Member stories

Tom and Mary decided to get more active

Instead of slowing down in retirement, Tom and Mary Bednarowski decided to get more active - physically and socially.

They joined the River Falls Area Hospital (RFAH) Wellness Center in 2008. Today, they say they're feeling better than ever. Tom, 60, had surgery on both knees and has arthritis in one knee, but he said, "With all the stretching we do now, my knee doesn't hurt at all."

At the Wellness Center, they've made new exercise buddies. Together, they inspire each other to a new level of fitness and friendship.

"We have such a great time," said Tom. "The time goes by so fast when you're with friends that you don't even notice you're exercising."

Friends Spur One Another On

The Bednarowskis are part of a group of "regulars" that attends the Wellness Center's twice-weekly circuit training class. In addition to the balance exercises, strength training and cardio workouts, the friends make a point to celebrate birthdays together and plan social events. For instance, they recently had a potluck tailgate party to kick off football season - with healthy food, of course.

"When we're not in class, we don't push ourselves as much," Tom said. When they exercise with their friends, "it's a hundred times more motivating."

The social aspect improves the experience for these members, said Wellness Center Coordinator Helen Leemkuil. "They even give each other a hard time if someone's not putting forth enough effort."

Not Your Typical Gym

The Wellness Center, which is inside the hospital, gets more than 2,000 visits a month, Leemkuil said. It has all the amenities of a regular gym, plus health assessment services and staff who are knowledgeable in working with people with disabilities and health problems. Leemkuil noted that the Wellness Center is perfect for people who may not be comfortable going to a typical gym.

"We like to see people over here in the Wellness Center and not in the hospital or in cardiac rehabilitation," Leemkuil said. "That's what it's all about - prevention."

Mary, 59, said she hasn't been in such good shape in 20 years. She's achieved her healthy BMI goal weight and hopes to complete a sprint triathlon next summer. "I feel tremendous," she said.

Ready to shape up and possibly make new friends too? Learn about the River Falls Area Hospital Wellness Center by calling 715-307-6060.

rfah wellness center
Having fun working out together (left to right): Helen Leemkuil, Wellness Center coordinator, Tom Bednarowski and Linda and Gene Kirk, Wellness Center members.