by Terry Rogers
Milford Lifestyles and Fitness Center recently opened in the Milford Wellness Village offering medically-based fitness programs. Although its location is the same as the former Milford Memorial Hospital gym, the space has been upgraded with new machinery as well as a room dedicated to those who need specialized equipment due to injury or illness. In addition to programs focused on weight loss and physical fitness, the facility offers a Post-Rehab Membership that is designed to bridge the gap between healthcare and fitness.
“It is a unique program designed to develop and implement exercise programming for clients with disease and disability as well as those coping with multiple conditions,” Cara Konlian, CEO, said. “We offer typical gym equipment such as treadmills and elliptical trainers but we also have one entire room dedicated to those who need physical therapy equipment, such as parallel bars, t-bands or other equipment designed for advanced therapy.”
Client are evaluated by a licensed physical therapist who works with them to address specific physical deficits. This may only require one visit or the client may require multiple sessions with the therapist. Together, the therapist and the client develop an individualized exercise program to meet the individual’s personalized goals. Konlian explained that someone with an injury, such as a lumbar spine injury, may need additional services like soft tissue massages, something that will be recognized by the licensed physical therapist but could be missed by a personal trainer.
“The most important thing about this membership is that it is completely covered by most insurance policies,” Konlian said. “We accept Medicare, Medicaid and just about every health insurance plan available. Exercising properly post-rehab is very important. Often, people come into a gym and end up hurting themselves because they don’t know what to do or how to properly exercise. We don’t allow that to happen. We constantly monitor everyone in the gym and correct errors as we see them. We may suggest adding reps or weights. We may talk to them about changing things up. Whatever we think needs to be done to help them reach their goals.”
COVID-19 protocols are in place at the gym. Temperature checks are required at the door and face coverings must be worn when clients are not on machines. All staff wear masks and there are hand sanitizer stations throughout the gym. All machines are sanitized three times each day by staff and members are required to sanitize after they finish using the machines.
The post-rehab Membership is designed for anyone who has suffered a severe injury or deals with a debilitating illness. People with fibromyalgia suffer global muscle soreness which makes exercise painful. However, the only treatment for the illness is exercise which can be excruciatingly painful.
“When the average person works out initially, they have to deal with muscle soreness,” Ryan Spotts, Milford Wellness Center Coordinator, said. “For someone with fibromyalgia, the pain is significantly worse and the person simply quits exercising. We can help develop a plan that will help keep them exercising which is the best treatment they can have.”
Konlian explained that cancer patients are another group that benefit from a post-rehab membership. After cancer treatment, many people have range of motion or other restrictions due to surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. The post-rehab membership allows them to safely modify their exercise program in order to regain their health.
Once the client completed the post-rehab program, they may transition to the wellness program available through the center. The physical therapist develops a continued comprehensive exercise program that includes strength, flexibility and cardiovascular training. They still meet with a physical therapist, physical therapist assistant or personal trainer three times for 30 minutes in a 30-day period to review their program.
In addition to the post-rehab membership, there are other beneficial programs available at the center. There are weight-loss program designed for those with diabetes or hypertension. Konlian explained that weight loss is critical to addressing the health risks with those conditions, yet people are not sure how to go about achieving that. She explained that the staff at the center works with each client to be sure the program they are using fits their own goals and needs.
“We offer a women’s health program,” Konlian said. “We have a pelvic floor therapist on site to work with pregnant women. Pregnancy is very hard on a woman’s body and, even if the woman has no pain or issues during the pregnancy, problems can occur after birth or in subsequent pregnancies. We offer programs designed for those with lower back pain as well as for people who are older who have specialized needs when it comes to exercise.”
Konlian pointed out that when the gym was located in the former hospital, it was very popular with local residents and she is ready to welcome them back. With COVID-19 protocols in place, it is safe for anyone to return to an exercise regimen. Because diabetes and obesity are risk factors for developing more severe cases of COVID-19, an exercise program may be one of the best protections.
Anyone who is interested in the post-rehab membership or any other membership available at the fitness center can call or stop in for a tour. The initial consultation is free and Konlian recommends that if someone is interested in signing up, they should come in for the full work up.