Friday, February 23, 2024

Get Your Exercise On at UVA’s New, State-of-the-Art Gym

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The services are great for people who have a chronic injury “where maybe the traditional health care model wouldn’t cover a plan of care for a certain amount of time,” Strick said. “We want to work with a lot of the club sports athletes. Maybe people coming from UVA Rec with weekend warrior injuries. The wellbeing model of exercise is really important to help with weight management and anxiety and stress and all of that.”

For One and All

Luedeka said he has been surprised at how many UVA students have orthopedic dysfunction issues and could benefit from the new services at the center.

“There’s a lot of things from an orthopedic perspective that are chronic in nature. Spinal instabilities; non-surgical meniscal tears; patella femoral dysfunction – all kinds of orthopedic things. Plantar fasciitis, flat feet. Scoliosis,” he said, listing some of the challenges.

“It’s been amazing to me, the plethora of orthopedic, dysfunctional issues that these kids come to school with. They’ve gone through physical therapy. They’ve gone through the traditional medical route and a lot of times they’ve exhausted all those means and they’re living with these chronic conditions. 

“But in the Fried Center, they’re learning how to manage and sometimes improve these conditions through the use of medically based exercise.”

The Perfect Student Model, Born Out of Goodness

The new center is named for its benefactor, Barbara Fried, who served two terms on UVA’s Board of Visitors from 2014 to 2022, and by Luedeka’s telling, was a constant cheerleader for students during her eight years as a member of the body. 

“She is exceedingly giving and one of her big things when she was on the Board of Visitors was she always pushed for the student experience,” he said. “I think for her to open this center, as a way to help, to benefit the students so they can have a better life and a better experience, is really an important part of this story,” he said.

Fried is a founder of Innisfree Village, a residential working farm for people with intellectual disabilities located west of Charlottesville, which opened in 1971. There was an exercise component to the program for many years, and after meeting Fried in the mid-2010s, Luedeka, who has been a physical therapist for 30 years, suggested implementing a functional fitness program as a better fit for the residents. 

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