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Welcome to Vitality; let me tell you a story about our community and how we work together to improve mobility.I met Ernie Audino in a hot tub at the Apex Center in Arvada, Colorado.  Apex, with its recreational and lap pools, broadly equipped cardio room, climbing wall, family party area, gym, running track, community exercise/meeting rooms, twin sheets of ice, and marvelous staff, sets the gold standard for Community Recreation facilities.  And, it has the hot tub.

Community hot tubs are places where it's normal to meet very interesting people and make some very good friends.  And hot tubs have been Vitality's Community Centers; places where incredibly productive conversations about personal health and mobility are routine.   People who have never met before share their stories and "secrets" of The Happy Life (everyone is always happy in the hot tub) and inevitably learn from one another to do something new.

Individuals normally gather in Apex's adult hot tub after training sessions – it's the payoff for the work, and I had done mine for the day.  A white haired, mustachioed fellow sank into the hot water with the typical satisfied "AAHHH, this is great!" and he immediately struck up a conversation.  That began my friendship with Ernie.

Retirement provided the time and prescription costs provided the motivation for Ernie to design a sensible cardio conditioning and strengthening program.  Three months into his new life, he was ready to start reclaiming his Army Abs so we spent an afternoon working through some basic abdominal strengthening and stretching exercises.  Forty years of the "normal" lifestyle had taken its toll on Ernie's physical capacity.  His strength was great; but in relation to his balance and flexibility, he was likely to overstress and injure some part of his body. 
We consulted with Beth Graf, Aquatics Director for Apex Park and Recreation District, and Carlos Victor Walker, one of Vitality's ice skating coaches to determine where Ernie should begin his balance and flexibility training program.  Beth gets marvelous results from her water arthritis classes and water is the most forgiving environment for building balance and flexibility.  The answer was clear – Ernie would get immediate benefits from Apex's aquacise classes.
That got us talking about using aquacise with lower-limb amputees.  One idea led to another and eventually one of us asked, "What if we could start transitioning new amputees into prosthetic legs in the water?"  Beth raised her eyebrows, cocked her head with that kind of smile that we all get when we latch onto a really good idea, and said, "I think you should join my class tomorrow."
Ernie and I joined Beth's class the next day.  He had a great time and was hooked immediately.  I learned that aquacise is an incredible place for anyone to begin improving their strength, balance, and flexibility.  So Vitality In Action Foundation has undertaken a pilot project to determine the "Best Practices" to employ water based exercise in mobility training and physical conditioning for people with lower limb loss. 
And that's what Vitality is about.  We're a community of people with varied physical capacities dedicated to finding and sharing the "secrets" that maximize our individual mobility because it's healthy, it's vital and most of all – IT'S FUN!  We talk with one another and then do.  Out of that action we're creating innovative recreational opportunities for everyone and providing a community where individuals can meet their personal mobility challenges.
So welcome to Vitality In Action.  I invite you to join our community.  It's easy – just enter into the conversation and GET INVOLVED . Cheers!


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