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At BodyWorks, Exercise Is for Everyone

Three semesters ago, health science graduate Vanessa Helgerson created ABLEWorks, a fitness program for KSC students with disabilities.

The program, which is based in BodyWorks Fitness Center, recently received a boost when it received a grant from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center to purchase a SciFit total body conditioner. The equipment, says Vanessa, allows students with disabilities, especially those in wheelchairs, to get a complete cardiovascular workout.

Ryan Sexton, a junior, has trained with Vanessa since ABLEWorks (Access to Better Living through Exercise) began. The program and the new equipment are essential to her life, she says.

“Since I started working out, I’ve found my energy level has increased,” she explained. “It has helped me get through the day. It’s kind of hard pushing a chair all day long.”

The new equipment, says Vanessa, will enable her to add cardio components to programs that already contain strength and balance activities.

Vanessa worked with Jane Warner, disability services coordinator, and Chris Miles, BodyWorks manager, to prepare the grant, which was worth $5,000. Vanessa and Chris hope that a second grant application to the PRC will provide the funding needed for Vanessa’s position to become fulltime.

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