In 2013, after enduring months of rehabilitation to recover from a car accident caused by a drunk driver, Vicki Lynn Younkin, then 53, decided to get physically fit for the first time. “It was something I had always wanted to do, but I guess it took a near-death experience to make it happen,” says the resident of Coventry Township, just south of Akron, Ohio.
The fitness center she chose was near her home and was familiar — it was the same place where she received her rehab care. A physical therapist introduced Younkin to an exercise physiologist to get her started on a workout plan.
“When I first got on the treadmill, I was so weak I couldn’t walk a mile,” she says. “The exercise guys are always right there with me, and the other day I rode a bike machine more than 15 miles. I also love to swim, and I have lost about 17 pounds in a year. I wanted to get healthy for myself, my husband and kids, but I really want to be around for my grandkids.”
The center, one of three run by Akron General Health System, is called Health & Wellness Center–Green. Far from a traditional health club, the sprawling 98,000-square-foot facility brings together outpatient services, a stand-alone emergency department, radiology, sports medicine, physical therapy, orthopedics and cardiac rehab, and aqua therapy. Former rehab patients pay to become members of LifeStyles, a fitness program. Next door, a 40,000-square-foot medical office building houses Akron General physicians.
The center, built through a partnership with national developer Rendina Healthcare Real Estate, has hundreds of pieces of cardiovascular and weight-lifting equipment, an indoor lap pool and warm water pool, a gymnasium, indoor and outdoor running tracks, a youth fitness area, exercise studios and an indoor rock climbing wall. Board-certified sports medicine doctors, licensed physical therapists, certified athletic trainers, exercise physiologists and strength and conditioning specialists work with thousands of patients and LifeStyles members.
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Sloane, Todd. “Hospitals Muscle Up on ‘Medical Fitness'” Hospital & Health Networks. February 2015. Print.