1. Your name, title, and age? What do you do (or did you do) for a living?
Gerry Prince, age 69, NuStep user and a member of The Commons of Evergreen, a community center for active living in Holland, Michigan. I’m a former sales professional and professional truck driver. More importantly, I’m married and have 4 children and 9 grandchildren.
Now, I fill my time working out at the Commons of Evergreen to keep me healthy and active for my family for years to come.
2. What inspired you to make fitness such an important part of your life?
In 2005, I had both knees replaced. And in 2007, a severe staph infection ravaged my body and forced me to have both knees removed. My doctors were surprised that I’d survived at all and told me I’d never walk again. Despite the odds being stacked against me, I told myself I wasn’t going to give up and I was determined to walk away from it stronger.
3. How did you embark on your recovery?
When the doctors told me that I would be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, it was a tough reality to swallow – frankly, I didn’t want to believe them. And now I’m glad I didn’t!
In 2009, I learned to drive a car with hand controls and began to go to The Commons of Evergreen, a fitness and community center in my hometown of Holland, Michigan. With the support of the Evergreen staff, my family and my faith in God, I embarked on my recovery and journey to restore my active life once again.
3. How has exercise and maintaining an active lifestyle helped your recovery?
Following the staph infection, I was confined to a wheelchair and was unable to move my legs. I needed to first build strength in my upper body in order to eventually begin rehabbing my lower body.
At Evergreen, I came across a NuStep recumbent cross-trainer machine that provided an upper-body workout while simultaneously generating low-impact leg movements. This machine enabled me to completely isolate my arms, chest and shoulders and use the strength of my upper body to activate my legs. After working out on the NuStep for 7 months, my upper body was much stronger, and to my surprise, so were my legs.
Shortly thereafter, I went to see my doctor for a check-up and reminded him that he told me I would never walk again. After he looked at my chart, I moved my legs in a bicycle motion. I’ll never forget the look on his face – his mouth dropped completely open and he said, “That doesn’t normally happen!” As a result of the rehabilitation of my legs, in 2010, my doctor recommended that now it was ‘worth it’ to have two new knees again.
Through continued use of the NuStep, the support of my friends and family at the Commons and the power of prayer, I’m now able to walk using a walker.
4. How did exercise change your life?
When I was in a wheelchair, I had limited mobility and I was dependent upon others. Because of exercise, I eventually graduated from the confines of a wheelchair and onto a walker, which restored independence and more importantly, confidence, in my life. I’m inspired to continue my exercise regimen so that one day I can get around without the assistance of a walker.
6. What would be your main message to seniors that face similar limitations?
No matter your age or physical ability level, it’s never too late to make a commitment to exercise. At the age of 63, I was told I would never walk again, but I didn’t let that to stop me. I’m a firm believer that maintaining health and wellness provides the physical and emotional benefits for a long and happy life. Small lifestyle changes can go a long way. You have the power to take control of your life with exercise, and it should start now. And never give up!
7. Do you have a web site you would like to promote….web address only?