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ground in exercise science. The Center’s director is Maggie Barr Martin, who is well known in the community for her seven-year affiliation with the previous fitness center.
“We are super excited about the Meadows Fitness Center reopening. Jay has a real heart for fitness, wellness and working within the community,” said Mike Hagan, Vice President of Operations at Meadows, whose responsibilities include ancillary and therapeutic services, including wellness. Hagan and Johnny Carroll, Vice President of Post Acute Care Services, have worked with Bailey to make the Center a reality.
Hagan noted, “We look forward to this facility being available for Meadows patients to use after care at our hospital and anticipate seeing our employees, physicians, and the public at large taking advantage of this opportunity to maintain health and fitness in a state-of-the-art facility.” He added that the new Center is a mutually beneficial relationship for Meadows Fitness Center, the Meadows hospital system, and the community as a whole.
Bailey and his team are actively working with several local companies to offer a payroll deduction for their employees to use the Center; and the Silver Sneakers program will return as an option for seniors.
The Center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and offers child care services; group fitness classes; a 25-meter, indoor, heated pool; an indoor walking track; a full range of exercise equipment; an infrared sauna; zero-gravity massage chairs; a coffee bar, and other amenities. “We have the full gamut from cardio equipment like treadmills, recumbent bikes, upright bikes, stair steppers, and ellipticals — but we also try to concentrate on non-impact cardio exercise, including equipment for people who have just had surgery and are less mobile,” Bailey said. He explained that the Center has a NuStep new recumbent stepper, or seated ellipitical, that is good for people with limited range of motion. “Our heated, indoor pool is only four feet deep at any point and is good for walking laps. Water creates bouyancy and takes weight off of joints, and water provides passive resistance which increases the heart rate, plus there is the therapeutic warmth,” Bailey said.
He added, “We also offer resistance training; weight bearing is good for the bones, and builds muscular strength which is critical to independence. The gym’s “selectorized” equipment alleviates moving pins in the weights and the necessity of having to have a spotter. Our machines are self-spotting.”
The Center layout organizes the equipment into sections based on the part of the body that is being targeted. “If someone comes in who is new to exercise and tells us they want to work on their legs, we guide them to a particular row and show them the specific equipment.” A personal trainer is on staff and can assist new members in determining which equipment will address their needs and how to exercise. Orientations are part of the membership package, but ongoing training requires a fee.
The Center can accommodate persons with certain limitations, such as those who are recovering from knee or hip replacements, spinal surgery, or from cardio-pulmonary procedures, for instance, and who have transitioned from physical therapy and can continue to improve and maintain their health at the Center.
“Continuum of care is important,” Bailey said. “The pandemic prevented a lot of people from exercising and having social interaction. Returning to a routine to correct and maintain muscular balance is essential to maintaining health,” he said. The social interaction the Center affords also promotes good mental health.
“One of the most common questions I get from new members is, ‘Where do I start?’ “ Bailey said. He explains that he tells people to “do the modality at your own pace” and not worry about keeping up with the rest of the class. “I do ask if someone is coming from physical therapy to see what they have been doing and can branch off that. I like to ask if they have limitations.”
Maggie Martin explained that the infrared sauna, which offers dry rather than steam heat, is particularly beneficial for lung function, releasing endorphins, burning calories and reducing fine lines and wrinkles. The infrared sauna is also recommended for chemotherapy patients because it helps with reducing toxins and alleviating nausea.
Because it is just reopening, the Center is not yet offering a full range of classes, but eventually Bailey expects body sculpting and zoom classes, pool therapy, yoga, and Pilates, among other activities to be added.
The Center provides free childcare at specific hours during mornings and evenings for children under 12. Children who are at least 12 can become members. The Center will be staffed from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m.; after 7 p.m., an electronic fob will allow members access to the exterior of the building.
Bailey, who graduated from Georgia Southern University with a master's degree in exercise science, began his professional career serving as an exercise therapist. He discovered his passion for helping, serving, and teaching others about health and wellness during this time. He transitioned into the wellness director and later owner of Fairview Fitness Center in Dublin. After 20 years in the fitness field, the opportunity arose for Bailey to purchase Meadows Fitness Center, and with the support and generosity of Meadows, he is now able to duplicate his communitybased approach to wellness management in Vidalia.
Bailey, 47, is the proud father of five children ranging in age from 6 to 18 years, with the youngest in kindergarten and the oldest attending college. Bailey’s children are his “lifeline,” and he is also dedicated to helping children “who are unable to stand up for themselves.” Bailey has a passion for helping foster children whose circumstances often bring about their separation from siblings, home, and school. Because of Bailey’s concern for these children, Meadows Fitness Center will support organizations like Families 4 Families (www.families-4families.cc), which assists those who are willing to become advocates for these children. Martin, who has a BA degree in elementary education, began her career in fitness as a swimming instructor. She served as wellness and fitness coordinator at the former Meadows Fitness Center. After that center closed during the pandemic, she taught at Jeff Davis County Schools from which she was recruited to join the new Center as Director.
For more information about Meadows Fitness Center, visit their Facebook page.