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Highland Hospital Offers Fitness Program to Pre- and Post-Bariatric Surgery Patients Through Partnership

Monday, April 16, 2012

After gaining 100 pounds, Desiree Hobson, 31, of Macedon didn’t know where to start at the gym.

"I’ve done really well in the past with exercise, but after gaining weight, my exercise became really restricted," Hobson said. "I couldn’t do a mile on the treadmill or weight circuit anymore. I could barely climb the stairs. Having someone guide and teach me what I can do is what I need."

Desiree has joined a new 12-week exercise program being offered by Highland Hospital’s Bariatric (weight-loss) Surgery Center to its pre- and post-surgical patients through a partnership with Genesee Valley Physical Therapy (GVPT) and the YMCA of Greater Rochester. A physical therapist and fitness coach work together to develop a fitness plan that meets each individual’s needs.

Andrea Zimmerli, Bariatric Coordinator

"Many of our patients have physical limitations, such as joint pain, that prevent them from exercising on their own," said Andrea Zimmerli, Highland Bariatric Coordinator. "By working with a physical therapist and a personal fitness coach, we hope patients learn exercises that fit their needs and help them achieve lasting weight loss before and after surgery."

A GVPT therapist evaluates patients to determine the best form of exercise for them. Based on the evaluation, a YMCA Personal Fitness Coach develops a workout plan and provides personalized attention to the patient three times a week with continuous follow up and feedback. Participants also have access to a physical therapist throughout the fitness program to prevent aches and pains.

"There is a high correlation between overweight individuals and joint strain disorders," said Lindsay Jackson, a GVPT Aquatic Therapist. "Exercise can significantly reduce the strain on stressed joints and muscles if prescribed properly. GVPT physical therapists will provide the guidance needed for safe exercise routines."

"We’re giving people an opportunity to be a part of something that can help them sustain a behavioral change," said Laura Fasano, Director of Program Development at the YMCA of Greater Rochester. "Our one-on-one coaches will help patients set goals, identify barriers and develop strategies to overcome those barriers."

The program is open to overweight individuals older than 12 years old with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more. They must be referred to the fitness program by an accredited bariatric surgery program.

Highland’s Bariatric Surgery Center is accredited by the American College of Surgeons. The bariatric program requires patients to undergo psychological and nutritional counseling prior to surgery. Exercise also plays an integral role in weight loss before and after surgery.

"This exercise program is keeping me focused and honest with the weight-loss process," said Desiree, who is preparing for bariatric surgery at Highland.

The personal fitness program is offered at all Eastside district and Westside district YMCA locations as well as the Carlson MetroCenter, Maplewood and Monroe branches in Rochester.

To get started, patients can call GVPT at (585) 377-9626.

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