For the first time in almost five decades, Ron Greif can walk without the assistance of a wheelchair or crutches. His advice to the world: "Don't underestimate a person with a disability."
Born with cerebral palsy and minimal use of his legs, Greif, 57, had not walked unassisted since he was a boy. At the age of seven, he began using modified crutches and transitioned to a wheelchair at the age of 45 as his weight increased. Greif said he began to wonder if he would ever regain enough strength in his legs to walk again. Although his wife, Sue, and his loyal service dog, Cello, were always by his side to make life easier, Greif knew he needed to make a lifestyle change to improve his health.
Two years ago, Greif's wife recommended that they both join Sola Life and Fitness, Beaumont Health System's medically based fitness center in Rochester Hills. After becoming a member, Greif began working with Ryanne Moroschan, one of the club's highly educated medical fitness experts, to develop a custom exercise program to help him regain strength, stamina and mobility, lose weight and decrease cholesterol.
As part of the aquatics portion of his exercise routine, Greif practices stretching and strength-building exercises in Sola's warm-water therapy pool. Earlier this year, he entered the therapy pool as he typically does during his weekly sessions and began to walk, and kept walking; eventually, he traversed the length of the pool. For the first time in nearly 50 years, Grief had walked unassisted and began writing a new chapter in his personal success story.
"When I started at Sola, my goal was simply to improve my health," said Greif. "I never thought I would be able to walk from one end of the pool to the other. With a lot of hard work, and personal attention and guidance of the Sola team, I've exceeded my own expectations. This really has been an amazing process, but my journey is just beginning."
Moroschan tracks Greif's strength, motor function, body mass index and fat levels as part of his ongoing fitness regimen, and his progress continues to attract the attention of staff and members alike.
In addition to walking again, Greif has lost more than 50 pounds, decreased his cholesterol by 30 points and shown marked improvement in aerobic capacity and flexibility. His workout routines consist of alternating aqua and strength-training sessions that use dumbbells and medicine and stability balls to improve muscle function and endurance.
"Ryanne really went above and beyond to help me get to where I am today; we couldn't be more thankful for all she's done and to have her in our lives" said Greif. "I'm truly blessed to have such a great family and support system at Sola. I'm continuing to gain strength, and I believe that I will shed my wheelchair in the future. I look forward to the day that I walk the track at Sola."
About Sola Life and Fitness:
Sola Life and Fitness integrates the amenities and expertise of a state-of-the-art fitness center with the medical resources of Beaumont Health System and the holistic concepts of mind, body and spirit. The result is a new life and fitness center dedicated to personalized five-star service guiding members on an individualized path to optimal health and life balance. Sola Life and Fitness offers personal trainers, exercise specialists and dieticians to work with members to evaluate fitness levels, create a personal exercise and nutrition program, and provide the support and tracking needed to reach health and fitness goals. For more information, visit SolaFitness.com.