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Members Only at Lawrence Hospital Cardiac Rehab

BRONXVILLE, NY – The gym in the basement of Lawrence Hospital has trainers, treadmills and music playing to motivate those exercising.

It’s a top-level club and entry is exclusive. You need a doctor's recommendation to workout at this club.

The Cardiac Rehabilitation Center provides medically-supervised exercise and education programs.

Tony Longo, 73, of Bronxville is a member. Longo was shoveling snow when he started having chest pains. He was sent to White Plains Hospital, where he underwent emergency cardiac surgery to install four cardiac stents.

After recovering from his surgery, Longo signed up for rehab close to home at Lawrence Hospital.

"I come about three times a week for an hour each time and work on five different machines," Longo said who wears a heart monitor while he is working out.

But for Longo, it's not only about the proximity to home or the great workout.

"I have gotten to know lots of people here and that makes the workout even better," he said.

Kelly Spodnik, an exercise physiologist who runs the rehab center, said she helps design programs for the members that will strengthen their hearts after a medical issue sidelined them. The progress of each member is overseen by a doctor.

"Most of the people we get are here three times a week for eight or nine weeks for a total of 36 sessions," she said. "Those patients wear monitors that are watched by staffers to make sure they are not experiencing any stress on the heart while working out. "

Spodnik said the members also get advice and tips on eating healthy.

Mike Belsole, 62 of Mount Vernon had three stents implanted in 2007.

"I said to my doctor, ‘I guess this is what age is like,’ and he said, ‘no this is what excess fat is like,’" Belsole said.

Belsole weighed 326 pounds at the time and dramatically changed his life after the stents were put into place.

"I had gastric bypass surgery, lost the weight and kept it off," he said. Belsole also took up running and goes on 10 mile jaunts a couple of times a week..

Spodnik said once members start coming to the rehab and make some friends they don't want to stop coming.

"Many of these folks, especially the women, are from another generation, where they never dreamed of exercising," Spodnik said. "They support one another in their efforts to be healthy and socialize as well.

The hospital has since created a membership for those who don't want to stop coming, even after their medical need is over.

"Now these folks can pay $75 per month and come and work out with their friends whenever they want."

Do you work out? Tell us about your workout on Facebook at The Daily Eastchester or The Daily Bronxville.

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