How I Found My CORE

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<p>A young Cole Massie</p>

A young Cole Massie

Christopher Voelker @voelkerstudio

By Cole Massie

For people with disabilities, I have found that opportunities for personal health and physical fitness are unfortunately insufficient. Whether a person is recovering from a traumatic accident or was born with a disability such as cerebral palsy (like myself), we all need to maintain our personal health and physical fitness. While there are rehabilitation and physical therapy centers out there, there are great limits on how people with disabilities can use them. It is common practice to “graduate” a person out of physical therapy, even though their condition may be life-long. That leaves us to rely on regular gyms, which are completely unsuited for people who have very challenging neurological issues. Equipment is inaccessible and it can be inappropriate or dangerous to try to do various exercise or use machines without supervision. Because people live with different abilities, their needs are going to be different. And a health and wellness center must meet the needs of that specific individual. So where do we find such a unique location?

Enter C.O.R.E. (Center Of Restorative Exercise) C.O.R.E. is a gym unlike any other. They specialize in the exercise needs of people with disabling conditions or chronic illness. The trained kinesiologists work with all forms of ability, using specialized equipment adapted for wheelchair users and custom, individualized programming. Those with disabilities can finally access the appropriate tools to address their personal health and fitness goals. My disability is cerebral palsy. I deal with a lot of stiffness and sometimes painful, full-body spasms. Before C.O.R.E., I found no gym of any kind that could adequately adapt to my needs. I tried them all, physical therapy home programs, adapted PE at school, and many others. They were either too difficult to do on a regular basis or simply could not be adapted to meet my needs.

Then I found C.O.R.E. Even before arriving, I was required to fill out an extensive form detailing my medical history, small fitness goals, and overall fitness goals; as well as any conditions, limitations or allergies I had. I immediately felt very comfortable as I thought they had done an in-depth critical analysis of the whole. When I actually arrived in person, my restorative exercise specialist Brittney Barfield, spent even more time interviewing my family and me. Once she finished gathering information, she began to stretch me. I was nervous at first as this type of activity usually triggers spasms. But 15 minutes into my session I could tell something was very different. This time, the entire experience felt overwhelmingly pleasant and surprisingly free of pain or tension. I could tell I had found a place that was going to work for me!

How did we find out about such a fantastic gym you may ask?

A dearly departed friend and photographer of mine – legendary quadriplegic photographer, Christopher Voelker strongly recommended C.O.R.E. to me. Sadly, Chris passed before he could introduce me in person, but upon rolling into C.O.R.E. for the first time I saw one of his iconic photos of me hanging on the wall. Immediately I knew I was in the right place! Chris Voelker photography lives on - Follow @VoelkerStudio

It has been years since I have walked without pain or used my body in any meaningful way. I am extraordinarily tight in my lower extremities and after my initial session, I attempted to walk but collapsed with a spasm. Adjustments to my program were made and, after attending just once a week for six weeks, I can now stand and walk short distances…totally pain and spasm-free! It is the best feeling! I love C.O.R.E.’s attention to detail. They videotape you and carefully log progress so you can really see improvements. It is so motivating! I hope to be able to increase my weekly visits soon because for the first time in years, I’m starting to feel positive about moving again. Thank you C.O.R.E.!

To find out more information about this fantastic facility, please visit and follow @corecenters