Innovative fitness center promises “active aging” for seniors
By Valerie Franchi, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Those abundant factory-style gyms can be overwhelming for older residents who have not been active in many years. But studies have shown that most seniors lose more than half of their strength by age 75 and could be greatly helped by a regular fitness routine.
“Gyms are often alien environments for seniors and are typically not designed to suit their needs,” said Paul Reilly, regional developer for ActiveRx, an Arizona-based company that aims to inspire lifestyle changes to improve overall health and function for older adults.
ActiveRx has Active Aging Centers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, and South Carolina.
The first center in the Northeast will open in Westborough Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 24 Lyman St., Suite 140, in the Westborough Shopping Center. A grand opening ceremony will be held in late September.
“Our first center is ideally located to serve residents of a number of communities, including Westborough, Southborough, Northborough, Hopkinton, Framingham, Upton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Boylston and Marlborough,” Regional Developer Paul Reilly said.
Reilly noted that the Westborough location will serve as the headquarters for more centers he hopes to open in the next several years.
“We hope to open five more in the central Mass. area in the next two years,” he said, with an additional 15 to 20 locations throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island within the next three years.
Reilly was looking to become a business owner and wanted to do something health- and fitness-related, but “didn's want to open just another gym.”
He liked the fact that the benefits of the services provided by ActiveRx are based upon more than a decade of scientific research on the direct correlation between strength and functional independence, in aging.
“It was proven that ActiveRx's system can regain 10 years of strength in three or four months,” Reilly said. “It also has a beneficial effect on chronic conditions, such as diabetes and rheumatism.”
Clients regain and maintain strength through participating in all or part of The ActiveRx system – the ActivEval, Active Physical Therapy and Strengtherapy, interwoven to enhance mobility, agility and balance.
Strengtherapy was developed by the ActiveRx scientific advisory board, which consists of nationally renowned geriatric research scientists, exercise physiologists and physical therapists with more than 100 years of collective experience.
“Traditional physical therapy is used to treat an injury and get the patient back to normal,” Reilly explained. “But for our clients, normal isn's good enough. We want to help them enjoy aging more, and be able to do the things they used to do and liked to do.”
Each new client is evaluated, then either started into physical therapy or directly into Strengtherapy sessions depending on ability. Members come at regular times an average of three times a week for 40 minutes.
The regimen involves weights, strength equipment, floor and balance exercises, and even using a Wii Fit system. According to Reilly, all of the equipment is modified for seniors and meets International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) standards. “They are easy to get in and get out of,” he said. “There is nothing to step over.”
The centers are intended to provide a comfortable environment for their clients, with neutral colors, soft music and an attentive staff.
The Westborough facility will have six to eight certified therapists, who also receive specialized training in the ActiveRx system and work in collaboration with clients” physicians.
Since clients have scheduled workouts, rather than the typical drop-in policy of most gyms, the facility can accommodate 300 to 500 members, working out in small supervised groups according to age and ability.
“This also allows for socialization,” Reilly noted. “Members meet and develop friendships.”
The Westborough ActiveRx Active Aging Center will hold an open house Tuesday, Sept. 3, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For consultations and orientation, appointments are recommended by calling 508-329-1163.
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