Recreation Center for People with Disabilities

Aside from Chicago handicap vans, what about Chicago fitness or recreation centers for people with disabilities?

We all know that staying active isn’t always easy, but it’s especially not easy as someone with a disability.

This is why Elana Newkirk is working toward providing a place for people with disabilities to efficiently maintain a fitness regime.

About Elana

Former police and 911 dispatcher Elana was born with spina bifida. This greatly affected her mobility, making it difficult for her to walk. She describes it as walking like a penguin with knees, because she waddles and that was how spina bifida affected her mobility.

She ended up losing both of her feet and lower legs and had to undergo a total of 56 surgeries and 176 hospitalizations. She lost her left foot first in 1991 because of circulation problems. Then she lost her right foot because of a drunk driver three years later.

After losing both of her feet and her lower legs, fitness became quite the obstacle, but her determination kept her mentally and physically strong. Elana knew her life wasn’t over and that she just had to learn how to adapt to it.

No Excuses Adapted Fitness

Since typical gyms aren’t equipped to provide needs for people who are disabled, Elana decided she wanted to start  her own fitness center specially designed for people with disabilities. Going by the name “No Excuses Adapted Fitness,” her hope is that it will be located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

At “No Excuses Adapted Fitness,” Elana’s vision is to have ellipticals and treadmills would be designed with grab-bars or parallel bars, similar to one that are used in rehab centers and physical therapy.  They would wrap around so the person using the machine has something to hang on to and help them get off. She also hopes to have trainers that will use specialized workout equipment.

Elana is looking forward to getting this process on the move and she will be meeting with elected officials and other non-profits in order to do so.

Elana lives by her motto, “Physical disabilities don’t have to make you handicapped,” and she hopes to influence others to believe that as well.

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