Bringing Specialized Fitness to the North

I didn’t realize I had an interest in bone health until my final year of Kinesiology. During a Bone and Joint Health class taught by Dr. Lora Giangregorio, I realized there weren’t fitness opportunities in my Northern Ontario community suited for people with osteoporosis or low bone mass. I knew this because for my first few co-op placements I worked as a canfitpro certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor at a fitness studio in Sault Ste. Marie called Fit Bodies Fit Minds. Recognizing this void in my community, Dr. Giangregorio suggested I complete a BoneFit course certified by Osteoporosis Canada.

Caray FordThe two day workshop gave me the tools and knowledge needed to be able to create my own class called Strong Bones Fitness. Owner and manager of Fit Bodies Fit Minds, Kyla Faganely, gave me the opportunity to design, advertise, and teach this new class. As my co-op supervisor for 3 terms, she was very excited to see what I could bring back from school and how I could help the community in new and innovative ways. The focus of this class was to mix exercise with education, addressing how to safely adapt movements used in everyday life. Bone health is extremely important to me because people who are at risk for osteoporosis have an increased risk of fragility fractures, potentially diminishing their quality of life. After graduation, I taught the class for 6 weeks during the summer. I received great feedback from the clients and other instructors who wanted to learn how to incorporate similar principles in their classes. I was also able to take this new-found knowledge and apply it to other classes I taught in my local community.

Waterloo gave me the tools and resources to discover my passions before I realized them. The co-op program was extremely important for my education as well as my post-graduate experience. Through the program I was able to explore all facets of the kinesiology spectrum from prevention/ergonomics to general fitness to rehabilitation. These short-term positions allowed me to test out a variety of positions while building relationships with industry leaders. Because of that Bone and Joint Health class, I shifted my focus from general population fitness to a chronic disease specialty. Now, I am currently a certified exercise physiologist and a member of CSEP. I work in the rehabilitation field with various specialty patients including those with osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and multiple sclerosis. I continue to seek out certifications and workshops that will help me further develop my knowledge and skill in improving healthy lifestyles for special populations. I want to thank all of my passionate professors who helped inspire me and focus my motivation through all 5 years at Waterloo.

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