One of the most difficult impacts of aging occurs when health interferes with the ability to drive, use public transportation, or walk independently. Unable to get out to visit friends and attend social gatherings the way they used to, seniors can see their social world shrink, negatively impacting not just their mental well-being, but also their physical health. In these sorts of situations, assisted living can dramatically improve a person's quality of life in very important ways, increasing overall health and well-being.
Social Interaction Vital To Health
An important study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior noted that social isolation was connected to poorer physical health at all ages. However, it was particularly associated with the health of older people. Factoring in things that affect that age group at a higher rate, such as the loss of family members and friends to death and their own health impacting social interactions, it does seem logical that the health effects could be stronger on those more advanced in years.
Forbes reported on the results of a meta-analysis of 148 similar studies, with a combined total of 300,000 participants, done by Brigham Young University researchers. Even researchers were surprised at the degree to which isolation and social disconnectedness could impact physical health. According to Forbes, the meta-analysis revealed social isolation as having a major impact not just on health, but also on lifespan. It was as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, as living a sedentary lifestyle, or being an alcoholic. It was two times as harmful to health as being obese.
Assisted Living Offers Major Benefits
In an assisted living setting, the opportunities for social interaction and relationship building are restored. That alone offers major health benefits, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. These include lower blood pressure, lower risk of Alzheimer's, depression, some cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and osteoporosis. However, an assisted living setting offers additional advantages that can further benefit health.
Fitness centers are an increasingly common feature in assisted living settings, important for meeting physical therapy needs, as well as for helping seniors protect health by maintaining fitness. Having access to fitness equipment that is safe and easy to use independently, such as a recumbent stepper, and perhaps even a workout partner or two, can result in improved physical fitness. Fitness is important to improving balance and reducing falls, a major health problem for that age group, and reduces the risk of a number of diseases and other health conditions.
Having access to quality equipment after a hip replacement, knee replacement, or other health issue requiring physical therapy can make a real difference in how long recovery takes and the overall quality of the outcome. In an assisted living setting, meeting physical therapy goals is easier because the equipment is on site, as well as staff able to assist with the exercises the physical therapy is based on, promoting faster, more thorough recovery.
An Excellent Combination
The scientific evidence is very clear on the relationship between staying active and being healthy, as well as the connection between activity and longevity. Bringing together increased social interaction and ready access to fitness equipment in an assisted living setting can have a powerful impact on overall health and quality of life. Both physical and mental health and function can be preserved and protected. This is a combination that promotes longer, healthier lives, making the senior years truly golden.
The Evolving Role Of Senior Centers In The 21st Century
Social Disconnectedness, Perceived Isolation, and Health among Older Adults
Friends With Health Benefits
Older Adults and the Importance of Social Interaction
The surgical replacement of the hip is the starting point of the journey towards regaining mobility and well-being. It is the physical therapy that follows the surgery that makes the new hip functional. The patient will have to work to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic region and the legs, but has to do so very carefully to avoid dislocating the new hip. Range of motion has to be carefully controlled while increasing muscular strength, expanding gradually, as healing permits. A recumbent stepper is the ideal solution for meeting the physical therapy needs of a hip replacement patient.
Muscles Preserve New Hip Position, Function
After hip replacement surgery, working to strengthen muscles is vital. The muscles in the region of the hip serve to hold the hip in position. Those muscles, once physical therapy has made them stronger, will also help to protect against hip dislocation, as well as help the patient return to walking. This process takes time. Hip replacement patients have often had reduced physical activity for quite a while before their surgery, so their muscles are in a weakened state. Working those muscles after surgery has to be done very carefully because there are range of motion restrictions immediately after surgery during the early phases of healing.
Typical Range of Motion Limitations
Immediately after hip replacement surgery, a wedge-shaped pillow is often placed between a patients legs to prevent accidental leg crossing. When discharged from the hospital, patients are typically advised to sleep with a pillow between their legs to ensure that the leg on the side of the hip doesn't cross the center line of the body while sleeping. Crossing that center line too soon could result in dislocating the new hip. Other potentially risky movements during this period include bending the hip more than 80 degrees and turning the leg on the side of the hip replacement inwards. That is why it is so important to use physical therapy equipment that controls range of motion while strengthening muscles after hip replacement, such as a recumbent stepper.
Provides Support and Protection While Strengthening
A recumbent stepper can be positioned to meet the specific needs of the individual hip replacement patient. This is an accessible piece of equipment, designed to be easy for a person to transfer to from a wheel chair. The recumbent stepper is a safe way to increase physical strength and activity. Patients can focus on working their muscles because the equipment keeps their movements within their range of motion limits. As healing progresses and muscles strengthen, the stepper setting and position can be adjusted as necessary.
Hip Replacement Success Depends on Physical Therapy
How well a patient does after hip replacement depends a great deal on the degree to which that person is engaged in physical therapy. A recumbent stepper offers patients a safe, comfortable way to work the muscle sets vital to holding the new hip in the correct position, preventing hip dislocation and promoting a return to full mobility. Comfort and safety are important factors in the degree to which a patient will be engaged in the physical therapy process. Readily adaptable to the changing needs of a hip replacement patient in the process of healing, a recumbent stepper is ideal physical therapy equipment.
While sitting down on an upper-body machine may seem fairly obvious, there are several components that should be adjusted if you're looking to maximize the effectivness and safety of one of these machines. Here are the most important checks you should make before stepping into the seat:
The axis of the crank arms needs to adjust to the height of the user, whether they are seated or standing. If the axis is too high there will be impingement at the 12 o’clock position. Too low and there can be supraspinatus/biceps tendon strain at the 6 o’clock position. In most cases, it is ideal to set the axis level to the shoulder or just 1-2” below.
Adjustable crank arms
The crank arms need to be adjustable as well. A short limbed person would not want to start with a long crank arm that takes them out of their prescribed range of motion (ROM). Conversely a long limbed person would lose mechanical advantage and optimal ROM with too short of a crank arm. Independent adjustments allow users to select a shorter ROM setting on the involved side while maintaining mechanical advantage on the strong side; providing passive assistance when beneficial.
Reversible Crank Arms
The ability to change the crank arm orientation from the standard bicycle offset movement to work in unison or in a rotary rowing pattern is advantageous. It allows the user to work in core flexion versus rotation in cases where torso rotation is undesirable.
Bi-directional movement is essential for muscle and joint balance, but perhaps more importantly for neuromuscular kinesthesia. When we cue the patient to go backwards, 99 times out of 100 their neuromuscular hardwiring will tell them to pull. When we cue them to go forward their brain will tell them to push. But as their kinesthetic awareness expands they will come to realize that as only part of the total equation. In fact in the course of any given rotation there are myriad push pull combinations. As these new neuromuscular pattern connections are made, kinesthesia, motor skills and even cognitive skills are improved. Anything that takes the patient out of the dominant pattern ultimately makes the brain-muscle connection stronger and actually smarter.
It is important that the handle angle keeps the users forearm in the anatomically neutral position. Over pronating and over supinating creates torque and stress in both the proximal and distal radio-ulnar joints.
Students, teachers and staff at Pryor Public Schools now have more opportunities to exercise. Thanks to a Carolyn M. White PEP Grant, the school was able to transform an old wrestling room into a state-of-the-art fitness center. SCIFIT worked with Pryor on this project from the beginning and we were honored to be part of their vision. See their story here:
All of us were saddened by the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy last week. SCIFIT came across a benefit outreach called Socks for Sandy.
Socks for Sandy, powered by a group of creative bloggers, was started by Laura Kuhlmann, a resident of Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy in her area. What they need most are socks, gloves, mittens, hats, and new packages of underwear, for babies up to the elderly and every shape and size and age in between. These can be sent to:
Socks for Sandy
P.O. Box 520
Little Egg Harbor, NJ 08087
More information can be found here bit.ly/socksforsandy
We know the victims will appreciate your support!
The special needs market is one SCIFIT understands best since being involved with the IFI (Inclusive Fitness Initiative) since 2005.
What is defined as special needs? In the past, the answer would have been someone who has an impairment in movement or mobility, spinal cord, hearing, brain or a vision disability. After reading the article, An Inclusive Future by HCM, featuring Bob Whitlock, SCIFIT UK’s Sales Director; we learn that the special needs population could be considered even further if the market, suppliers and facilities take into account the growing rate of obesity and senior markets. We also learn that inclusive and mainstream products may merge seamlessly in the future making facilities and equipment accessible for all to use in one place, not just in a defined area of a facility.
SCIFIT’s current IFI product range includes the PRO1 Upper Body Exerciser, PRO2 All Body Exerciser, ISO7000R Recumbent Bike and the AC5000 Treadmill.
Read the entire article, An Inclusive Future, in the Health Club Management September 2012 issue, http://bit.ly/NRTuZF.
Learn more about Inclusive Fitness and English Federation of Disability Sport, http://www.efds.co.uk/
The World Congress on Active Ageing was held at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow, Scotland last month. Only hosted every four years, it brings together the world's leading experts in Active Ageing and others who understand the needs for this growing market.
The congress, like many others, was a mix of seminars and workshops and drew in approximately 1,200 delegates each day. There were 50 stands but SCIFIT was only one of three of fitness equipment suppliers while partnering with HUR.
This elevated the markets brand awareness for SCIFIT, those understanding the benefits of SCIFIT's products and programs as a cardio specialist supplier. With features like low starting resistance, easy access and different seating options, SCIFIT equipment provides opportunities for people of all ages to stay active.
Maybe we are a bit biased, but this is the coolest video we've seen in a while. Not only does it feature Olympic Gold Medalist, Ryan Lochte, but he is using the SCIFIT PRO1 Upper Body Exerciser.
This really isn't surprising in a sport like swimming where upper body is king. In fact, it makes perfect sense to use the PRO1 to strengthen and condition shoulders, arms, chest and upper back. That's why we make it.
We are also not surprised to see our products being used by elite athletes. Our products are tough and durable, just like the athletes who use them. No, we are not surprised, but we are more than a little flattered.
Want to know the best part? Ryan Lochte is not a paid spokesperson for SCIFIT, neither is the University of Florida. Why do they use it? Well, we can't say for sure, but we are guessing it has a lot to do with results...and gold medals.Click here to see the video
Video Source: BBC Sport
Friday, August 10 SCIFIT enjoyed a family night out at the Tulsa Drillers. The Drillers are the Double A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies in Tulsa and play at ONEOK Field. The Tulsa professional baseball club is the oldest professional sports franchise in the city of Tulsa. Professional baseball began in Tulsa in 1905 and has now been played for over 100 years.
Thankfully the weather cooperated for us and we were able to sit out on the Tiki Deck and enjoy our hamburgers, hot dogs and other goodies! The Oklahoma heat previously was too much to handle most days so the welcomed “chill” of somewhere in the 90’s was awesome for us. The kids played and enjoyed cookies, adults enjoyed the game, food and the fireworks show after. Take a look at some of our pictures and meet some of our SCIFIT family members.
From left to right: The Carder's, Scott & Stacy (SCIFIT internal sales support) and The Clemmons's, Jessica (SCIFIT internal sales support) & Justin
The Korner Family: Bryan (SCIFIT CFO), Lisa and Sara
The Lincoln/Stull Family: Ross & Eldonna Lincoln (parents of Jason) and Jason Stull (SCIFIT internal sales support)
The McKnight Family: Aaron, Jeff (SCIFIT Engineering Manager), Cindy and Nathan
The Hebenstreit Family: Mark (SCIFIT receiving), Lauren and Jennifer
SCIFIT's view of the game from the Tiki Deck
SCIFIT CEO, Larry Born, logged over 3,000 miles of training since January 1st in preparation for the Tulsa Tough cycling event earlier this month. His training was composed of long rides, heat acclimation, climbing and teamwork. It also included many miles of interval training on the SCIFIT ISO1000 Upright Bike. Larry's goal: Finish the Mondo Fondo 127 mile bike race in under six hours and take home the commemorative jersey.
For those not familiar with the conditions for a Tulsa bike race in June, I have three words: hot, humid and hilly (this race included 4,000 feet of climbing). Larry was going at a good pace but he started cramping at 85 miles and had to drop off from the group. This cost him more time than he had to spare and without his team, he ended up finishing with a time of 6:25 (still pretty impressive in my book).
Others fared a little better. Twelve of Larry's sixteen teammates finished in under six hours. The professional team that Larry hosted at his home, Team Jamis/Sutter Home Professional Cycling, won the Saturday race and placed one of their riders in the top five of the final point standings.
Larry may not have achieved his goal for this race, but he has not lost his winning spirit. "There's always next year," he says with a smile. Larry's next challenge is the Triple Bypass, a 120 mile race in Colorado in July. Good luck Larry!
P.S. - These incredible photos are courtesy of our very own Corey Disler, VP Sales. Thanks Corey!