Program maximizes health with exercise

Amanda Crabtree Special to the Journal

July 26, 2014

LUMBERTON — Samuel Hemingway III, 28, of Lumberton, has lived with diabetes since he was 7 years old. The disease required him to take insulin shots multiple times each day and caused him to lose his eyesight.

Because of his participation in a new medical referral program for exercise, his medical conditions—which required him to take several different types of medications for heart failure, high blood pressure and kidney failure in addition to the insulin shots—have greatly improved as he has embarked on a new journey to better health.

Most of Hemingway’s medication requirements and any need for insulin stopped once he was three months into a six-month medical referral program through the Southeastern Lifestyle Center for Fitness in Lumberton.

He learned about the program through his primary care physician, Dr. Andrea Simmons, of Southeastern Medical Clinic North Lumberton. She was participating in a pilot program along with the center, to identify patients who could benefit from weight loss, get them enrolled in the program and monitor their results.

“Mr. Hemingway has made a miraculous, to say the least, change in his overall medical health since being referred to the Comprehensive Medical Program,” said Dr. Simmons.

She credits the success of the program and Hemingway’s personal success to three things: “vision of Southeastern Health to institute the program to improve the health of Robeson County; knowledge of the physicians in the community knowing to refer patients to this program; and the dedication of the patient to take the resources available to make a life-altering change.“

Hemingway began the program on March 5 and has lost 27 pounds to date. He is no longer facing the possibility of having to have dialysis for kidney failure.

“This has been a complete lifestyle change for me,” said Hemingway. “I complete a daily one-hour workout on the treadmill and lift weights twice each week with personal trainers through the program.”

According to Fitness Services Manager Mike Jimenez, the program is offered at both the Lumberton and Red Springs fitness centers. It is designed to promote positive lifestyle changes, is individualized to specific fitness goals, and is conducted in collaboration with primary care providers.

“The program offers one-on-one fitness consultations and 45-minute workout sessions with a qualified health and fitness specialist, lifestyle and disease management classes, as well as six-month member privileges at participating fitness centers which includes all group exercises,” said Jimenez.

The cost of the program is $30 per month. A referral from a provider is required. Patients who wish to file an insurance claim must do so independently.

“I have never felt this strong and healthy in my life,” said Hemingway. “I changed my eating habits and adjusted to a more fiber rich diet. The improvement in my kidney function and not having to go on dialysis has a lot to do with exercise.”

For information, call Southeastern Lifestyle Center for Fitness in Lumberton at 910-738-5433 or Southeastern Lifestyle Center of Red Springs at 910-843-9355.