At 48 years old, Richard Witthaus knew that he’d put on some weight
but, other than that, he considered himself fairly healthy. He didn’t
smoke, enjoyed the vigorous pursuit of bow hunting, worked hard, and enjoyed life.
One evening, Richard began to feel some discomfort in his chest. He tried
to pass it off as heartburn or indigestion, but when it didn’t resolve
itself, he and his wife decided to visit the emergency department at Frederick
Imaging tests and bloodwork revealed that Richard’s left anterior
descending artery was 90% blocked. That discomfort Richard was experiencing
was not indigestion. Richard was having a heart attack.
Within 15 hours, he was in the cardiac catheterization lab at FMH, where
Dr. Chao-Wei Hwang implanted a stent in Richard’s artery to resume
normal blood flow to his heart. Dr. Hwang threaded the catheter through
an artery in Richard’s arm to reach the blockage, using a technique known as
This minimally-invasive approach meant that Richard’s healing time
was drastically reduced. Richard says that before he knew it, he was on
his feet and on his way to cardiac rehab.
By the time he finished his 12 weeks of cardiac rehab, Richard had dropped
almost 45 pounds through diet and exercise. Given the progress he had
made, his cardiac rehab nurse suggested he continue the good work he’d
started by joining ProMotion Fitness+ at FMH Crestwood.
ProMotion Fitness+ is a gym that is open to anyone in the community. Members
must simply get clearance from their physician to participate in an exercise
program and pay the monthly membership fee. “I had gotten used to
having a place to go for exercise, so I thought, ‘I’m going
to go and see what this is all about,’” Richard recalled.
Richard was very impressed by the fully equipped gym, which offers cardio
and weight training equipment, and yoga and Pilates classes. But he admits
he was particularly attracted to the idea that the facility is staffed
by medical personnel, including nurses and certified exercise physiologists.
“Once you’ve had a heart attack, you live with a little bit
of it in the back of your head all the time,” he said. He liked
the idea of knowing that he could have his blood pressure taken before
and after his workouts and ask questions of the qualified medical professionals
if he had concerns. “It’s very comforting,” he said.
More than that, Richard liked the atmosphere. No blaring music and, in
his words, “no people prancing around trying to be seen.”
It was a different kind of gym.
Every machine has earplug ports so that patients can listen to their music
or the TVs privately. For those who enjoy the social aspects of exercise,
there are plenty of friendships formed among members, especially among
those who have come to ProMotion Fitness+ following a major medical event
and who find support in sharing their experiences with others who’ve
traveled the same path.
One minute Richard is helping another member get her earbuds to work properly
and the next minute, he’s chatting with one of the staff members
about her new puppy. “I can’t speak highly enough about the
people here,” he said. “They always greet you when you come
in and they address you by your name. They take time with you. The care
and professionalism they have is so impressive,” he said.
In the 15 months since his heart attack, Richard has now dropped more than
100 pounds and has been able to significantly reduce the number and amount
of medications he takes. “It is well worth the money to be a member
here. There are so many benefits at your disposal,” he said. “I
feel so fortunate that I have a place like this to go to.”
To learn more about ProMotion Fitness+ and their medically monitored exercise
click here or call 240-215-1470.