By Jill Nagy
HealthPlex Fitness in Clifton Park, one of the area’s first private fitness centers, is still going strong after 30 years.
Over the years, it has morphed into a specialized fitness facility offering customized programs for young athletes, middle-aged and older folks getting back into shape, and people recovering from illness or injury.
Recently, HealthPlex started a partnership with physical therapists from OrthoNY , an orthopedic medicine practice, in a program called MedX. The focus is on “functional movement,” according to HealthPlex manager Steve Kerkowski.
The program is designed for people who have completed physical therapy but still need to go somewhere to build strength and improve overall physical fitness.
“If the doctors don’t have to fix things or refer a patient to physical therapy, they send them to us to screen and develop a program of corrective exercise,” he said.
The formal program began last October but it builds on work HealthPlex has been doing over the years. They began with a couple dozen clients, many of whom continue their fitness programs after the immediate problem has been fixed.
"We want to be sure we are building the program up so that they can continue forever," Kerkowski said. Within 24 hours of physician referral, the center gets a MedX client in for a strategy session and screening in order to set up a program that may include anywhere from one to five sessions a week.
At the other end of the age spectrum, HealthPlex has a program for young athletes housed at the Hockey Hut. The aim of that program is to have young athletes "moving well before moving more." It began two years ago with conditioning and strength training for young hockey players and ice skaters and now includes the full range of high school and younger athletes.
Kerkowski himself began as an "injured, broken athlete" with a pin in one hip. He worked for a few years with a personal trainer before becoming a trainer himself. For the last four years he has been a full-time personal trainer and sales manager for HealthPlex Fitness.
For senior citizens, HealthPlex offers a Silver Sneakers program of group exercise classes.
"We have a very active senior population here," Kerkowski noted.
Classes emphasize balance, fall prevention, and improvement of grip strength and dexterity. They meet five days a week and serve 25-30 members at a time. For most Silver Sneakers members, the cost is covered by their medical insurance.
The business was started by Steve and Theresa Burke, who still own it. Theresa brought her training as a swimmer to the mix.
Its stated purpose is "to promote longevity and quality of life for health conscious individuals through scientifically proven methods of exercise, nutrition, and a positive lifestyle modification."
"We do have regular members who just come to work out," marketing director Robin Morgan said. "But we take more care to make sure each one of our members is on the right track."
She said HealthPlex is "unique in the area" and not a "bring-them-in and grind-them-out" facility that some gyms can be.
Basic membership in the center is $29 per month, with extra fees for personal training. Drop-in classes are also available for members, in addition to the specialized programs.
For the future, "we are working on a few things," Kerkowski said. They plan to continue to build on the program of proper total-body training and, if needed, pain management.
The main HealthPlex Fitness facility is located at 1637 Route 9, near the intersection with Route 146, in Clifton Park. Its satellite location at Hockey Hut is at 1535 Crescent Road, Clifton Park. The telephone number is 383-0225. Its website is www.healthplexfitness.com.
Hours are 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends.