Fitness buff with MS creates TRX suspension class at YMCA

Camaraderie makes class part-workout, part-support group
WEST CHESTER, Pa. (WPVI) -- Exercise isn't just a way to ward off disease, it can also help improve symptoms such as pain, fatigue or weakness from neurological disorders like Multiple Sclerosis, A-L-S, and Parkinson's Disease.

Research shows the activity helps them maintain their functions longer.

But finding the right exercise can be tough.

One local woman with M-S found what works for her, and it's now helping others as well.

Before Multiple Sclerosis, or M-S struck, Gina Dadazzio was always working out, running, and playing sports.

After she was diagnosed, she didn't know what to expect in the gym.

"Lifting weights, or standing up and lifting weights, you might lose your balance," says Gina.

She adds," There were other classes that I couldn't take - I would overheat too quickly, my body would shut down."

But when Gina tried TRX suspension training 5 years ago, something clicked.

Now, she teaches a TRX class specifically for M-S patients at the Greater Brandywine YMCA in West Chester.

Instead of being a challenge, handling the straps is a big help, according to Gina.

For people with leg weakness, the straps improve balance and stability, so they can build up leg strength.

"I was able to now do lunges and squats, which I would never have done before," says Gina.

And Josh Comolli says it's boosted his standing time.

"I still can't stand for extreme long periods of time, but I can stand much longer than I used to," Josh notes.

Gina says it's easy to modify TRX for each person's abilities.

"Exercises we could do seated, exercises we could do kneeling," says Gina.

She decreases the number of repetitions and sets, so students don't get over-tired, which can put M-S patients out of action for days.

For Josh, the benefits of TRX go beyond stronger muscles.

"It helps with energy during the day, and actually being able to turn off and rest at night," says Josh.

Gina says the camaraderie makes the class part workout, part support group.

The classes are offered on Saturday mornings at the West Chester branch of the Greater Brandywine Y-M-C-A.

Click here for location, hours, and schedules at the West Chester branch.
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