Opportunity Knocks, Midtown Athletic Club partner to promote wellness for those with disabilities

OAK PARK, Ill. -- An Oak Park health club has partnered with a non-profit organization that promotes health and wellness for their participants with developmental disabilities.

Midtown Athletic Club Oak Park trainers have been challenging Opportunity Knocks' participants with unique and advanced fitness equipment that will enable them to be fit, healthy and have a lot of fun.

Brian Lyons is the fitness director. They started working together five months ago.

"People have so much fun and break a sweat and they're not even realizing they're working out, so we want to turn exercise, not make it drudgery but make it fun," Lyons said.

"We have a bunch of high-quality, technologically-advanced equipment like walls and power plates and jungle gyms and just things we can create a bunch of different movements for," Lyons said.

Phil Carmody and his brother Mike started the River Forest organization five years ago.

"We have a brother who has special needs," Carmody said. "We saw he was coming up on the age of 22, which is critical for these guys."

Opportunity Knocks offers programs for teens and young adults.

"The after ops program is 14 and half to 30, and this day program called Life Shop is older than 22," Carmody said.

A big part of their program is health and wellness.

"We come once a week to do a session with our trainers," Carmody said.

"We do random challenges where they're touching walls, competing against each other and just doing a lot of team building games that engage the brain," Lyons said.

"They may have had previous ideas about exercise but when they come here and are having fun within five minutes but also breaking a sweat and getting tired, that's where it's at, and then you know we're high-fiving and having a great time at the end, it's a lot of fun," Lyons said.

If you are interested in learning more about Opportunity Knocks or Midtown Athletic Club Oak Park, visit www.midtown.com or www.opportunityknocks.org.
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