Exercises That Aid in Stroke Recovery

By Charles Cheow

There are many exercises that aid in stroke recovery. There are physical, mental, and occupational exercises used by therapists during stroke rehabilitation. Some of them are:

1. Physical Exercises – As the word connotes, these are a range of bodily motions meant to tone fat, enhance muscle buildup, and strengthen the body. Stroke patients are given physical exercises to hone them to move their body, avoid spasticity of the muscles, and regain strength, balance, and independence. Samples of exercises that aid in stroke recovery include:
a) Passive Range of Motion = this aims to keep the muscles flexible and the joints lubricated through movement of the shoulder, elbow, wrist, fingers, hip, knee, and ankles.
b) Active Assisted Range of Motion = this set of exercises begin once the affected limb has been restored of its function and involves the help of another person in its performance
c) Active and Resisted Range of Motion = exercises taught during this phase enables the patient to move their own limbs without assistance through all the range of motion at every joint, such as those involving free weights, resistance bands, and the manual resistance coming from the therapist.
d) Coordination Exercises = this focuses on the regaining control over the affected limb by lifting the leg or placing it on the heel of the other leg, for example.
e) Balance and Stability Exercises = this entails the control of the person’s trunk while sitting or standing. Thus, the patient is asked to do a series of exercises involving sitting and standing with the aid of parallel bars, walkers, and canes.

2. Mental Exercises – Mental exercise to reverse the effect of stroke on the patient are normally done under cognitive rehabilitation as the case may apply. Often, exercises include memory retention and sharpening such as math functions, reasoning, logic, and concept. These exercises are repeated over time as long as it is necessary.

3. Occupational Exercises – Exercises include learning to do daily activities that will help the patient go back to normal life, such as sweeping the floor, brushing the teeth, picking up pieces, folding clothes and linen, among others. The goal is to let the patient do this things, over time, on his own.
There are many exercises that aid in stroke recovery and are used during the rehabilitation process. These exercises should always be done with caution to avoid further injury. It is best that these be performed with professionals only.

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My Stroke Survivors Story From the Heart

By Peter L Bennett

Success is not something that comes through our convenience… it is formulated through our times of inconvenience. This piece is put together for two main reasons. The first of which is to provide an insight into what this often underestimated health scare can do and secondly as a part of my personal rehabilitation. If you are in search of raw statistical data and the secret to not becoming a victim of a stroke, I do not have the answer and I’m not even sure it exists. Sorry. Maybe there are thousands of articles out there on this particular subject. Maybe there isn’t? What I can tell you is that there is no story like this because it is mine. My wish is that this article serves as a wakeup call to those who like me had their head in the sand regarding the subject. I simply had no idea it was coming!

What is it?

I am not a doctor and I have no doubt that there may be some intellectual gaps in terminologies and explanations but it’s real, it’s me and it’s what I know.

There are basically two types of stroke. One is Ischemic and the other is Hemorrhagic.

An Ischemic stroke is when the vessel clogs within and a Hemorrhagic stroke is when the vessel ruptures, causing blood to leak into the brain.

Ischemic stroke accounts for about 87 percent of all cases and they occur as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain.

What I had is called a cerebral embolism which is in the Ischemic category and refers generally to a blood clot that forms at another location in the circulatory system, usually the heart and large arteries of the upper chest and neck. Mine occurred in the neck.

The topics I could write about regarding strokes is endless and they are something everyone should do some research on. Do it before the event occurs and you will at least understand that it can happen to anyone anywhere at any time.

A little over one year ago it was work as usual other than a strange phone call that had me thinking my ears were blocked or the phone lines were playing silly buggers. Little did I know? The following day was normal until I called a meeting and felt light headed on my way to the boardroom. In a usual flippant way I asked for my fainting episode to be timed as I had no experience with such an event.

I didn’t faint but I will always remember closing my eyes only to have the spinning of the room go out of control and with no alcohol in the system, I figured it wasn’t good. My thought went to what I’d had for lunch and immediately swore off it again.

Dizziness became accompanied with amazing sweats and unfortunately nausea. It was at this point I had sent the team out of the room with strict instructions not to bother anyone and that the food would settle in a minute. Wrong choice! The floor became my best friend as did the toilet role I was using as a pillow. It was so comfy I figured it was time to get up, shake it off and get on with things. Wrong again!

After about 45 minutes of stubbornness and a refusal to think anything was wrong, the phone call was made to the ambulance and to my now wife who had to travel further and still arrived first. I always knew there was a reason she was a speed demon. It was official, I wasn’t well and even during the ambulance ride I had figured a day of rest or so would be all I needed. Forget the pounding headache; it must be a middle ear infection? Still wrong.

Somebody decided to label my experience as a stroke and of course the x-rays and this little friendly (not) enclosed capsule known as an MRI scanner confirmed the prognosis.

I would have thought the fact I couldn’t walk, talk or control my limbs was a bit of a giveaway. But with all that said I’m sure I was the most relaxed person there. I’ll be right in a jiffy? Wrong.

After endless prodding and tubes and injections with the occasional visit from a doctor I started to realise that my planned cruise in 3 days time may not eventuate and for that matter nor would the surprise engagement. Finally I got a thought correct.

The next 3 days was eventful but not in a physical sense.
Although walking was out of the question and I may have shown remarkably poor judgment when it came to handing someone a cup, I was as relaxed as I could remember. Visitors came and went and I’m incredibly grateful and humbled by the amount of support even If I was not in a position to show it at the time but one thing was constant. My rock was beside me sleeping in a chair no bigger than a dog box and she even forgave me for missing our first cruise. At least I think she did. If you ever read this, I love you. Not much tends to faze you at this stage, there was no fear no negatives, the shonky injections didn’t worry me and even the jelly and ice cream was attractive.

After 3 or 4 days relaxing all be it, immobilised and unable to sit up let alone walk, I’d had enough and hatched a plan in my head to put a smile on the face of my rock and start walking.
The first night she had left my side was my chance and in the middle of the night I made a decision that I was going to walk and nothing was going to stop me.

It might sound a little dramatised or melodramatic but this is exactly what occurred.

Sliding out of bed and reaching for the walker was accomplishment but the journey was only just beginning. In I jumped and it felt like I had just finished two bottles of scotch in one sitting.

Hmm, I can relate to this feeling I thought and all I could think about was the look on my rocks face in the morning and the joy it would bring. Heaven only knows what thoughts must have been consuming her mind with me laid up and with no light at the end of the tunnel to raise her spirits.

Off I went and even managed to stay upright sort of. The walk lasted what felt like hours, in fact it may have but the total distance would have been maybe 50 metres. I was on my way back.
The morning couldn’t come quick enough for me to show off and deliver my surprise. It was priceless and worth every ounce of energy I had. Within days I had dumped the walker for a retro style walking stick, amazed a few people and learnt to appreciate the adoring smiles now adorning the faces of family and friends. Rehabilitation was next and things escalated to the point that in 10 days I was politely told I could go home.

It was here I met some people with the biggest hearts you will ever find. Patients who would exert every single muscle to throw a ball 3 feet. There were patients that hadn’t walked in months.

These amazing people are the inspiration; they are the stroke survivors with their backs against the wall and fighting for every inch just to have what we call normal things. My hat goes off to you all.

It is hard work and a real roller coaster. Just when you see positive results there is something else that tends to remind you what you have left to accomplish.

What used to be a simple walk up the road becomes an incredible battle to stay upright and maintain your pride. If only someone could stop moving the road?

Arriving home after only a couple of weeks tend to provide a false sense of reality as far as your recovery goes but there is never anything quite like home. Even the dog went easy on me and he is a 50kg Rottweiler.

A day at the beach becomes a battle to not fall over from waves around your ankles and the hand, eye coordination leaves a lot to be desired. There’s a long way to go.

Learning how to walk all over again can of course be frustrating but it is also very humbling and ultimately satisfying. It’s back to basics with all the little things we take for granted now demanding your full attention.

As a former golf professional, even I had to laugh at the results when I tried to hit a ball. The good news is that I have a new appreciation for beginners as I learn the ropes all over again.

The whole episode certainly took the wind out of my sails and allowed me to re-prioritize the things that really matter in life and changes had to be made. One of those changes was marrying my rock. We did eventually take that cruise and invited a group of our closest friends to join us as we exchanged vows on the beaches of the South Pacific.

Racing the clock forward 12 months or so, the recovery rate has slowed tremendously but the only physical side affect that I’m aware of is staying power, occasional dizziness and an even worse typing ability.

Psychologically I still find it difficult would you believe to put a work tie on. It seems to signify returning to the old workaholic ways. Even after a year it appears my spelling leaves a lot to be desired, I am redefining the scrabble dictionary and spell check on my lap top is definitely on the Christmas card list. Funny how we naturally take thing for granted, isn’t it?

If I had to say what the toughest thing was I would say it was the not knowing if it would happen again.

You can never be sure it won’t happen again and I remember the sheer exhilaration when the 12 month anniversary had passed because statistically that’s when it could happen again.

I am one of the fortunate 10% that have been able to recover at
a very high rate so I am blessed and in so many ways.

The days, weeks and months of recuperation were spent exercising my brain which started with of all things Sudoku, then moved onto the development of an eBay store.

Ironically it was during this time that I began to investigate opportunities online and away from the hustle and bustle of the corporate world. It’s been a godsend. The support of my work colleagues has provided me with the chance to get back to work on the outside in a slightly diminished capacity and I now have an online interest as well. The learning curve seems to have extended past the walking faze and into the wonderful world of cyber space and for someone with zero experience it’s been an amazing journey.

Whether you are one of the many stroke survivors out there or a carer or even a keen reader on this subject, there is life after a stroke. The journey is hard and at times it is incredibly unfair but our choices are limited. We can either fight like you’ve never fought before or we can accept our fate. Honestly… I’m one of the lucky ones. My heart and well wishes goes out to all those who struggle with the aftermath of a stroke. My thoughts and support are with you.

If you’re battling your way back, stay strong, stay focused, shut the door on what used to be and open the door leading to what you want to be.

Become the pilot and navigator for your new destiny. It’s not what we have lost that matters, it’s what we have and what we will have that can make your life richer than it ever has been.
Pete Bennett is a former professional sportsman, corporate trainer, recruitment business owner and now online entrepreneur with a new outlook on life.

Take a minute and watch his special welcome video. Work With Pete Bennett…… Stay safe, Stay well and Stay true to yourself!

After coaching for 20 years in a number of various roles in the outside world it is now time to embrace the wide world web.
Leave a comment. I would love your feedback.
Pete

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How to Prevent Bedsores in a Disabled Person Or a Stroke Patient

By Yasser Elnahas

Anyone who is confined to bed for a long time is liable to develop bedsores, especially if movement is restricted or if sensation is impaired. The sores occur on those parts of the body that bear the weight of the body or rub constantly against the bedclothes. The most common sites are the elbows, knees, shoulder blades, spine and buttocks.

A bedsore begins as a patch of tender, reddened, inflamed skin. Later, it can become purple. Then it breaks down and an ulcer or sore develops. If any skin redness or inflammation occurs, consult the physician right away. The ulcers generally take a long time to heal and are quite uncomfortable and harmful to the patient’s health.

Bedsores can be prevented. Someone confined to bed can still get a kind of exercise unless he or she is paralyzed or otherwise immobile. Every hour or so, a period of wriggling the toes, rotating the ankles, flexing the arms and legs, tightening and relaxing muscles, and stretching the whole body will both stimulate circulation and prevent joint contracture, or stiffening.

If a stroke patient cannot move or is very weak, gently bend and straighten the joints manually at least once a day. Also, change his or her position as often as you can at least every two to three hours, but more often if possible so that the pressure of the body on any particular area is relieved. This is most easily done, especially if the sick person is a great deal heavier than you, by using a draw sheet or by rolling the person from side to side. Otherwise, lift the person into a new position (enlisting someone else’s help if necessary).

Dragging the person may damage the skin and increase the chances of bedsores. Use a bed or foot cradle (frames that raise the covers) to keep the weight of the bed clothes off the sick person’s legs and feet.

If the person is lying permanently on his or her side, support the upper arms and thighs with soft pillows to keep the elbows and knees apart, and put a pillow between the ankles to keep them from rubbing against each other. The person will still have to be turned frequently to prevent bedsores.

Make sure that the sheets are always clean, dry, crumb free, and pulled as tight as possible to prevent wrinkling. If the stroke or disabled person is likely to be bed ridden for a long time, you may want to get a fluffy sheepskin (preferably a synthetic, washable one) for the person to lie on, to help cushion the whole body. Sheep skin bootees can be bought also, to protect the heels and ankles.

Also, wash the patient frequently and keep the skin on places that are vulnerable to bedsores particularly clean and dry. If you notice any reddening, keep pressure off that area and let the physician know that a bedsore is beginning to form.

Learn more about heart disease symptoms. Don’t die of a heart attack. Take an Action Now.

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Sleep is an Important Aid to Stroke Recovery

By Charles Cheow

Sleep contributes a lot to the success of a stroke patient’s rehabilitation program. Brain scientist and former stroke patient, Jill Bolte Taylor reveals this in an interview.

Taylor contradicts the methodology of most rehabilitation facilities wherein stroke patients are kept awake through medication or through activities that depended on therapists’ schedule despite the patient’s tiredness. Taylor’s treatments stopped when she was tired and began when she was ready for it, regardless of the time of day or night.

This proves that stroke rehabilitation programs’ effectiveness rely on the capability of the human body to absorb information in a given day especially when the brain is not functioning properly.
APPLYING THE BENEFITS OF SLEEP TO STROKE PATIENTS

1. Sleep helps the brain consolidate memories
Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Jeffrey Ellenbogen tested whether sleep helps build and maintain memory and overcome interference. Results showed that sleep is not a state of mental inactivity for it actively helps the brain digest memories such as those from recently learned facts or working memory.
Participants who did not sleep between learning and testing recalled less of the new words they learned than those who slept. Sleeping in between therapy,then, allows the stroke patients to absorb information derived during their rehabilitation.

2. Sleep strengthens the brain
Various psychologists during the 84th Annual Convention of the Western Psychological Association presented the benefits of Random Eye Movement (REM) Sleep, which occurs between the 6th and 8th hour of sleep when dreaming begins. REM sleep produces sleep spindles that allow the brain to store new information into long-term memory. Sleep spindles are one- to two-second bursts of brain waves that rapidly wax and wane at strong frequencies.

The brain, while in REM sleep, transfers short-term memories in the motor cortex to the temporal lobe, to become long-term memories. Sleep spindles are transmitted as the temporal lobe makes sense of the new information and stores it in long-term memory. In this process, neurotransmitters essential to remembering, performance, and problem-solving are replenished by the brain.

Sufficient sleep strengthens and recuperates the brain to overcome common problems like short attention spans. Stroke patients can also be given Neuroaid to expedite recovery of neurological functions.

3. Sleep decreases risk for another stroke
Patients with diabetes and high blood pressure who suffered stroke may decrease the risk of another stroke by increasing sleep in their regime. According to Dr. Eve Van Cantor, professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago, lack of sleep increases risk for diabetes and high blood pressure to become less susceptible to medication.

Scientific research has proven the effects of sufficient sleep (8 hours) to the human body, to behavior, and to society as a whole. This is why sleep should be interspersed in a stroke patient’s rehabilitation program, even if this means incorporating more hours of sleep. The length of time is irrelevant. Patience is a real virtue that reaps great rewards like the 8-year recovery of Jill Taylor.

Find out more about stroke recovery and stroke treatment remedies here.

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Yoga for Stroke Recovery

By Faye Martins

The fact that a human can survive and potentially recover from a stroke is a testament to the intricate design of the brain. A stroke essentially kills an area of the brain, thus causing the typical symptoms of a stroke. Depending on the location, the brain can make adjustments and compensations, basically rewiring the other areas of the brain to perform the duties of the damaged section of the brain. This is an amazing feat.

Rewiring of the brain is essential for stroke recovery, and anything that promotes this rewiring is beneficial for stroke victims. Yoga creates new neural pathways in all individuals who perform it, and this can be very helpful for those who are recovering from a stroke.

Studies have shown that stroke victims helped to rewire their brains by simply visualizing themselves performing movements that their bodies were physically unable to do at the time, and these new neural pathways laid the foundation for greater physical recovery later on. Simply teaching yoga for stroke victims brings them to a path of recovery. The theory and method of yoga techniques will allow them to vividly envision themselves performing each technique, which will prove beneficial in light of a progressive string of successes.

When the individual is ready to do so, yoga may be practiced with the individual laying down at first. Corpse pose, Mountain Pose and others are good beginning poses when combined with breath awareness. Later on when the individual is capable of maintaining a sitting position, yoga modified for a chair or starting from a seated position may be started. Various hip stretches, twists, gentle backbends and forward bends may be performed from a seated position with great benefit for those who have suffered a stroke. The discipline of the practice should be at the same level as normal standing yoga with emphasis put on proper form and breath awareness throughout the session. Special attention should be given to areas of the body experiencing paralysis with the goal being to perform the pose to the best ability of the individual. Mental state is critical to making this effective, and students should be encouraged to visualize their problem areas performing the poses correctly even if this is not yet the case.

When standing is possible, many poses may be performed with the assistance of a chair for balance and stability such as Warrior I Pose, Warrior II Pose, Horse Rider Pose and Extended Side Angle Pose. This will help those who have suffered a stroke regain their previous levels of muscle strength in addition to flexibility and increased range of movement in areas of paralysis.

Yoga practice promotes continued healing for victims of stroke, improving their physical and mental state in addition to helping to protect against additional strokes by curbing blood pressure and reducing arterial stiffness. It is the perfect complementary therapy for stroke. Instructors who wish to help those who suffer from strokes should seek out specialized yoga teacher training in chair yoga, yoga therapy, and a restorative style.

© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

Faye Martins, is a Yoga teacher and a graduate of the Yoga teacher training program at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. To receive Free Yoga videos, Podcasts, e-Books, reports, and articles about Yoga, please visit: http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/
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Studies Show Vitamin B3 Aids Stroke Recovery

By Charles Cheow

Studies show that Vitamin B3 aids stroke recovery, this was revealed by Henry Ford Neuroscience Institute’s director Dr. Michael Chopp last February during the International Stroke Conference held in Texas.

Commonly known as Niacin, Vitamin B3 releases energy from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats so that these can be used by the body. This way, it helps control blood sugar levels, keeps skin healthy, and maintains proper functioning of the digestive and nervous systems. It is useful in the treatment of osteoarthritis and prevent diabetes or delay the need for insulin.

Niacin’s role in stroke prevention is one of the new discoveries in terms of benefits. It prevents stroke, particularly ischemic stroke due to atherosclerosis, because regular intake of Vitamin B3, which is commonly found in most of the food we consume daily, actually helps increase good cholesterol in the blood and reduces arterial plaque. A fact most beneficial if combined with Vitamin A and E than Niacin alone, according to research.

Now, Niacin’s role in stroke care is increasing as the study of Dr. Chopp seem to indicate. The study involved rats induced with ischemic stroke and given niacin, which in turn revealed an increase in nerve cells and blood vessels. The study indicates that Niacin helps restore neurological functions after stroke.
Dr. Chopp’s team observed that the brains of the ischemic stroke-induced rats showed growth of new blood cells, sprouting of nerve cells, and improved neurological outcomes after these were given Niacin. Thus, they found that Niacin helps restore neurological function in the brain of animals following a stroke by rewiring the brain.

However, since testing of its benefits on stroke treatment is still in animal level, human testing is still needed before Niacin can be proven effective in treating stroke. They are now in the process of conducting human trials through an extended-release form of Niacin in stroke patients.

Their study also confirmed the effectivity of Niacin to increase High-Density Lipoprotein-Cholesterol (HDL-C) in the blood, also known as the good cholesterol, which helps get rid of fatty deposits in arterial walls that lead to atherosclerosis. Niacin’s increasing of HDL-C in the blood also increased blood vessels in the brain and axonal and dendritic growth leading to a substantial improvement of neurological function.

Niacin is a water-soluble vitamin that can be found in red meat, poultry, potatoes, yoghurt, pasta, fish, nuts, milk, eggs, and foods fortified with it such as breads and breakfast cereals.

Studies show that Vitamin B3 or Niacin aids stroke recovery by rewiring the brain and recreating aspects of it. While studies such as these are still underway for human trial, the fact remains that, as of this time, Vitamin B3 or Niacin is still best for stroke prevention. Meanwhile, stroke victims have NeuroAid to use for their stroke treatment as it still remains effective in neurological functions recovery.

Recover faster after a stroke, click here to discover NeuroAiD stroke recovery medicine.

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Stroke Exercises – Help After a Stroke

By John D. Hamilton

After a stroke has been suffered, post stroke exercises form the basis for a stroke rehabilitation program. There are some important considerations to take into account when selecting the stroke exercises you will perform or designing a stroke rehabilitation program. One of the most important aspects when designing a stroke rehabilitation program is the specificity of the exercises we choose to include in it.

Research has shown that although the brain works altogether like a well organized orchestra, it is indeed made up of many different functioning parts with tremendous intercommunication. Some scientists argue that specialization of certain areas of the brain is what allowed humans to develop such advanced higher level functioning. Just like an office organization that may grow from a one man show doing everything to having people perform a specialized role with in the organization in the form of a receptionist, accountant, manager etc. Specialization allows an area to totally concentrate and devote all it’s resources to one task and to also hopefully be very good at whatever that task may be.
So what does specialization and specificity have to do with stroke exercises and rehabilitation? Well just as specialization helps the brain to function more efficiently, when we concentrate our rehab efforts more specifically we can enhance, speed up and make our results more efficient.

Although it may seem a little daunting, learning a little bit of neurology or having a small understanding of the brain can greatly assist in choosing the most effective stroke exercises. The brain is divided into two hemispheres – a left and a right. Each hemisphere has a tendency to specialize in certain roles. The left hemisphere is referred to as our language hemisphere and it is common that strokes here will result in language related deficits referred to as aphasia’s. The right hemisphere is more visual spatially orientated and damage here often results in what is called neglect syndrome. Neglect syndrome is classically demonstrated by the individual who is totally ignorant of a field of space or even part or half of his own body resulting in strange behavior such as eating only one half a plate of food, dressing one side of the body or shaving one side of the face.

Now armed with this basic knowledge we could be more specific in our application of after a stroke or post stroke exercises. Of course any type of exercise will be better than none, but if we have an understanding of the areas damaged by the stroke or the deficits the patient is displaying then we can tailor out treatment to better rehabilitate the brain. This can result in greater and faster recovery after a stroke.
John D. Hamilton
Stroke Rehabilitation Researcher and Author
Click here to visit John’s website and read more about Stroke Exercises
Click here for more information on John’s book, which teaches all the latest Stroke Exercises for the fastest and best recovery.
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What is Mental Toughness and Why Is It Important?

By Mike Posey

Over the years I have had the opportunity to coach many players and one thing I can tell you without reservation is the best players were all mentally tough. It’s a hard concept to explain until you see it, but it’s obvious when you see a player that has it.
To clarify my point, not all of the best athletes have it. No every big league player is mentally tough and there are plenty that never make it to the big leagues that have great mental toughness. It’s not about ability, I’ve coached many great athletes that didn’t have a clue about being mentally tough and would fold under pressure. They could perform well when there was nothing on the line, but when the game was in balance, or the competition was tough, they usually failed.

On the other hand, I’ve witnessed many players with average skills, but mentally tough, perform in ways no one thought they could perform. A clutch hit, a key bunt, a great defensive play that stopped a rally, mentally tough players get the job done. In fact, the greater the pressure, the better they perform.

One thing I’ve come to understand with experience is that mental toughness is not an inborn DNA trait, but rather one that is developed over time and exposure to adverse conditions. Preparation in mental toughness begins with experiences at a young age. Parents can play a key role to begin the process of training mental toughness, but they need help along the way. A disciplined educational system with high expectations and good classroom rules, along with tough, but fair coaches (or mentors in other activities) with a positive mind set, is essential to developing a child mentally, whether they are an athlete are not.

This is one of the many reasons why it’s important for all children to be involved in balanced organized extra curricular activities at a young age: Karate, gymnastics, ballet, music, scouts, children and youth activities at church, or youth sports will play a part in beginning to instill the discipline and structure that is needed to develop mentally. Notice I said begin to play a part. It takes time and preparation.
Development of mental toughness (and leadership skills) is also a reason that athletes need to be involved in a proper training program by the time they are 14 or 15 years old. A training program not only helps to build power, strength, and agility, but is important in developing mentally. Players should be accountable to a mentor (trainer, coach, etc…) as well as the camaraderie and pressure of a small peer group, even if it’s only one or two others.

If a player is involved in a training program earlier than 14 or 15, it should be for the purpose of agility and speed training, along with teaching the proper techniques in strength conditioning without weights. Before any training program is started, please consult your child’s physician during their annual physical, as the development of each child is unique.

Defining Mental Toughness
Mental toughness is having the psychological edge that allows one to perform at peak maximum effort and efficiency during the demands that are placed on them during training, practice, or competition. Specifically, when the demands are greatest or the conditions become adverse.
Whenever the demands are the greatest is when the characteristics of mental toughness are the most evident.
Some of the many characteristics that are evident when a player is mentally tough include:
– Self-confidence
– Self-motivation
– Focus
– Concentration
– Composure
– Calmness
– Poise
– Self-control
– Positive Energy
– Determination
– Persistence
– Leadership

Please note, this doesn’t mean that the outcome is always a win, in many cases these attributes can show up the most during a loss, especially a close loss to a tough opponent or during adverse conditions. But over time and with careful training, the mental toughness of skilled players comes to light in championships won.

Developing Mental Toughness
To become mentally tough one must practice attributes that lead to mental toughness. I wish there were a formula to follow, but there is not. It takes time and patience under the right leadership to develop mental toughness. Parents, educators, coaches, and other mentors must be systematically involved in the training process.

Also, it takes failure and the ability to bounce back. Many people develop mental toughness through the experience of failure. Good parents do not want their children to fail and I understand that. But today, too many blame others for the failure. Parents are quick to blame the teacher for problems in class or a coach when the child is not excelling in an activity. Mental toughness can not be developed properly when blaming others. In fact, the opposite is the case.

Here are a couple of examples:
“Every strikeout got me closer to my next homerun”. Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth grew up in an orphanage. During his playing career he struck out a record 1330 times on his way to hitting 714 career homeruns.

“Failure makes me try harder the next time.” Michael Jordan
Jordan was only 5′ 7″ when he entered high school. Because of his speed and athleticism (and an older brother named Larry that the coaches knew well) he was invited to try out for the varsity, but didn’t make it. He was placed on the JV team where he routinely scored 25 -30 points a game. By his junior year, he was 6’4″ and made the varsity team. By then, he not only had the skill to play, but the drive and determination to be successful, while demanding the same from his teammates. His older brother Larry had a lot to do also with him developing his toughness on the court.

Edmund Hillary failed three times before finally being the fist to climb Mt. Everest.

Bill Gates and Steve Allen (his Microsoft co-founder) failed at their first business, Traf-O-Matic, which was developed to analyze traffic patterns.

Walt Disney’s first animation business in the 1920’s failed after only one month, forcing him to take a job from another company at that time. Coaches, you can train your players to become mentally tough but it takes time, persistence, and hard work. But the results are worth it.
Coach Mike Posey “CP”
[http://www.expert-baseball-tips.com]
Tips from a championship coach’s perspective and experience, offering creative insights into helping others learn the game of baseball.
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Stroke Recovery – All You Need To Know

By John D. Hamilton

I am saddened to think that stroke recovery is sometimes trapped in an outdated and dogmatic approach to help people with their stroke recovery. But the sad truth is unless you are one of the very fortunate ones, either geographically to be located next to a cutting edge stroke rehabilitation facility or the monetary means to afford such treatment, you are stuck with the stock standard cookie cutter approach to stroke treatment. And there is a good chance that it is stuck in the past.

Myths surrounding stroke recovery may be perpetuated by a number of factors. It seems that once something has been printed in a newspaper or magazine it is taken as gospel. Many of the belief surrounding the brain have been around for a long time and despite new research dispelling the myth, it takes a long time for this to filter into mainstream belief systems. This can clearly be seen with all the out dated beliefs in the exercise and fitness world. This article will discuss three main myths surrounding stroke recovery. Firstly that the brain is set in stone and cannot change. Secondly that there is only a small window of opportunity for stroke recovery to happen. And the last myth is that there are not better and more effective ways to perform stroke rehabilitation.

I cannot believe that myth number one still gets any credence. Some people still feel that the brain is set in stone and cannot change. We see the brain changing all the time and at every age. Every time we learn something new, the brain has changed. For example for you to learn a new skill such as like playing tennis requires your brain to change. As you improve, your co-ordination gets better, your speed improves and your accuracy sharpens all this must be reflected by changes in your brain and nervous system. The brain controls everything, and when changes happen like the previously mentioned tennis ones, the brain must have changed. This myth has been dispelled by science and neurology and as a far as I am concerned is really, pardon the pun, a no brainer to argue against.

Another commonly held myth about stroke recovery is that recovery can only happen in a small time period after the stroke and once that window is closed any further recovery is impossible. As a carry on from the point above, that the brain can change at anytime, this is once again just a myth. I don’t discredit that making progress could be easier if stroke rehabilitation is started earlier but to say that it cannot be made after a magical window has closed is absurd. I have heard of some individuals 10 years after their stroke, who have been at a certain level of recovery and were then exposed to advanced stroke recovery methods and made more progress at that stage of their recovery than previously. The brain is capable of change at any time and if you are a stroke survivor and wanting more progress do not ever give up.

The last myth to discuss may not really be a myth as such but has more to do with the outdated and inefficient stroke recovery exercises that patients are given. The last 20 years has seen huge leaps forward in areas of brain research and subsequently stroke rehabilitation. The people at the top of stroke rehabilitation are doing some really ground breaking things. Unfortunately it takes time for this top end information to assimilate down to the masses, so as a consequence many stroke survivors do not get exposed to the best stroke recovery techniques like constraint induced therapy or mirror therapy.

Unfortunately there are many myths surrounding stroke recovery. I hope this article has helped to educate and open your mind up to the truth about your stroke rehabilitation and how you should be approaching it. At times stroke rehab can be a very daunting task, filled with too much science, jargon and technique that may be difficult to understand. I have made it my goal to try and make available the best stroke recovery techniques to stroke survivors, their family members, care givers and health care practitioners.
For more hints and tips on stroke recovery, go to author John Hamilton’s website which is all about the most effective stroke treatment.

John D. Hamilton
Health Professional, Stroke Rehabilitation Researcher and Author of “The Stroke Rehab Handbook”.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=John_D._Hamilton

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