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Q & A with Cindy Cope, director of the Chelsea Wellness Center

(Chelsea Update would like to thank Amy Heydlauff, executive director of for the Chelsea-Area Wellness Foundation for the information in this column.)

In February and March, Amy Heydlauff has been interviewing the directors of the four area Wellness Centers.

This interview is with Chelsea Wellness Center’s Director Cindy Cope.

Amy: Cindy, what is your role with the Wellness Centers?

Cindy: I am the senior director, so I am responsible for all four centers (Chelsea, Manchester, Stockbridge & Dexter). I’ve been the director in Chelsea for six years and will continue to have primary responsibility in Chelsea. I’ve worked at the Chelsea Wellness Center since it opened in 2001.

Amy: Tell us about the updates to the facility and the new equipment that was installed a few months ago.

Cindy: We are so excited about the improvements we’ve made, and we’ve received a very positive response from our members. In September, we completed a full fitness floor renovation, including new flooring (track, carpet and rubber flooring) and replacement of all of our strength training machines and free weights. The new weight machines are state-of-the-art and have more variety and adjustments to fit everyone’s needs. We also added several cable pieces and a Power Tower to provide members with increased options for their workouts.

Amy: I trust your members know what a Power Tower is. What is the very best thing is about the Chelsea Wellness Center?

Cindy: I’d have to say member loyalty. We have great customer satisfaction scores and unlike fitness centers, our members tend to stay longer. That’s probably because we’re not a ‘fitness’ center. Our members are here for a lot of reasons. Just a few of them include maintaining function as they age or using the center as a ‘date’ for younger couples. Some people count on our Wellness Center for health and wellness and socializing.  I think that’s why our group classes are so popular. We hold up to 75 group classes a week – yoga, spinning, line dancing, Pilates and more. We hold two classes a week just for residents from St. Louis Schools, since they have very specialized needs.

Amy: Angela Sergeant, the new director in Dexter, told me about the medical integration program in Dexter. Do we have that program in Chelsea?

Cindy: Yes. It started here. We have programs for people with diabetes, cancer, heart disease and for those with joint problems or who are recovering from joint surgery. You probably know Chelsea Community Hospital’s (CCH) outpatient physical therapy (PT) is in our building. Their physical therapists use our warm water therapy pool and fitness equipment for their patients. In fact, CCH PT patients can join the wellness center for a discounted rate for up to 3 months after they’re discharged from their therapy.

Amy: One last question. Do you have to be a member of the Chelsea Wellness Center to take advantage of all the services?

Cindy: No. We have yoga, meditation, aqua, Tai Chi, line dancing, Zumba and walking classes that are open to the public. There is a fee, of course. But the classes are taught by the same high quality instructors as classes only available to members. If people are interested they can speak to someone at our member service desk or call 214-0220.

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