Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fitness Leader in Training

I did okay on the exam part of the Fitness Course and now we have moved on to some more applied aspects. We worked out a 45 minute exercise set for moderate functioning older adults right down to music to exercise by. We were paired up and had to combine our exercise sets. Yesterday we went to a personal care home where we led a group of seniors through our routines while under the supervision of their normal Recreation Therapist.

The group we got was a Day Program. Seniors who are identified as needing extra care in order to continue living out in the community, may be bused into the program for about 5 hours one or two days a week. The people were so responsive to us and it was a wonderful experience. It makes me feel a whole lot better about my big plan to do this kind of work for a living. We did all of our exercises seated. I did the warm up and cool down sections while leaving the middle harder cardio section for my partner. I had my cane, I was not lifting my limbs equally but I kept going and I think some people may have been looking at my enthusiasm and figured that if I could keep going they could too.

 We got to help out with the group for another hour or two after our session. We helped serve lunch, we played bowling and we participated in a kind of poker card game. We helped everyone get their coats on at going home time and helped  the therapist set up the breakfast supplies for the other group of seniors who will arrive on Monday morning.

It was fantastic. I am pretty exhausted today but it feels good.

The groups therapist had the job of marking us and writing out a report about how we did and give further advice.  She said wonderful things and gave us full marks. I really feel proud.

graphic from classroom clipart

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Thigh Bones Connected to the Knee Bone

The course we are on now is called Therapeutic Fitness or Fitness Leadership. This has involved trying to learn a whole lot of names of bones and muscles.  It also has involved learning the function or movement of this huge list of muscles or muscle systems.

We have had a couple days in the college gym where we were required to take part in some fitness activities. One day was working out with all the different fitness machines and equipment and another day we sat in a circle in this gym and worked on learning how to lead seated exercises for all the different muscles  and included the use of  dynabands and weights.
I can't say this has been my favorite week of school.

Tuesday will be the final theory exam (25%) for this particular course. Besides short answer we will have pictures of muscles and we will be expected to identify them, list the function and actions of the muscles and then give an example of an exercise that works on the muscle.  I have been staring at the teacher like he arrived from a different planet. Nothing  made a lot of sense to me but I am getting there very slowly.  I am now working hard on memorization if not comprehension.

Next week we will have to develop and hand in plans for group exercise classes for high, moderate and low functioning seniors. The moderate routine should last about 30 minutes. We will be divided into groups of 5 and each of us will have to lead the other 4 in our planned routine and we will be marked and critiqued on how well we do. (65%) On Friday we will be going to a seniors home and each of us will be given a small group of seniors to do our exercise class with. (10%)

I certainly don't qualify as high functioning myself so we will see how this week goes.  
Wish me lots of luck!!

The exam will be pictures like this without words.

Name of muscle: or muscle group:

Bicep Femoris   (hamstrings)    

 The actions:
  •  It extends the thigh at the hip joint, (your thigh can go behind you) 
  • flexes the leg at the knee (you can bend your knee) and
  • Assists in adduction of the thigh. (pulls your thigh inward toward the middle line of  your body

Possible exercises would include:
  • leg curls
  • squats
I should personally do a heck of a lot more squats and leg curls.

clipart girl image from

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sleepover in the Mall

I had a great Guiding weekend a couple weeks ago.

My Guide leader daughter Alicia, Guider Christie and I took a group of girls to Dauphin, a town about 4 hours from Winnipeg for an overnight trip.

Stop drop and Roll at the fire station
We drove out using 2 vehicles on the Saturday morning and met at noon with about 200 girls ages 9 to 14 and their  leaders from all over the province.

The afternoons activity was to do a scavenger hunt around the town.  I walked around with the kids for the first half and then I went to get the car and caught  up with them at a couple of further spots.  The whole things would have been about 4 km one way. not counting all the twists and turns going back and forth finding our clues or getting back to the hall again. I am glad I drove for the last part. I am learning to save my energy for when it counts.
Read a book at the library

There were about 40 locations around town were they were to either record some information or to take a picture of their group in that location.
It was fun... Things to do like find the fire station and do a stop drop and roll for a picture. They were to get a picture of themselves at the one drive through bank in the town. Pictures with green vegetables .. mainly done in grocery stores. The girls were to go into the local community pool and count how many sea creature shapes were hanging from the ceiling. They stopped at the war memorial and were to count how many people died in the first and second World Wars.
A fun stop was that they were to get their group picture taken with the Wal-Mart Greeter.

Dinner was in an old theater and it was very well managed tacos in a bag dinner and veggies dinner with cupcakes for dessert. The volunteers pulled it off so smoothly for such a large group that it was very impressive.

Where we had lunch.
Next we went to the swimming pool for the evening. It had a wave pool and lots of room for the girls and a hot tub. I was a little stiff after all the driving and hiking the scavenger hunt so I really appreciated the hot swirling water,

I was kind of surprised at how few leaders got in the water. We didn't need to because their were life guards but really .. the ladies should have got in the water and had some fun too. I kind of  think that some women are hesitant to get into a bathing suit. Maybe they just wanted to have a chance to sit at the little tables and chat. Personally I liked chatting with the couple of other Guiders in the hot tub.

Old Train Station
Pool time ended and we moved into the Shopping mall.  The mall was closed for the evening and the stores all closed but the center part was all ours. Giggling girls were running all over the place in their jammies and funny slippers. We set up our sleeping bags and in my case ... my camp cot, all around the walls and shop windows.  We had a snack time... more like a feast with fruit, meat, cheese and  when that was all finished we gathered in the center for a campfire. The ladies running it took the unusual approach of doing all actions songs. I didn't realize I knew so many action songs!

There was a screen set up and all the pictures from the scavenger hunt were loaded up and we viewed them as a slide show. It was fun to see all the different ways groups approached the challenges.

I slept just fine and actually woke up quite well rested. My daughter kept waking up and listening for the girls but I  was comfy in my sleeping bag. Breakfast and then we were on our way back to Winnipeg. The girls had fun and want to go again next year.

I did crash on the couch when I got home and I needed a bit of pain killer for all my sore muscles and I was too tired to get any homework done.  I felt good about going, and spending time with all the other leaders and girls. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Reality vs Pretend

I just finished a homework assignment.

That Experience a Disability Workshop my class did a couple weeks ago had a write up component to it.  The first part was writing about the different activity stations we participated in thinking up what kind of adaptations could make all these activities easier.  Yup got that. I actually tried to write a little more formally like what was expected for the class but eventually I gave up and just started writing whatever I wanted.
One section was writing about the leisure activity of playing cards, Connect 4 and Bingo as someone with arthritis or as someone with stroke. When writing about what it was like playing cards with the non dominant hand I found myself talking about how there are card holders available for purchase but it is cheaper to get someone to router a block of wood to make a gizmo for holding the cards.  I did not have anything nice to say about a different gizmo for helping do up buttons on a shirt. It was pretty hard to separate facts for the assignment from my many strong opinions.  (blush)

The last write up part turned out to be very stressful emotionally. It was a fantasy situation. You were to pretend you were a person who was just placed in a personal care home after having a stroke. uh huh.

The short simple version of that section would be:
Walking into the corn maze.
  1. List several types of Leisure activities you enjoy
  2. How you participated in each of them in the past,
  3. How you have recently been participating in the activity.
  4. What challenges are being faced?
  5. What strengths do you have?
  6. What are the objectives you are trying to meet?
  7. Make a plan for how your Recreation Therapist can adapt or find related activities so  that you can take part in your favorite leisure activities.
In the Corn Maze
This hit very close to home. I did most of my rehab as an outpatient but I  still went through, a lot of goal setting while trying to get old skills back and eventually did give up on some activities I love. I read with interest as some of my blogging buddies work hard and struggle to reclaim their work and leisure skills too.  I realized a while ago that this job I am training for is something that I see as critical to recovery or at least to a good quality of life.

For this assignment I didn't need to imagine what my leisure interests might have been and how they can be adapted. I have been living this assignment over the past 5 years. I have indeed been fortunate to have had so much professional help, as well as friends and family, to cheer me on and keep me moving.

In case you are interested I listed my interests as Photography, Singing and making music, and Hiking and nature activities.

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