Thursday, January 9, 2014

What if you made it harder?

There are a lot of things out there that can help make the life of the survivor easier. Assistive devices that can aid in everything from walking to eating, for instance. There are apps to help aphasic folks communicate. There are even books that give you "Tips for Making Life Easier.

There are really really good reasons to have these "helpers." One of those reasons is safety. Take AFOs, for example. I've been an advocate of attempting to "walk out of" the AFO. AFOs help folks who can't lift their foot, walk. And if its a safety issue then, by all means, keep it!! But if a set of muscles is not used it will atrophy. In the case of the AFO, the orthotic eliminates the need to use the dorsi flexors which lift the foot. But that muscles will atrophy is only half the problem.

The other thing that atrophies is the portion of the brain that controls that movement.  In short order (weeks) the number of connections between neurons in the brain rapidly decreases. Is that what we want? Generally, no (but for safety, yes, maybe.)

So all this time is spent on making life easier but making life harder is the place to be.  Find suggestions here and here and here.


Mike said...

This is the selfie, facebook and smartphone generation where there are more couch potatoes. people hardly walk and exercise but eat too much especially the stroke survivors.people are getting weaker, this is not the prehistoric era where physical strength and low calorie intake are the way of life. now all we got are high calorie food, internet, television, and severe weather pattern 24/7. humanity might be sinking.

Peter G Levine said...

True that. But I'd still take any generation after the 1960's because prior to then exercise was viewed as something blue collar people did because they weren't smart enough to get a job where they only had to use their brain.

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