Russell Medical aquatic classes promote a gravity neutral environment to remove impact from weight bearing joints.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created fear in a variety of facets, fitness being one of them; however, we know that good health is definitely a weapon when fighting any illness. Individuals who maintain healthy nutrition choices and keep physical activity as a priority battle strong against this virus and many other diseases.

According to an article in USA Today and my favorite co-sponsor, the American College of Sports Medicine, physical activity builds a healthier immune system. COVID-19’s negative health outcomes are directly impacted by a person’s level of fitness. NiCole Keith, president of ACSM, references this in the article. So yes, wear your mask, practice social distancing, use hand sanitizer, but don’t let any illness affect the decision to exercise. God made us to move

Enjoy a neighborhood walk or run, a stroll in a state park, embark on a home exercise program or even exercise in your favorite fitness facility. That’s where Russell Medical can help.

Total Fitness at Russell Medical provides a state-of-the-art medical exercise facility in the heart of Alexander City. Total Fitness opened 16 years ago. I will always remember this because my son was 6 months old when I became part of the RM family. I was immediately impressed by the well-equipped facility located within a 20-minute drive from my home in Cowpens, USA. I had previously worked at Auburn University, Uniroyal Corporate Fitness Center in Auburn and Rehab Associates of Montgomery, but Russell Medical was soon to be my forever home.

My passion for fitness began my freshman year at Central Alabama Community College. I knew corporate and community wellness was my calling. I began teaching aerobics at the age of 18, and now at age 44, I continue to teach group exercise classes and train clients individually while managing the fitness department, and I love every minute.

Total Fitness was designed to provide an extensive range of services to help improve quality of life. Total Fitness specializes in creating exercise prescriptions for a multitude of chronic diseases, such as arthritis and heart disease, but we also provide memberships for all individuals 15 years of age and older. It is a public facility, and anyone can join.

We offer specialized programs such as Operation FitKids, designed by the American Council of Exercise for fifthand sixth graders. We are an authorized American Red Cross provider and offer Learn To Swim courses that range from parent/child aquatics to adult swim lessons to basic water rescue. We follow guidelines provided by ACSM, CDC and AHA. We have six personal trainers, and we offer land and water group exercise classes. We train both on land and in water with our clients. RM would like to supply you with all of your rehab and fitness needs. 

We house six disciplines: fitness, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech, sports medicine, cardiac and pulmonary rehab. These groups create a team of professionals that are at your service for life. In fact, Russell Medical’s physical therapy services now provide dry needling, a technique used for the treatment of pain and movement impairments. Dry needling is a part of modern Western medicine principles and supported by research.

The technique uses a dry needle inserted through the skin into areas of spasm or trigger points in a muscle to release or inactivate the point of pain. The trigger points are tender and painful and limit movement, which leads to impaired activity and chronic severe pain. This is a new addition to our services, which already include lymphodema treatments and comprehensive services to all orthopedic needs.

Our TCU with inpatient services should not go unnoticed. It is an amazing service to assist with post-surgery care. All therapies are covered by insurance except fitness; however, now your insurance may even cover your gym membership. 

Russell Medical is proud to announce that we have partnered with Tivity Health to offer memberships through the Silver Sneakers Program. Silver Sneakers is the nation’s leading exercise program designed exclusively for older adults. Program members can enjoy all the perks of a standard gym membership free of charge. Here are the steps to take advantage of this amazing opportunity:

• Verify with your insurance that they provide Silver Sneakers approved insurance plans.

• Visit

• Obtain a Silver Sneakers card with your own individual 16-digit verification number.

• Call Total Fitness at 256-329-7623 to set up an appointment for an initial health assessment. Please state that you are an SS program member.

• Bring your card with you to the assessment for verification and the documentation process.

• Exercise with us 8 times per month.

• Enjoy your endless wellness plan.

Improve your quality of life. Free.

It is important to note that RM is your community leader in aquatic exercise. Aquatic exercise may improve endurance, strength, flexibility and balance while utilizing the properties of water and physiologic effects of immersion to exercise with less pain and more mobility. Our aquatic classes promote a gravity neutral environment to remove impact from weight bearing joints.

Intensity varies, and we design classes for all fitness levels. From Aqua Zumba to our Arthritis Foundation classes, we have something for anyone to enjoy and reap the benefits.

The properties of water include buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure, water surface tension and resistance. These characteristics create an environment with spine support and potential for muscle strengthening. Possible benefits include, but are not limited to, an increase in metabolism, increase in mobility, weight loss, decrease in muscle spasms, decrease in edema and decrease in chronic and acute pain. It also is a wonderful option for cross-training. 

During the month of September – and especially during National Rehabilitation Awareness Week, Sept. 13-19, 2020 – we celebrate the rehabilitation professionals that all work together to make a difference in the lives of others. Rehab and fitness can be life-changing. They can benefit a person physically, mentally and spiritually.

Whether people are undergoing inpatient care following major surgery or attend therapy once a week to correct minor issues, rehab is there to guide them to recovery.

Continue your wellness journey and step next door to our fitness arena. Enjoy the same atmosphere, same staff, same safety and same care as you graduate from therapy. 

Overall, there’s something for everyone. We work together with our community to meet everyone’s fitness goals and design plans that are appropriate and safe for each individual. So come join our corner of the world on the ground floor of the POB. Forget your fears and face your fitness. 

~ Cara Tidwell is Fitness and Wellness Coordinator at Russell Medical.