November 24, 2016

ADLs Are Where the Repetitions Are

Brain plasticity is amazing, but rewiring the brain requires thousands of repetitions (reps).   Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) are a great way to get the reps needed to retrain the brain.
Four examples show why two sets of ten cannot compete with ADLs.

1) Twice a day I open my hemiplegic hand to grasp a tube of toothpaste so my sound hand can remove the cap.  In nine years I have opened my hand over 5000 times before brushing my teeth.






2)  I have to turn 14 times to prepare cereal with a sliced banana.  I have made this same breakfast for nine years so I have made over 45,000 turns.  Add making a sandwich for lunch and preparing a hot meal for dinner and the number of turns I have made in the kitchen are in the hundreds of thousands.

3)  Shopping is therapy for my hand.  I open my hemiplegic hand to let go of the cart and reach for items with my sound hand.  My hemiplegic hand opens a 2nd time when I grab the cart to move on.  I open my hemiplegic hand to let go of the cart so my sound hand can empty the cart in the check-out lane and again to load food into my car.  Buy 30 items + empty cart + load car = open hand 64 times.  64 x 2 visits a week x 9 years means I have opened my hemiplegic hand 59,904 times in the grocery store.

4)  The distance I have walked at the grocery store is huge.  I step away from the shopping cart and bend down or reach up to get items I want.   The S-shaped curves I make to detour around people and other carts require more steps than walking in a straight line.  According to my pedometer I walk 2,000+ steps each time I visit the grocery store.  2,000 x 2 visits a week x nine years = 1,872,000 steps!

2 comments:

  1. Yes, the numbers add up when we just live our lives, but I think it takes a ridiculous amount of time.

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  2. This blog entry just gave me some excellent ideas to use for my first fieldwork experience as a COTA. Thank you!! :-)

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