘Do manifestation techniques produce real results?’

“Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.”
– Napoleon Hill

“Eliminate all doubt and replace it with the full expectation that you will receive what you are asking for.”
– Rhonda Byrne

“What you radiate outward in your thoughts, feelings, mental pictures and words, you attract into your life.”
– Catherine Ponder

More quotes about manifestation.

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Make Your Dreams Come True with the Law of Attraction

Discover how to manifest whatever you want, no matter what your current reality is.Get the eBook