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Fitness program reaches people with disabilities
BLOOMINGTON — Exercise programs for people with disabilities are nothing new.
But a new, medically supervised pilot program targets a group of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. After one year, program partners — the McLean County Health Department, Advocate BroMenn Health & Fitness Center and Marcfirst — will analyze each participant’s health and fitness data to determine whether to continue the program and perhaps expand it.
« Our overall goal is for individuals with disabilities to have the same opportunities as people without disabilities, » said Laura Beavers, health department behavioral health division manager.
« It’s almost two months into the program and, so far, it has exceeded expectations based on program participation and member feedback, » said Molly Smeltzer, the health and fitness center’s fitness and wellness manager.
On May 23, Nicole Ward was among several people working out at the center. She picked up a medicine ball, steadied herself and threw it to the floor.
« Slam it down! » she yelled at the encouragement of her personal trainer/health coach Sara Freed and caregiver Karly Enger.
She did that 10 times, the most she’d ever done. Next, she played catch using an inflatable ball.
« Nice throw, » Freed said after Ward tossed the ball to her. « This is her first time throwing it. And she’s doing a lot better catching it instead of letting it slide off her, » Freed said.