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.
Sloane, Todd. “Hospitals Muscle Up on ‘Medical Fitness'” Hospital & Health Networks. February 2015. Print.