Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Overcoming a Lifelong Struggle: One Member’s Story

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by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner

Member Harini is getting it done. She is losing weight, controlling diabetes and cholesterol, and improving her overall health. The added challenge—her lifelong struggle to walk.

A Gap in Fitness

Harini Chitalia always was limited in her ability to walk normally. As a baby in India, she contracted polio which left a permanent strain on her legs. Although she was not paralyzed in any specific area, she struggled to be mobile. A simple walk required frequent breaks.

cluttered-desk-picHarini works from home as a project manager in the insurance industry. For four years, she spent much of her time sitting at a desk with occasional business travel (more sitting). This sedentary lifestyle, compounded by her physical limitations, had consequences on her health. “I didn’t anticipate such high levels,” Harini admitted after her physical showed elevated cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

One Step Forward

She decided to join the Center after her first visit. Harini spent two hours with the general manager who personally took time to understand her issues. Harini’s husband, equally impressed, became a Center member as well. Membership also allowed him to be further supportive of Harini’s health endeavors.

Harini and her husband, Raj, before starting their fitness journey.
Harini and her husband, Raj, before starting their fitness journey.

The effects of polio add an additional element to Harini’s training needs. Limitations need to be respected. Boundaries need to be monitored and only cautiously challenged. Harini was assigned Personal Trainer Alex who was able to design an appropriate workout for her needs.

“Alex observes my progress. Without pushing, he safely advances my routine. I began with moderate exercises. Now, I also can manage to walk for quite a few minutes on the treadmill. I seem to have amazing strength and super energy,” Harini says with a smile.

Currently, her workouts last about an hour during which she does a variety of exercises. Her new lifestyle also limits sitting more than one hour, even during those frequent conference calls.

The Journey Continues

“Although my doctor prescribed low doses of medication for me, I believe it was an improved diet and personalized exercise routine that truly helped me get where I am today,” informs Harini. After only three months, she began to notice changes. Her blood sugar and bad cholesterol levels dropped. She lost seven percent of her body fat and 11 pounds. “My physician has been amazed with my progress,” she adds.

Recent smiles.
Recent smiles.

Almost one year later, she continues to see improvements. Harini’s goal is to eliminate all medication and lose 20 additional pounds over the next six months. These goals would have been overwhelming prior to Harini’s increased mobility. Trainer Alex assures Harini they are now realistic.

img_1864Her transformation is easily apparent to all who know Harini. From a 48-year-old who could barely walk, she now can be seen running all around—at the Center and beyond. The same general manager who gave Harini and her husband their initial tour recently commented on her shining progress, “My gosh! That’s a different face!”

As for Harini’s beloved, she shares a wife’s firsthand insight, “My husband has improved, especially his core strength.”

Harini’s Advice

Try one of each!
Try one of each!

Excited to share her experience to help others, Harini offers three tips to others traveling their unique fitness journeys:

  1. Show up. Take the first step and get to the Center.
  2. Do a variety of exercises. It’s more effective. Plus, there is so much available. (Harini can’t wait to try aquatic workouts.)
  3. Listen to the personal trainers. They will help you create a fitness plan. The Center nurse will show you the results of your efforts. This team will hold you accountable to your healthy lifestyle.

Image Credits

Desk: pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2016/03/31/20/04/cluttered-1295494_960_720.png

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