Saturday, August 29, 2015

Video: Steadward Centre - 2015

The Steadward Centre

The primary goal of The Steadward Centre is to provide adults with physical disabilities with opportunities to improve their health, lifestyle, physical fitness and / or athletic performance. In an attempt to accomplish this goal, the following objectives have been established:
  • To provide regular fitness evaluations for adults with physical disabilities.
  • To design and prescribe group and individual training programs based on the specific needs, interests and abilities of each individual.
  • To supervise and monitor group and individual programs.
  • To design instructional and resource materials, equipment and techniques used in the assessment and implementation of programs for adults with physical disabilities.
  • To carry out research studies in the areas of fitness, sport training & conditioning and motor performance for adults with physical disabilities.
  • To expose students, coaches, teachers and other interested individuals to the most up-to-date information available in the areas of sport and fitness for individuals with physical disabilities.
  • To promote fitness as an important component in the daily routine of adults with physical disabilities.

MS Pool Lift - Steadward Centre - U of A

This pool lift allows people with a disability to enter and exit the pool and participate in water exercise programs. It was funded in part by the MS Society, Edmonton and Capital Region Chapter.

Bike Opens Fitness Options for Users With Disabilities

No matter how physically limited a person might be, physical fitness continues to be the common denominator for longer, more fulfilling lives.

Thanks to a generous gift from two local donors, the University of Alberta's Steadward Centre for Personal and Physical Achievement now boasts an impressive new piece of equipment that allows people with quadriplegia and paraplegia better access to such a life.

The RT 300 Motorized Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Cycle Ergometer allows people who have lost the use of their legs to better access a technology designed to keep them fit.

FES is a technique which applies electrical currents to paralyzed muscle through electrodes placed on the surface of the skin. This current delivers the necessary stimulation to illicit a muscle contraction with the purpose of providing useful movement so a person can exercise.

"We stimulate their muscles to pedal the bicycle against a resistance," said Bethany Steen, an FES consultant with the centre. "Just as anyone would pedal on an exercise bike, their muscles are pedalling but the action is controlled by electrical stimulation.

"It stimulates the quadriceps on one side just at the same time as the quadriceps on the other so then it is a push-pull pedaling motion. Just as your brain controls your own muscles, the machine controls the muscles in this case."

For people who have lost the use of their legs, the muscles in the legs begin to deteriorate.

"Over time we can slow muscle atrophy and even build up muscle," said Steen, adding that there are other benefits as well. "The RT 300 allows people to also get some much-needed cardiovascular exercise. Because they are sitting in their chairs all the time, they are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and Type 2 diabetes."

Steen says the bike improves circulation, which helps with pressure sores and seems to alleviate the pain that comes with muscle spasms.

"And just getting some general exercise, their energy levels go up, and just like any of us who get out and exercise regularly, they start to feel better about themselves."

The centre already utilizes two similar bikes, but the RT 300 has the advantage of being transfer free, which means users stay in their own wheelchair during the workout.

"The difference with this bike is that the staff doesn't have to transfer you, so it is a lot easier on them," said Darin Wood, a 19-year-old quadriplegic who has been using the RT 300 three times a week. An avid athlete before a car accident in May of 2006, Wood found a way to stay physically active despite his injury thanks to the cutting-edge equipment at The Steadward Centre.

"I was playing hockey five to six nights a week, not only that but all kinds of sports. I was extremely active, but after being on the bike a short amount of time it was almost like my legs woke back up again. I got my hockey legs back."

Another improvement on the new bike, which carries a price tag of more than $20,000, is that it is controlled by wireless Internet. Programs designed online can be downloaded onto the RT 300. Every member has a specific code that is punched into the control pad and their individual program comes up.

"The bike, being so new, means it is a lot smoother and there are a lot more program advances," said Wood, one of seven Steadward Centre members who use the RT 300. "We can work at a greater level of resistance and use different strengthening exercises. The greater level of resistance gives me harder workouts, so in that sense you get more of a cardio workout and a muscle workout as well."

Dancers With Disabilities Inspire

(Edmonton) We spend time validating each others life experiences, learning about coping and being grateful for the small things in life that many people take for granted.

Lindsay Eales is proud to be the artistic director for iDANCE Edmonton, a program thats aimed at increasing accessibility for dancers with disabilities.

The dancers have learned that disability has little to do with physical or mental abilities. As a group they honour each others personal stories and express their inner selves through movement.
Julie Heffel, who has been dancing with the group for six months, says once she tried it she was hooked.

We all have different stories. As soon as we get through the doorway we are all just people. Whatever were facing that day is left behind, said Heffel.

The program is delivered by the University of Albertas Steadward Centre for Personal & Physical Achievement. Donna Goodwin, executive director for the centre, says the program is created by the dancers, for the dancers.

The leadership for iDANCE comes from within the group. Each dancer brings a life story that adds to the creative fabric of their work.

The iDANCE Edmonton group was awarded this week with a Human Rights Award for Excellence, in the category of new/emerging organization. Eales says this award is a great honour.

People are hearing the voice that were bringing to our community about human rights and disability.

1999 Distinguished Alumni Award - Robert Steadward

As a student in the 1960s, Bob Steadward ('69 BPE, '71 MSc) helped plan a wheelchair basketball tournament. That involvement eventually led to his becoming the world's foremost figure in the promotion of sports for persons with disabilities and an organizer of international sporting events. He has served three consecutive terms as president of the International Paralympic Committee and is the director of the University of Alberta's Rick Hansen Centre, a world renowned research and development facility for disabled athletes.

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