Member Stories and Testimonials
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Lucy Arnesen…The Marsh has changed my life!
Tom Bogaert, motivated to keep dancing
Cynthia Entzel, living with Parkinson’s
Carole Leomporra, making The Marsh my second home
Dale Woodbeck, Longtime Marsh member
Deb Jones, A Biometrics Success Story
Laura Sparks…Weight Loss and So Much More
Sally Anderson, A member living with multiple sclerosis
Lucy Arnesen…The Marsh has changed my life!Nov 23, 2011
"The Marsh has changed my life," says Lucy Arnesen, an ESL Teacher in the Hopkins School District. "This place has given me new energy, less joint pain and a lifelong commitment to exercise." It all started two years ago. Lucy had undergone a significant life change and wanted to do something for herself. While she was familiar and intrigued with The Marsh, as a non-exerciser she was hesitant to give it a try. Then she heard about 12 Days of Fitness. It was perfect," she said, "non-threatening, non-committal and I could try lots of different things." She signed up immediately and started coming to classes, which she found to be welcoming, fun and nurturing.
Using her 12 Days of Fitness passport to explore what we had to offer, Lucy lifted weights for the first time in her life during a Body Pump class and became acquainted with yoga. Now, two years later, she continues to be a regular in both classes, not to mention an ambassador for wellness. She often invites friends to join her here, and has become a member of the Wellness Committee in the Hopkins School District. "I am completely inspired by the people I see here… people of all ages and abilities doing classes. It’s motivating and non-judgmental and I am happy to be part of it."
Tom Bogaert, motivated to keep dancingSep 25, 2011
Tom Bogaert was running on our track when he first became intrigued with the idea of dance as exercise. As he circled the track, he was drawn to the energy and movement of the Nia class underway in the room below. He decided to give it a try.
That was four years ago. This 53-year-old mechanical engineer has been a regular in Jill Goux's Nia classes at The Marsh ever since. And, he was one of the first in line for the Super Saturday Dance Party in January, which prompted him to add BodyJam and, when possible, Zumba to his dance regimen.
So what motivates Tom to keep dancing? Mostly, he said, he just enjoys it. Then he identified some specific benefits he has experienced.
- Increased Energy: "When I first started doing Nia it gave me a rush of energy. And continuing it has allowed be to hang onto that energy."
- Mental Engagement: "It is a totally different way of using my brain. When I run, my mind wanders and I'm thinking about all the things I need to do. When I dance, I'm focused on learning the moves and keeping the rhythm, so it's an escape. It's a body and mind workout all in one."
- Balance: "I know my balance has improved and I notice it in simple and mundane tasks. I don’t have to hang onto something to stand on one foot when I put on my socks."
- Coordination: "I can feel that I am more coordinated. Starting BodyJam would have been
a lot harder without the experience with Nia." You might say that the windows from our running track opened the door to a new kind of exercise program for Tom. He's found his fit, and discovered that exercise can be fun.
Cynthia Entzel, living with Parkinson’sSep 23, 2011
"The Marsh gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning," says member Cynthia Entzel. For someone living with Parkinson's Disease, that's huge.
Cynthia was only 34 years old when she was diagnosed with Parkinson's. Now, 16 years later, she is an expert on how to manage this progressive, degenerative disease for which there is no known cause and no known cure. "The two most important things you need to do are exercise and stay social," she says. She is able to do both in spades at The Marsh.
Like all people with Parkinson's, Cynthia never really knows from one minute to the next what her body is going to be willing to do. Therefore, she appreciates the variety of exercise options available to her at The Marsh. Some days she is just happy to stretch in the warm water pool. Other days she prefers a forced exercise like walking on the treadmill. She recently started participating in our Nia and Zumba classes, and is very proud of the fact that she managed to jump on the tramps in Cardio Bounce.
But the value of The Marsh goes far beyond the exercise environment, she explained. "It is easy to become a recluse when you have this disease. It affects speech, movement, everything. You can't hide it, so it is easy to want to hide yourself. When I come to The Marsh, I not only exercise, I connect with other people. It's good for me and it makes me feel better," she said.
Carole Leomporra, making The Marsh my second homeSep 22, 2011
Everyone is familiar with the proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child." But few people have lived its meaning truer than Marsh member Carole Leomporra. In addition to raising two successful daughters, she has given generously of her time and talents to support children and families in myriad ways, ranging from volunteer leadership in her local school district to international service with Cross Cultural Solutions. Now it's Carole's turn for the village to support her.
After a brave battle with cancer, her husband of 40 years and much-loved Marsh member Dominic "Leo" Leomporra passed away last fall. "This is a very hard part of my life, but I am committed to grieving and healing in a healthy way. I can only do this by making The Marsh my second home," says Carole.
In October, she began training with Exercise Specialist Candy Swanson. In April, she began Biometrics, a weight loss program, but it means so much more for Carole. "Although I haven't yet reached my goal weight, the fact that I come regularly, along with the strength and support I get from the amazing staff, is having a huge impact. With each day that passes, I can focus more on my health and being fit."
Carole also takes advantage of many other resources at The Marsh, including regular massages, yoga classes where she has learned helpful new breathing techniques and down time in the restaurant, reading the paper or enjoying dinner with a friend. She tells us, "The Marsh is good for my soul...it is a tender and gentle place for my healing."
Dale Woodbeck, Longtime Marsh memberSep 21, 2011
Longtime Marsh member, triathlete and local businessman Dale Woodbeck knows that in order to stay fit, it is important to both listen to your body and respond to what it needs. Here's why he feels The Marsh is the place to make it happen!
Our quiet environment allows me to concentrate while exercising so that I can pay attention to what my body needs.
For three years, I have worked regularly with Marsh Exercise Specialist Ryan Ford who understands the art and science of training high level amateur athletes. Ryan ensures that I don't get in a rut by regularly adjusting my exercise routines and focusing on good racing techniques that keep me injury free.
Massages in the spa have become a regular part of my exercise regimen. It helps with recovery after a race and with injury prevention. I was a little uncomfortable with the idea of massage at first. Now I encourage guys to just get past that. You only have to get one massage to see the value.
You will often see Dale swimming laps in the pool, exercising in the Training Center or cycling on the trails around The Marsh, perhaps on his way to work as General Manager of Lakewinds Natural Foods Co-op.
Deb Jones, A Biometrics Success StorySep 20, 2011
In February, Deb Jones went online to look for a personal trainer. What she found was a weight loss program that has changed the course of her life, and a community of health conscious, motivating and knowledgeable people to keep her moving down the right path.
When visiting our website, Deb's attention was drawn to the integrated approach of our One-on-One Biometrics weight loss program and she decided to give it a try. Biometrics includes personal training, a meal plan and nutritional counseling and health assessments that go way beyond measuring inches and pounds, all wrapped into a six-week program.
"This time, my primary goal was not to 'lose weight' but rather, to get healthy and to learn how to stay healthy going forward," she said. At the end of six weeks, Deb had lost 9 pounds and 18 inches, increased her body strength by over 100%, improved her VO2 by 30% and reduced her total cholesterol by 41%, plus, she is no longer considered pre-diabetic. "The encouragement and knowledge of dietitian Kim Plessel, the skill and motivation of exercise specialist Peter Elsham, the opportunity to try out a variety of studio classes, the warmth and welcoming attitude of your members, all combined with the environment of The Marsh, were key to my initial and now ongoing success," she said.
In June, Deb decided to become a Marsh member, noting, "I'm choosing to continue to take active steps to improve the quality of my life today and down the road."
Laura Sparks…Weight Loss and So Much MoreSep 19, 2011
When Laura Sparks started her wellness journey in 2009, she had a simple motivation: lose weight. With the support of the Marsh team, she accomplished that and so much more.
"Laura put her trust in all the support staff and services The Marsh has to offer. She took ownership of her health and has completely transformed herself," shared Exercise Specialist Kevin Conrad.
Laura got off to a great start when she enrolled in One-on-One Biometrics, our signature weight loss program. The support and education provided by Kevin and our dietitian, Kim Plessel, inspired her to take charge of her health far beyond the six-week program.
Physically, she lost 23 pounds of body fat, improved her cardiovascular fitness score by 20% and dropped four pant sizes. Beyond that, she has far more energy and has reduced her anti-depression medication.
"Getting in shape and becoming stronger on the outside has made me feel stronger on the inside. I'm truly the happiest I've ever been in my life. This really is an exciting time and doors just keep opening."
Sally Anderson, A member living with multiple sclerosisSep 06, 2011
Sally Anderson can’t wait to go to the doctor. She’s not scheduled to see her neurologist until October and she is bursting to share some good news. You see, Sally, who has been living with multiple sclerosis (MS) for 37 years, has seen her ability to walk steadily decline. For the past 20 years, she has relied on a walker and a cane. But since she discovered The Marsh this spring, things have changed.
Her strength, stamina and confidence have all escalated, and her walking is visibly better. These days, Sally is walking for exercise without a cane or walker, using Nordic Walking poles instead—something she never would have dreamt possible a few months ago. “I’ve never really exercised or belonged to a health club, and I just didn’t think with my MS that I would be able to do anything,” she said. But after coming to The Marsh and working with exercise specialist Candy Swanson, Sally has a whole new outlook on what is possible.
In addition to training with Candy, Sally works independently in our warm water Therapy Pool and is just beginning to work with acupuncturist Kent Marsh to address some swelling in one of her legs. “He is so reassuring and calming and I’ve already seen some marvelous results,” she said. “I love this place. I feel physically good when I leave here and I can’t wait to come back again.”