RIC fitness center designed for the disabled

July 22, 2012 (CHICAGO)

From a small physical therapy room to an old dormitory, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago's fitness center has moved to a facility that is set up to be a full-fledged health club.

The new state-of-the-art health and fitness center is located downtown, four blocks from RIC. It is also the home for all their sport programs.

"We have just about everything a health club would have," said sport manager Derek Daniels. "We have free weights, we have equipment with the pin system and the pulleys. We also have a few pieces that are more adapted for persons with disabilities."

The staff is trained to work with people with disabilities.

"Not just personal training, but we also do what we call functional fitness program which is a continuation of thereapy," Daniels said. "The trainer will actually meet with the physical therapist from the hospital and then they'll go over a plan for the participants here."

Adam Finney loves the new center.

"It's night and day difference from the old place," Finney said. "I lift weights a little and a lot of the cycling. We ride on a computrainers in the winter so it's basically a stationary bike and we just spin in place."

They also offer exercise classes that are customized for specific disabilities.

"We have seated aerobics," Daniels said. "We also have warm water aerobics that we offer at the hospital. We're going to offer Zumba, adaptive Zumba very soon here."

Barbara Galper is a regular. She has Parkinson's disease.

"(Parkinson's) affects me by making me very stiff and rigid which is painful to walk," Galper said. "Exercise helps a great deal. I come here five times a week for classes."

The fitness center is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The membership fee is $35 per year for a person with a physical disability.

They have more than 1,000 members.

"We have people that come from Milwaukee," Daniels said. "We have people that come from northern Indiana. We have a lot of participants that drive well over an hour and half to come either to a sport practice or just to the fitness center."

For more information, visit www.ric.org/healthinfo/fitness.

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