The Fitness Center at UH Avon Health Center can help you get back to normal life after physical therapy is finished

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This summer, the Fitness Center at University Hospitals Avon Health Center launched the Post Physical Therapy Exercise Program, designed for patients who are released from physical therapy for lower extremity therapy. (L-R): Leading this program are Certified Personal Trainers, Gabrielle Neubauer, shown with patient, John, and Linda Lavalle, with patient Mary Ellen. (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)

By Laura Briedis

Oftentimes when someone is recovering from surgery or an injury and has finished physical therapy, they aren’t sure what to do next. They want to keep the momentum going, but, without guidance, that can be a hard task.

That’s where the Fitness Center at University Hospitals Avon Health Center steps in. As a medical-based fitness center, it is the perfect partner for your wellness journey. This summer, the Fitness Center launched a new program to fill that void. The Post Physical Therapy Exercise Program is designed for patients who are released from physical therapy for lower extremity therapy.

“We help clients improve their balance, range of motion, gait and strength,” says Renee Barrett, program manager. “It provides the motivation and encouragement people need and builds a foundation that helps people continue to exercise.”

For Claire Plummer, an Avon Lake resident who is recovering from a knee replacement, it provided much-needed relief from pain.

“After surgery and physical therapy, my knee still ached and hurt,” she says. “I knew that I could benefit from a more structured program than just depending on myself. Now that I am in this post physical therapy program, the pain is going away and I attribute that to this program and the skilled personal trainers.”

Claire was one of five area residents to take part in this new program this summer. A new workout buddy, Mary Ellen Georgi also is reaping the benefits.

“I had a partial knee replacement in May, so my surgery was more recent than the others in our group,” says Mary Ellen, a retired schoolteacher. “But our personal trainer adjusted the workout to my abilities so I was able to go at my own pace until I got stronger. In addition to providing guidance on exercises, my trainer educates me on things that are happening in my body. Our group developed a fun camaraderie and getting to know other people in similar situations has been very helpful.”

This new, innovative program starts with a fitness assessment. Then, the participants meet in small groups (six or less) and work out two days a week with a certified personal trainer, and receive a pass to the Fitness Center for the third workout each week.

At the 60,000-square-foot facility, there are so many ways to stay in shape. While the expansive fitness floor is the cornerstone of the fitness center, it also boasts a six-lane indoor pool, a warm-water therapy pool, steam rooms and saunas, an indoor and outdoor running/walking track, a multi-sport gymnasium, racquetball and squash courts, as well as a childcare center and a day spa.

“Though the fitness center is affiliated with University Hospitals, anyone can participate in our program,” says Renee. “All you need is a referral from a physical therapist so we know where you left off so we can help you progress and bridge that gap.”

“The cost of the four-week program is only $99, which sometimes amounts to less than what you pay for insurance co-pays for medical services,” says Renee.

The Fitness Center at UH Avon Health Center is located at 1997 Healthway Drive in Avon. Call 440-988-6801, or visit for details.