Bundle Up & Stay Warm

Winter is here, as we enjoy the cold weather outdoors shredding powder at the mountains, playing hockey at our homemade hockey rink, or taking a stroll outside.  For those who love the indoors, cozying up to a cup of hot chocolate by a fire place might be a bit more ideal way to spend the winter.

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Unfortunately, not everyone can afford all the gear and clothing designed for harsh winters.  With temperatures dropping from -10C to -38C plus windchill warnings, there are many people out there who need shelter and warmth. So here at Aim2walk,  we are starting a clothing drive for the less fortunate. Why not get an early start on spring cleaning, drop off your gently used clothes, coats, sweaters, gloves, hats etc…  We will be donating them to the Canadian Diabetes Association to support their Clothesline Program, which supports research and programs for people with diabetes.

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We will be collecting from now till Feb 1, 2015; however, if you can’t make the drop at the clinic here’s also a list of organizations, charities, and shelters you can donate to. Bundle up and stay warm!

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1. The Covenant House

2. YMCA Toronto

3. Emergency Shelter and Housing

4. New Circles

5. Salvation Army

 

JP

The Aim2walk Experience: A Students Reflection

IMG_6533My name is Caitlin Ivany and I am a 4th year student studying Kinesiology at the University of Guelph-Humber. I am currently trying to find my place in the world, so close to finishing my under-grad degree, slowly making my way up the path towards graduation, and constantly thinking and worrying about the future and where life’s journey will take me. As far as I can remember I have always been interested in the human body and its functions. I love sports and have always been motivated by healthy active living. Throughout my school years, I have always had the aspiration of being able to help others and to try to make a difference in the world. Ever since I experienced my own personal knee injury and was able to experience physiotherapy at hand and in the eyes of a patient, it has been the career choice of mine. I immediately knew that physiotherapy was the path I wanted to follow in life and the future I wanted to pursue. Physiotherapist is the title I want beside my name.

“If you can dream it, you can do it”

Three months, two days a week, seven hours a day, one hundred and fifty four hours total, is the amount of time I was fortunate enough to gain valuable experience, learn and grow as a person during my placement at Aim2walk, Neurological Rehabilitation Center. Aim2walk believes in the true potential, strength and abilities of every patient that walks through the doors to begin their rehabilitation journey. The concept behind Aim2walk is defined directly by its name, to help their patients progress their abilities to take their first step and potentially walk again. However not every patients will walk again, but progress is always possible.

lokoDuring my time at Aim2walk, I received excellent training and supervision. Aim2walk offers a wide variety of therapeutic services, as their team is comprised of Kinesiologists, Physiotherapists, Acupuncturists, Massage Therapists, and Therapists that specialize in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Aim2walk has a specific NeuroProtocol that incorporates robotics and technologies, body work, acupuncture, functional training and overall health and wellness. The NeuroProtocol is an intensive therapy program that is aimed towards the patient specific injury and constraints. The NeuroProtocol is meant to push patients to the best of their abilities and allow for continuous progression throughout the road to recovery.

During my time at Aim2walk I have been able to experience, at hand, all the aspects of the NeuroProtocol. It has truly been the most rewarding and greatest learning experience I have ever encountered within the therapeutic field. The hands on experience that I have been able to gain, has greatly lifted my confidence towards my future endeavors. Each therapist brings their own unique qualities to the Aim2walk team, and thus being the reason as to why it is so successful. Everyone at Aim2walk, both the patients and therapists, is one big family, and I have never met so many kind and inspirational people in my life. Confidence comes with experience, as well as the knowledge and application. Therefore, because I have been able to work with so many intelligent therapists at Aim2walk, I have been able to develop a greater insight into the therapeutic field. I am more confident in my skills, abilities and future ambitions. I greatly encourage any student that is interested in following a career path in rehabilitation, to consider volunteering, or completing a placement at Aim2walk. As a student myself, I have learned and gained so much from my time at Aim2walk and I am truly grateful and thankful for the opportunity.

“Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible”

This is a quote I read on my very first day of placement that immediately left an impression and hasn’t left my mind since. Every day during my placement at Aim2walk I would read this quote and reflect on life, the future and present. It is a quote that has embedded itself into my every day thoughts with everything that I do. It has become a reference for motivation and a light of inspiration, and I hope this quote can have the same impact for the patients at Aim2walk as it has for me.

Lastly, for those of you that I was fortunate enough to meet, I would like to thank you, for telling me your story, for teaching me, for your patience, and, for allowing me to learn and grow as a person. It is because of individuals like you that I can become one step closer towards my future ambitions. For those of you that I did not meet, I know that if you are a part of the Aim2walk family, whether a therapist or patient, there is no doubt that you would have left the same positive impression on me throughout my placement. Finally, to the remarkable patients at Aim2walk, I want you to believe in your abilities, believe in what you can do and take pride in the progress that you make throughout your rehabilitation journey, as each day is a step further then you were yesterday.

“The struggle you’re in today, is developing the strength you need for tomorrow”

Caitlin Ivany

Meditation Can Change our Brain

Waverly meditationDo you suffer with scatterbrain? Overwhelmed by your thoughts? Feel incapable of concentration or attention? Why not try meditation?

Recent findings in neuroscience suggest that meditation and mindfulness training not only changes our mind, but may also cause neuroplasticity in the brain.

Multiple studies by Harvard neuroscientists found three significant changes in as little as four weeks of meditation training. The first transformation was an increase in cortical thickness in an area of the brain involved with bodily attention and sensory awareness. Next, an increase in gray matter in brain regions involved in learning, memory, and emotion regulation were discovered. Lastly, found larger volumes in the hippocampus might account for meditators’ abilities and habits to cultivate positivity and retain emotional stability.

Additionally, a Danish research group found large differences in the medulla oblongata region of the brain stem. This area is known to contain autonomic nerve system structures such as respiratory and cardiac control. Changes to this area could explain why respiration and heart rates decrease with meditation training.

Although the cellular mechanisms underlying meditation training and its connection to neuroplasticity are not fully understood, a wide range of research has shown that observed differences are not confined to one area of the brain. Thus, meditation is a popular therapeutic method used to both improve psychological state and promote neuroplasticity. It can be self-administered, eliminates the need for transportation to a treatment facility and is a low cost activity.

There are many different types of meditation ranging from traditions steeped in religious beliefs to more westernized techniques that focus on breath and relaxation. To find the right type for you check out the Institute of Noetic Sciences.

Five tips to help you get started!

  1. Sit Tall – Get comfortable seated in a lotus position or sit in a chair with feet flat on the floor. Straightening and lengthening your spine will help to increase your circulation and keep you alert.
  2. Start Small – If ten minutes seems overwhelming, begin with five. After a week, add one minute until you build up to 30 min at a time.
  3. Find a friend – Join a group online or take a course. Being accountable to a friend will help fight excuses.
  4. Practice makes perfect – The only way to improve is practice. Think of meditation as bicep curls for the muscles of your mind.
  5. Just breathe – Our minds have a tendency to analyze the past or project into the future. Focus on your inhaling and exhaling to help anchor the mind into the present.

WaverlyWaverly Wyld

Our Guest writer today, Waverly Wyld is a fourth year student at The University of Guelph-Humber.  She’s taking Kinesiology and she recently completed a placement with us at Aim2Walk.  Her hard work and drive to learn was outstanding and she was a great help to the team.  Thank you Waverly for your hard work and for sharing your knowledge about meditation. We’ve already started to implement more meditation into our clients protocol.

 

Best of luck to you in the rest of your school year and in your future with health care.

The Aim2Walk Team!