Month: December 2021

How Does Fear Influence Your Behavior?


Fear is inevitable.

But if I’ve learned anything about fear, it’s that preparedness, healing, and practicing how I respond in advance are key to my success.

Before we dive in, and because I’m committed to you getting the greatest value out of our time together, let’s first define success and why you might be here.

YOU MAY BE DRIVEN BY THE DESIRE TO MAKE AN IMPACT.

Deathbed regrets are ridden with questions like, “Did I make a big enough difference?”

Therefore, understanding and managing the role of fear is paramount to you accessing greater confidence and un-regrettably, quite literally making a positive difference in the world.

Now, let’s dive in.

There is no guarantee of success.

This creates great fear around taking action. How do you move through it?

Below are five methods that work for me.

#1 IDENTIFY: HOW DOES FEAR SHOW UP IN YOUR BODY?

Do you…

Fight fear. This looks like aggression, violence or chasing after something.

Run away from fear. This looks like physically running away or drinking, or working too much.

Or do you just freeze and do nothing? This looks like procrastination or stopping dead in your tracks.

Fighting, fleeing, or freezing are known as F3 responses, unplanned biological responses to a perceived threat.

You may not be able to stop the F3 response, but you can recognize and minimize the impact.

FEAR CHANGES YOUR BIOLOGY IN THE SHORT-TERM AND LONG TERM.

“Fear […] triggers a strong physical reaction in your body. […] Stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline are released. Your blood pressure and heart rate increase. You start breathing faster.

Even your blood flow changes — blood actually flows away from your heart and into your limbs, making it easier for you to start throwing punches, or run for your life. Your body is preparing for fight-or-flight.”

— NORTHWESTERN MEDICINE

FEAR CAN MAKE IT HARD TO MAKE DECISIONS.

“As some parts of your brain are revving up, others are shutting down. […] now it’s difficult to make good decisions or think clearly.” — NORTHWESTERN MEDICINE

Accepting that fear arises is wisdom, not weakness.

#2 NAME YOUR FEAR

What are you scared of?

What triggers you?

Who always gets under your skin and gets your heart racing?

Make note of this.

Understanding the nature of what aggravates your F3 response is key to healing it or managing it.

#3 HEAL YOUR BIOLOGY

In The Biology of Fear, a 2013 research study conducted by Ralph Adolphs, a Stanford Graduate and Bren Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Biology at Caltech, Adolphs illuminates that fear has many faces.

“A variety of evidence supports a view [that] there are types of fear. ” — ADOLPHS, THE BIOLOGY OF FEAR

The most common distinctions are fear, panic, and anxiety.

If you’re someone who suffers from panic or anxiety, it’s worth reviewing your diet. If you experienced chronic stress, emotional betrayal, or suffer from possible PTSD, it’s imperative to acknowledge.

HEALING IS THE FIRST STEP TO MANAGEMENT BECAUSE THE PHYSICAL RESPONSE IS NOT COMING FROM A HEALTHY BASELINE.

It’s an over-exaggerated response by the body indicating an imbalance. It isn’t ideal to attempt to manage this long term. It’s meant to be healed.

Anxiety and PTSD are both biological and psychological pointing to physical changes in the brain’s structure.

“Don’t beat yourself up if you want to make a difference and run into roadblocks of panic, anxiety, or PTSD. Instead, look into healing this. Management is a short-term solution.” — LALITA GABRIELLA BALLESTEROS

#4 PREPARE FOR ALL KNOWN OUTCOMES

Once you know your baseline F3 response, and how you naturally respond in stressful situations, you can begin to manage these responses.

To do this, you need to understand the delta between how you want to show up and your current reactions. Then, you prepare. Over-prepare. Practice the new way of being and rehearse all outcomes.

OVER-PREPARING AND PRACTICE ARE EFFECTIVE FOR TWO REASONS.

One, when your F3 response kicks in, you have a rehearsed response plan you can fall back on. Two, you’re more confident because you’ve watched yourself succeed in the face of that which scares you.

#5 PRACTICE THE UNDERSTANDING THAT YOU CANNOT CONTROL THE OUTCOME

You cannot control what other people do. This can be heartbreaking when you think other people are standing in the way of real change. Still, the fact remains, other people, make their own choices.

Focus on yourself.

Focus on who you can be and what you can create.

The rest is up to the powers that be. If you do not accept this fact, it will impair your ability to healthily make a difference long-term. Burnout, resentment, insanity, and failure are more likely outcomes.

Share this with a friend in need.

Go make a difference, for the better.

Lalita


Lalita Ballesteros is a speaker, comedian, director, and the founder of Haus of Lala, a creative agency specializing in personal branding. She stands by the belief that your voice matters and that authentic self-expression is our most important work. In the past, Lalita’s disrupted the publishing industry with Seth Godin and The Domino Project (powered by Amazon) creating six best-sellers and raising over a quarter million in revenue in only four months. She also worked at the American Embassy in Rome, created a 6-figure Airbnb business, and oversaw ambassador efforts at Lyft. She speaks three languages and is a regular contributor for Positively Positive, a publication with over 2.5 million followers on Facebook. Lalita’s been seen on the stages of TEDx and Comedy Bary as well as in the pages of Fast Company, Etsy, Forbes, Yahoo Small Business, Mashable, and the best-selling book End Malaria. She currently lives in Toronto with her dog, Luna. Follow her writings and comedy here and #100daysofcomedy here.

Image courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio.

Making Wise Choices: Cultivate Your Wisdom Council


You make choices every day. Every choice we make – big or small – affects the shape of our lives and the reality we live. But most of us were not taught how to make wise decisions.

We’ve been taught to be logical, and practical, but decisions about your life made from only the intellect often lead you to creating realties that limit you, burn you out, keep you from what you truly desire.

In changing, intense times like we live in, where we are each making choices – in our career, relationships, business, money and health – you cannot just rely on your intellect or what the mainstream world is telling you to make courageous and wise choices.

Many of the choices I see women being faced with right now are also causing us to have to stretch outside our comfort zones … which can create feelings of fear and doubt… confusion and procrastination… and stress!

If you want to make choices that lead to a reality that supports you vs sacrifices you, you have to access both your heart wisdom and intuitive power first … have the inner skill to work with your own fear and confusion to find clarity… and then have the courage to make choices that will often look differently than others. And for this you need super powers, truly.

Which is why I decided to create this three part series on Feminine Power Time for you “Making Wise Choices”.

This first episode is focused on one of the super power tools I believe is essential … but most people lack. It’s called “Cultivating Your Wisdom Council” — without this I don’t think it is possible to stay focused on what matters, and make truly wise choices.

So tune in … I taped this on location in Northern California at the home of one of my soul sisters on my Wise Woman Council, during a weekend in which I came to visit three of the members of my council to help me make some big choices about my business and organization, and the shape of the reality those choices would create.

What I will share today is:

  • Why you want to make WISE CHOICES vs. smart choices.
  • What is a wisdom council, and why do you want to make sure you have one?
  • How to create your own Wisdom Council.
  • Who to have in your council and who not to.
  • How to ask for the support and clarity you need so you get wisdom not advice.I also have two daring acts for you to put this into place in your life now.

Bring the choices and challenges you are facing … and let’s get you set up to have the support you need to stay clear and stay connected to what is true for you.

See you next week!
Much love,

Christine

To TUNE IN:

* Subscribe on ITUNES – here

* Download from Stitcher – here

* Listen Spotify – here 


Christine Arylo, MBA, is the author of Overwhelmed and Over It. As a transformational leadership advisor, three-time bestselling author, and host of the popular Feminine Power Time podcast, she is recognized worldwide for her work helping women to make shift happen — in the lives they lead, the work they do, and the world they wish to create. Arylo offers trainings, retreats and workshops globally. Visit her online at http://www.christinearylo.com or tune into her podcast www.FemininePowerTime.com. Connect more with Christine and her community at www.femininewisdomcafe.com.

Image courtesy of RF._.studio.

Changing Our Minds

Admitting we’re wrong is painful–even seen as a sign of weakness. But what if we take a more flexible approach? This hour: how rethinking ideas can be good for our brains and our relationships. Guests include former GOP congressman Bob Inglis, organizational psychologist Adam Grant, and civil rights activist Loretta J. Ross.

Exercising with Cerebral Palsy

Exercising with Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy occurs when there is an injury to the developing brain either during pregnancy or shortly after birth. Cerebral palsy results in a physical disability that affects movement and posture and is a permanent life-long condition, which does not worsen over time.

1 in 700 children are born with cerebral palsy and it is considered to be the most common physical disability in childhood.

Cerebral Palsy is classified via a system called the Gross Motor Function Classification System, commonly referred to as the GMFCS.

THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE

People with cerebral palsy of all ages and all GMFCS levels can improve their function and gross motor skills through increasing their fitness levels and reducing sedentary behaviours. Improved function will then allow them to enhance their health and well-being and prevent them from entering a cycle of deconditioning.

The wide range of benefits elicited by regular physical activity include:

  • improved health and well-being (including decreased anxiety, depression and stress)​
  • maintained mobility and range of motion ​
  • decreased sedentary behaviours
  • decreased risk of mortality due to cardiovascular and circulatory complications ​
  • improved sleep patterns and quality ​
  • increased circulation and movement of the bowels and therefore decreased likelihood of bowel obstructions​ and constipation

Exercise programs can be tailored to focus on specific, meaningful life goals and increasing capacity and independence, such as confidence to walk across the road, go swimming, or go grocery shopping.

In one study, participants who were young people with cerebral palsy discussed the psychological benefits of participating in a strength training programme, of having more energy, of having a feeling of well-being, and the benefits of taking personal responsibility.

The social opportunities during exercise therapy are also important as it can result in increased opportunities for people living with cerebral palsy to engage in the community.

disability

TYPES OF EXERCISE RECOMMENDED

Every individual with cerebral palsy is unique, as the type and presentation of their movement disorder depends on the area of the brain affected and therefore impacts the recommended type of exercise.

For example, exercise for a person with spastic cerebral palsy following botulinum toxin therapy would include targeted strength training in the antagonist muscles of the target limb, whereas exercise for the prevention of long-term chronic health conditions and metabolic dysregulation should focus on reducing sedentary behaviours through regular low to moderate physical activity.

Overall, a mixture of aerobic and strength training is recommended:

  • 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week
  • 2-3 sessions of strength training per week

According to existing research, exercise prescription for people with cerebral palsy should include:

  • a minimum frequency of 2-3 times per week;
  • an intensity between 60-95% of peak heart rate, or between 40–80% of the heart rate reservice (HRR), or between 50–65% of VO2peak; and
  • a minimum time of 20 minutes per session, for at least 8 consecutive weeks, when training three times a week, or for 16 consecutive weeks when training two times a week.

Overall, greater gains are made with longer training programs (in terms of duration: 3 months plus of adherence to program) and participating in higher dosages of training.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise is important for people with cerebral palsy as it enables them to complete activities such as walking or propelling a wheelchair without being inhibited by fatigue. A range of research reported that fitness training increased aerobic capacity in this population.

Strength Training

Maintaining strength through strength exercise is important to keep muscles healthy and reducing cardiometabolic risk factor profiles and lowering all-cause mortality. Strong muscles are helpful for daily activities like getting up and down from the couch, getting dressed, or leaning forward to put a sling on for hoist transfers.

As cerebral palsy results from an injury to motor regions of the developing brain, muscle weakness is a primary impairment and there is strong evidence showing that children with cerebral palsy are significantly weaker than typically developing children. Resistance training promotes an increase in muscle mass and can be done in a variety of ways such as body weight training, resistance training machines found within a gym setting or free weights.

Some types of strength training are safer than others for different individuals. For example, individuals with ataxia with uncoordinated movements may not be recommended to use free weights due to the risk of dropping them or over-extending their joints. Fixed range resistance training machines are safer in these aspects. Similarly, an increase in energy expenditure due to decreased efficiency of movements in individuals with dystonia can lead to increased fatigue, and therefore adequate rest breaks need to be considered when commencing strength training programs.

cerebral palsy

Functional Training

People with cerebral palsy are recommended to utilise both functional and progressive strength training. This technique involves using exercises that are made progressively more difficult through an increase in the amount of weight or the resistance over time. Functional strength training involves doing everyday functional activities while the amount of resistance increases. Examples of this method include repetitively throwing and catching weighted balls or moving around in a self-propelling wheelchair to help increase arm strength.

Balance Exercises

Due to decreased lower limb strength, co-ordination and poor muscle control, and increased fatiguability of the muscles, falls risk can be high in individuals with cerebral palsy. Balance exercises are therefore important. Practicing both static and dynamic balance, in a range of different foot positions and environments, are great ways to maintain and improve balance.

Hydrotherapy involves training in a heated pool (32-34 degrees), completing exercise tailored to the individual’s unique needs. Along with improving strength and mobility, including gross motor function and walking endurance, hydrotherapy is also frequently used as part of rehabilitation programs following surgery. For someone with severely limited mobility, hydrotherapy can be liberating – enabling much greater movement and range of motion than on land. Hydrotherapy programs can integrate aerobic, strength and balance training in a safe environment.

SPEAK TO THE EXERCISE PROFESSIONALS

There are many kinds of exercises and the ‘best’ type will depend on the person’s age, family situation, health and mobility. The decision to undertake fitness training involves understanding the evidence, cost, time and resources required and putting plans and preparations in place to overcome any potential barriers.

For example, these associated impairments experienced by people with cerebral palsy may significantly impact upon opportunities to participate in physical activities:

  • 3 in 4 people with cerebral palsy experience pain
  • 1 in 4 has a behaviour disorder
  • 1 in 2 has an intellectual impairment
  • 1 in 5 has a sleep disorder

However, none of these should be a barrier to participation.

There are a multitude of exercise and activity options for all individuals with cerebral palsy regardless of level of severity and physical disability. The important thing is finding the right approach for the individual.

The best way to do this is to consult with an Accredited Exercise Physiologist or other suitably qualified health professional such as an Accredited Exercise Scientist. These exercise professionals can also work with local community groups and sports clubs to provide education and training for increasing participation opportunities within local groups and programs for people living with cerebral palsy.

Click here to find an accredited exercise professional near you.

Expert Contributor: Lauren Dadd, Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Clinical Educator at Cerebral Palsy Alliance

15 Reasons Why You Need to Adopt a Positive Lifestyle

Why Need a Positive Lifestyle

Pin

Living a positive life and focusing on conscious living is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

In this article, I’ll focus on living a positive lifestyle, and in a next future post, I will be focusing on conscious living.

What does a positive life means? It means incorporating into your life positive thinking and optimism, and backing them up with positive action.

I have written a lot about positive thinking, but what does positive action mean?

Positive action means taking action about your goals and about your decisions.

Positive thinking, together with positive action, lead to results.

Positive thinking is a way of life that focuses on the bright side of life, seeks solutions, and expects positive results.

This positive approach to life relates not only to career, money and material goals, but also to self-improvement and spiritual goals, to love and good relationships, to health, and to building positive habits and new skills.

This is actually, one of the main purposes of this website, to provide you with the tools, advice and guidance to live a positive lifestyle.

Why Need to Adopt a Positive Lifestyle

If you wonder what you will get by changing your attitude and mindset from negative to positive, here are few answers:

  1. Being positive allows you to seek solutions to problems and difficulties, instead of soaking in self-pity and pessimism.
  2. With this state of mind, you expect progress and successful results.
  3. Positive thinking is a mental state of optimism and hope, and as such, it’s good for your mental and emotional health.
  4. A positive attitude creates a happy state of mind.
  5. This attitude helps you maintain good relationships with your family, friends and colleagues.
  6. Positive thinking makes it easier to be a forgiving person.
  7. It becomes easier to avoid dwelling on worries and anxieties.
  8. It takes your mind away from thoughts of hurts and painful memories.
  9. With this mental attitude you stop living in the past and focus on the present.
  10. You avoid occupying your mind and attention with your troubles, obstacles, frustration and failure, and instead, you start expecting positive results.
  11. Being positive helps you wake up each day with the expectation of a happy and wonderful day.
  12. You subscribe to the idea that if one door closes, you find a new door opening.
  13. You feel light, happy and deal with everything you face with confidence.
  14. You feel inspired, and therefore, are able to motivate other people by your attitude and behavior.
  15. Being positive, you will be less stressed and anxious.

These are just a few of the benefits of positive thinking and living a positive lifestyle.

All this might seem difficult, especially if you have been living a negative lifestyle. Change takes time and effort.

How do you change your mindset from negative to positive?

There are various ways to do so, and they are simple and easy. You only need to persevere with the techniques, and gradually, you would begin to see the changes in your life.

You can create positivity in your life. You can bring the sunshine into your life. It is not that difficult at all. All you have to do is to start.

How to Become a Positive Person?

How do you go on changing your attitude?

How do you go on living a positive lifestyle?

All this has been explained clearly in our book Positive Thinking, as well in various articles on this website.

There are also various tools to help you not only to change your mindset, but also to create positive results and make your life happy and positive. These tools are affirmations and visualization.

These are potent tools when used correctly.

Since these topics are well-explained in other articles on this website, and in more detail in our books, we are not repeating here the advice, tips and instructions.

Positive ThinkingPinPin

Want to Succeed in Whatever You Do? Learn to Think Positive!

The ultimate eBook on positive thinking and building a positive mindset.Get the eBook

Living a Healthy and Positive Lifestyle

Why not start today to bring more positivity into your life?

You might find yourself reluctant to start using the tools I suggest, since you are afraid this might involve too much effort. Maybe you are reluctant to leave your comfort zone, though it is not a happy zone.

If you wish to make your life happier and more successful you need to live a positive lifestyle.

Living a positive lifestyle, you will:

  • Become optimistic.
  • You will hope and expect the best to happen.
  • Problems and obstacles will not hold you down.
  • No matter what happens around you, you continue with your efforts.
  • Your attitude would motivate your colleagues, employees, friends and family.
  • You will have more joy in your life.
  • Your prospects of success in any area of life you choose, would increase.
  • You will experience less stress and less anxiety.
  • You will become a kinder and more understanding person.
  • You will smile at life, and life will smile back on you.

This kind of lifestyle would also contribute to your well-being and to your health. A healthy and happy attitude contributes to a healthier life.

Positivity Mindset Quotes

Here is a selection of related quotes, I hope you will enjoy reading.

“Miracles happen to those who believe in them.”
– Bernhard Berenson

“One small positive thought can change your whole day.”
– Zig Ziglar

“It’s a wonderful thing to be optimistic. It keeps you healthy and it keeps you resilient.”
– Daniel Kahneman

“Turn every life situation into a positive one.”
– Rhonda Byrne

“Inspiration comes from within yourself. One has to be positive. When you’re positive, good things happen.”
– Deep Roy

“When you wake up every day, you have two choices. You can either be positive or negative; an optimist or a pessimist. I choose to be an optimist. It’s all a matter of perspective.”
– Harvey Mackay

“In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.”
– Dalai Lama

“In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. That means we have 1,440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact.”
– Les Brown

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”
– Milton Berle

“You have to train your brain to be positive just like you work out your body.”
– Shawn Achor

“Positive thoughts are not enough. There should also be positive feelings and positive actions.”
– Remez Sasson

Positive ThinkingPinPin

Want to Succeed in Whatever You Do? Learn to Think Positive!

The ultimate eBook on positive thinking and building a positive mindset.Get the eBook

The Scientific “Compliment Formula” Can Help You Make New Friends


I didn’t realize it at the time, but I accidentally used this strategy to make my first friend overseas. I arrived friendless and alone on the shores of England for my first year of college. I knew I needed to find friends fast.

Even though I was anxious about meeting new people — how could I impress them? Didn’t all British people hate Americans? — I was lonely enough that I would do anything to make a friend.

So when I met Hannah for the first time, I knew I wanted her to be my friend. She was cool, genuine, quirky. She was also intimidating. But still, I hatched my plot to befriend her. I would use the technique that always worked on me.

One day at lectures, I sat next to her and waited for the right moment. She raised her hand to answer a tricky question from the professor. I sprung my friendship trap.

“Hannah, your bravery is so impressive!” I said. “I never would have put my hand up for a question like that.”

“I know! I was scared of getting it right. But I’m trying to put myself out there more,” Hannah replied. And just like that, we started talking. We had coffee together in between classes, and later, she invited me to a house party of a friend of hers. Eight years later, we’re still great friends and talk practically every day even though we live 4,000 miles apart.

Subconsciously, I’d used what researchers call the “compliment formula” to make my first friend.

Science shows compliments create friends.

How come compliments are so good at making friends? Neurologically speaking, research from Izuma et al, receiving a compliment activates the same receptors in your brain as when you earn money. You’re literally being paid a compliment. It feels amazing.

But part of the power of compliments is that they’re extremely formulaic. Wolfson & Maines wrote in their 1980 paper that despite the virtually unlimited number of possible word combinations that could be used to construct a compliment, English speakers default to a very few options, mostly focusing on a single one:

You go with a noun phrase (you, your hair), stick on a verb, add an optional adverb like really or super, and then end with a positive adjective like good or great.

They hypothesized that the advantage of using a “compliment formula” rather than something more unique is because compliments play a pivotal role in society. They lubricate so many of our conversations and interactions that they should be instantly parseable as a compliment. In their words, the formula “prevents misunderstanding and minimizes differences which might interfere with the solidarity-creating function of compliments…[but]…it must be interpreted as sincere and spontaneous.”

This lets us give compliments that we know will be understood as compliments, but without making them any less genuine or honest. Compliments like that can be used to build a friendship based on mutual goodwill between compliment-giver and recipient.

It certainly did so for me and Hannah.

Here’s how to drop a friendship-boosting compliment today.

Anyone can use this formula — in fact, you probably already have without even realizing it. That’s the beauty of the formula. It’s subtle but effective.

Once you know about it, you can easily deploy it when you need it most. I’ve used it when meeting new people I want to like me, escalating acquaintances to the friendship level, or even at interviews to make a good first impression.

The crucial thing to remember that elevates the compliment formula from a generic, meaningless platitude to a powerful conversational tool is specificity. As licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist Marcia Naomi Berger explained to Sara DiGiulio at NBC News, “The best compliments refer to specific character traits, behaviors, or appearance.”

Next time you want to use this compliment formula to solidify your next friendship, remember the simplicity of the formula paired with the specificity of the compliment. Compliment something that’s changed recently, like a haircut or a new outfit. You can also comment directly on something that just happened like I did with Hannah when she answered the scary question.

I’ve used this compliment formula consciously and subconsciously my whole life. There’s a reason simple compliments are so powerful — they’re the social lubrication that smoothes out our relationships and interactions. Next time you’re faced with a potential new pal, try out the compliment formula and see how it boosts your friendship to the next level.


Zulie Rane is a reader and a writer who believes in the power to change the world through the written word. You can find her writing on ZulieRane.com, posting selfies and art on Instagram at @zulierane and tweeting bad puns on Twitter at @zulierane.

Image courtesy of YURI MANEI.

Scared of Losing People You Love? How to Work through the Fear

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Deafness and Exercise: what you need to know

Deafness and Exercise: what you need to know

Approximately 3.6 million people in Australia are affected by hearing loss. Older age and excessive exposure to loud noise are the leading causes. However, young people are also affected. Around 350 Australian children per year are diagnosed with permanent hearing loss. It’s estimated that, by the age of 17, approximately 39 children in 10,000 will have some type of hearing loss.

Many people who are deaf or hard of hearing don’t identify as having a disability – it is a personal choice. However, deafness is often linked with conditions, such as genetic syndromes, that lead to physical and/or intellectual disabilities. It’s estimated that between 30-40% of children who are deaf or hard of hearing have an additional disability.

THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE

While exercise cannot ‘treat’ deafness, it’s a vital component of a healthy lifestyle – irrespective of your hearing ability. Regular exercise has well-known benefits to physical health, including improved weight, blood pressure and cholesterol management and reduced risk of developing health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

Exercise also has important mental health benefits. It triggers the release of natural mood-boosting chemicals, enhances sleep, and has been shown to be effective for managing depression symptoms.

Regular exercise also boosts brain health. Given that untreated hearing loss has been linked with an increased risk of memory loss, physical activity may be especially important for maintaining brain function in people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Furthermore, if you have a disability associated with deafness, you may be at higher risk for developing a long-term physical or mental health condition. Exercise is an important way to break the cycle of disability and poorer health.

sun safety melanoma

POTENTIAL BARRIERS TO EXERCISE

People who are deaf or hard of hearing can face barriers to achieving adequate physical activity levels. For example, research found four common themes could become either barriers to, or facilitators of, physical activity in older adults who are deaf or hard of hearing:

  • use of effective communication strategies – such as lip reading and sign language
  • access to visual and technical support – such as the use of cards to illustrate exercises
  • environment – such as adequate lighting
  • type of physical activity – such as water-based exercises which require removal of hearing aids

Barriers like these can lead to long-term physical inactivity. For example, research found children and adolescents with a hearing impairment had reduced levels of physical activity compared to their peers without a hearing impairment. Another study found hearing loss was significantly associated with lower levels of physical activity, and more time spent in sedentary behaviours, in adults aged 60-69 years.

In turn, a sedentary lifestyle is linked with a higher risk of many chronic health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, some cancers, osteoporosis and depression. It is therefore important that people who are deaf or hard of hearing find an opportunity to exercise, that overcomes the aforementioned barriers to physical activity, so that they are engaging in a sufficient amount each week to reduce the risk of lifestyle diseases.

TYPES OF EXERCISE RECOMMENDED

Because exercise does not reduce or reverse hearing loss, the type of exercise should be chosen based on your needs and goals. For example, a person who is deaf and has an additional disability that affects muscle tone will need a program that emphasises building muscle strength. A person who is deaf and doesn’t have an additional disability may not need to focus so much on strength development.

Most people, including those who are deaf, will benefit from a range of exercises designed to build cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and balance.

THINGS TO BE AWARE OF

Some thought is necessary when designing exercise programs for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Firstly, the hearing loss itself may necessitate modifications to how exercise programs are delivered. For example, in team sports where coaches and umpires/referees normally rely on whistles, other means may be necessary. Additionally, for some people, group fitness environments may be difficult to engage with.

Secondly, care is needed when deafness is associated with an additional disability. More than 400 syndromes involve a hearing loss. These syndromes can also cause a wide range of other physical, mental, behavioural and social issues. Examples include heart defects, musculoskeletal conditions, vision problems, depression, and concerning behaviours.

This means numerous factors may need to be considered when designing a safe and effective program.

SPEAK TO THE EXERCISE PROFESSIONALS

ESSA accredited exercise professionals are trained to understand factors that can be associated with deafness or hearing loss in people of all ages. An Accredited Exercise Physiologist or Accredited Exercise Scientist can design an exercise program that takes your health needs into consideration, tailoring it to meet your needs, goals and exercise preferences. The important thing is finding a program that works for you, and an accredited exercise professional can help with this.

Your program will start at an intensity that matches your current physical condition and will progress as your fitness improves. The accredited exercise professional will ensure you’re performing exercises safely and correctly and, if needed, can train your support people to assist with your program.

Some Accredited Exercise Physiologists have a special interest in working with people with disability. They will work alongside you, and your support people, to help you achieve optimal health, independence and quality of life.

Click here to find an accredited exercise professional near you.

Expert Contributors: Amanda Semaan and Kara Foscholo, Accredited Exercise Physiologists and Co-Directors of Active Ability