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Segway? Big Deal...
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What Makes a Segway so Special to me? >

The Segway is an electrically powered, self balancing, non tandem two wheeled device, and
classified as a consumer product. With its introduction people who had difficulty walking but could stand now had an option available to them which would allow them mobility while allowing them to remain standing. This includes
people who have conditions such as multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's disease,
amputations, COPD, spina bifida, traumatic burn injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and many neurological conditions.

The Segway has also proven to be highly adaptable to modification allowing even those who are
unable to stand, such as paraplegics, to take advantage of its increased maneuverability,
particularly in outdoor environments.

 For those having the ability to use the Segway as an assistive device it offers them mobility more
consistent with that which they enjoyed prior to becoming disabled. They are able to reach things from high shelves, move in and out of tight spaces, including closets and even move about the kitchen in a manner consistent with their pre-disability movements. They are able to better see and be seen when interacting with others. The mere act of passive standing has dramatic physiological and psychological benefits.

Need I say more?

 


A Segway. What's the Big Deal?

I have been harping on how the Segway is great for folks who have disabilities such as I have, and I have mentioned why Standing is great. Here is some very important information that you need to know so that YOU, hopefully, one of my SPONSORS, will understand WHY I think this is a BIG DEAL!

The act of standing can significantly decrease muscle atrophy particularly in the abdominal, hip flexors, and paraspinal muscles of the body. The act of continued sitting may over time, in many cases, result in the inability of an individual to ever stand again.
Physicians & Therapists recommend standing for many reasons:

• Pressure relief
• Normalizing of kidney and bladder functions
• Improving digestive and bowel function
• Maintenance of bone density
• Improving flexibility and decreasing spasticity
• Greater circulation
• Improving respiration

Pressure Relief
Immobilization or continuous sitting creates pressure that can lead to obstructed blood flow and breakdown of the skin tissue. The resulting
wounds are often decubitus ulcers, otherwise known as pressure sores. Passive standing releases pressure by shifting weight to the legs.

Bladder
Immobilization in the sitting position often results in calcium deposits in the urinary tract. In many spinal cord injury cases, controlling the bladder is often not possible creating additional problems in the urinary tract. Passive standing enhances one's ability to more completely empty the bladder which decreases the likelihood of bladder infections.

Digestion
Users of seated mobility devices often experience digestive complications as a result of prolonged immobilization. These complications include constipation, fecal impaction, and other
dysfunction. Frequent passive standing encourages peristalsis and more regular bowel movements.

Bones
It has been well documented that continuous sitting inhibits weight bearing, which causes weakening of the bones and ultimately
osteoporosis. According to the Journal of Applied Physiology, passive standing can reverse the loss of bone density.

Muscles
Continuous sitting often causes tightening or shortening of the leg muscles. As a result, joints lose flexibility and contractures can form in the knees, ankles and hip joints. Spasticity is a muscular problem often found in spinal cord injury cases and other neurological disorders. A
report by James Walter, PhD. and Robert B. Dunn, PhD. found that the use of standing devices increased flexibility and decreased spasticity in the legs.

Circulation
A significant problem for patients with spinal cord injuries is that of insufficient orthostatic circulatory regulation. Due to the loss of
sympathetic vascular tone, the skeletal muscle pump, and a decrease in plasma volume, patients with spinal cord injuries have problems
maintaining blood pressure and cardiac output. This can become a significant problem if cardiac output is insufficient to maintain oxygen
requirements for the vital organs. Although the reason is not fully understood, it is well accepted that repeated and progressive standing can lead to cardiovascular system adaptation producing
functional circulation.

Breathing
In the supine, or sitting position, a person cannot contract muscles for maximum inhaling and exhaling, which can lead to reduced respiratory
efficiency and impairment such as pneumonia. It is widely believed that the standing position can induce better breathing. In a study by the
American Physical Therapy Association, more than one third of the respondents reported better breathing after prolonged standing.

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Behavior and the Segway

The behavioral characteristics of people with disabilities utilizing electrically powered wheelchairs, scooters and Segways are remarkably
similar and more consistent with whether their activity level is considered "active" or at a "regular" level than when comparing power wheelchair users with scooter or Segway users. The activity level of Segway users is consistent with the activity level of "active" users.

As a general rule people with disabilities who rely upon their assistive device for basic mobility in their activities of daily living are extraordinarily proficient in the use of that particular device and extremely considerate in terms of safety and etiquette when dealing with others.

Their chosen device is regarded by them as an extension of their body.

Even though the users of all powered mobility devices typically operate their device at a speed consistent with that of adjacent pedestrian traffic, because of issues of transportation and issues of safety, acceleration and top speed are important considerations

For more information, I strongly recommend you read the excellent PDF document (4.5Mb download) entitled:

Click on the image to begin downloading the entire document directly from DRAFT.org.

In Canada,

we have no such support!

I would like to take this time to Thank DRAFT for allowing me to use their research, documents and support as a member of Segs4Vets for much of my information on disabilities and the Segway. Almost all portions of raw data are courtesy of DRAFT.

In my opinionmind, they ROCK!

 

 

 
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