Rise to the Challenge: The Goodwill Fitness Center
At the Goodwill Fitness Center, they believe that every person, regardless of physical disability or health status, can benefit from a comprehensive exercise program. There are currently about 70,000 adults in Orange County, California living with physical disabilities, and the number grows each year. Until recently, there has been no fitness center in Orange County to serve this population.
The Goodwill Fitness Center was created to fill the gap and provide what conventional fitness centers simply cannot. At this brand-new facility, members have access to state-of-the-art specialized equipment, a range of courses designed for people with disabilities, and a qualified, experienced staff. As part of a stay-fit program, members can enhance every day of their lives by improving stamina, muscular strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, body control, and detailed mobility. Along the way, members may also develop a sense of belonging in a fitness center created for people in Orange County that live with physical disabilities and chronic illness.
Exercising Options for Better Health
To maintain or increase overall health, physical exercise plays an important role - especially for individuals who have a physical disability or chronic illness. In fact, members can help reduce secondary health conditions and complications by engaging in physical activity at least five days a week for 30 minutes or more. A balanced approach to exercise is the safest, most natural form of preventative medicine - and anyone can do it with the right equipment and guidance. Exercise is good for physical as well as mental health. It stimulates brain chemicals that can produce feelings of well-being and relaxation, and can even reduce depression and anxiety. It also promotes a proactive attitude in taking care of disabilities or chronic illnesses. The result can be a much more enjoyable quality of life, as well as greater productivity in the workplace.
Working Out for Greater Independence
Goodwill's goal is to assist members in increasing their physical fitness and strength. Members can take advantage of cardiovascular and strength training, yoga, one-on-one personal training, and classes on nutrition and wellness strategies. Goodwill Fitness Center trainers will often focus on balance, coordination, motor control, and cardiovascular capacity. This can help members develop or maintain their ability to perform activities of daily living, such as getting up from bed, taking a shower or bath, carrying groceries in from the car, or going up a flight of stairs. These exercise programs will help minimize the potential for chronic pain caused by muscle imbalances, muscle atrophy, overuse injuries, and disability-specific wear and tear on muscles and joints.
Designed with Accessibility in Mind
The Goodwill Fitness Center features a complete line of premium accessible exercise equipment, including an array of Cybex Total Access, SCIFIT, and Star Trac equipment, as well as free weights. The equipment has been designed with special features, such as seats that swing out of the way so workouts can be done from a wheelchair. Other features that can be found on the Cybex equipment include lower weight stacks than standard gym machines, easy-to-read text, and contrasting colors on equipment for increased safety. Many of the machines can be adjusted for those who cannot fully straighten their legs or have limited motion in their joints. In addition, the locker rooms include fully accessible showers and changing rooms. Members can store items in a locker, work out, and then get ready for the day in a spacious area with mirrors and appropriate counter heights.
To qualify for membership at the Goodwill Fitness Center, prospective members must have a medically diagnosed disability and a medical release form signed by their physician authorizing them to participate in an exercise program. After a fitness assessment, a highly trained physical therapist will work with each member to develop an exercise program based on individual capabilities and goals. Once the program has been established, members are encouraged to be independent in working out. Personal trainers circulate around the gym floor area to support members during their exercise programs. Members may come in to work out at any time without an appointment, except for one-on-one training or physical therapy. If members would like ongoing physical therapy services, they will need a prescription from their physician. Additional fees are charged for physical therapy services, which require an appointment.
Meet the Members
Deverick is a 46-year-old member, who had a stroke and then was hit by a truck in a crosswalk and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He has been a member of the center since August 2008. Since he cannot drive, his parents and sister take turns bringing him to and from the center. Deverick is making great gains in his independence and hopes to be driving himself by summer. Deverick is very educated and holds both an MBA and a law degree.
After an accident which left him partially paralyzed a few years ago, Kyle's indomitable spirit shines through as an example for everyone he meets. As one of the first members of the Goodwill Fitness Center, Kyle immediately set tough goals for himself and has the confidence and intensity to achieve them. He currently competes in marathons, but it is his gracious attitude and positive approach with fellow Fitness Center members that make him a champion.
To learn more, please call 888-OCFITCENTER (888-623-4823) or visit http://ocgoodwill-fitnesscenter.org. The Goodwill Fitness Center is located at 1601 East St. Andrew Place in Santa Ana, California.