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Exercise IS Medicine During the Holiday Season

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Mike AlpertMike Alpert

The Christmas Holiday Season is my very favorite time of the year. It is a time that I find myself reflecting on all the things that I have to be thankful for. One thing is for being able to be in the greatest country in the world, the United States of America and the freedom that we are so lucky to have. I also realize how lucky I am to work in the health and wellness industry and what it has meant to me over the past 27 years. What other industry allows you to have such an impact on people and their quality of life on a daily basis?

The journey has taken me from being a stock broker to helping develop and run a club in Central Oregon; back home to Southern California; and eventually to Claremont, California and The Claremont Club where I get to work with the finest people in the world. What makes me so proud of them is seeing their dedication, commitment and passion for making a difference in people's lives everyday I come to work. At our club, it is about more than marketing to and serving the fit population. It is doing that and also making our club inclusive and welcoming to all populations, and especially, those who suffer with chronic injuries and illnesses.

As we are out holiday shopping for gifts and getting our homes ready for guests who will visit and parties that we will have for friends and family, I continue to think of the many people in our community who will struggle to have any of these things, those who are homeless and others who are strapped financially due to injury or illness. Then, there are the children who are in our Pediatric & Young Adult Cancer program and what parents and families must be going through. These issues are prevalent in every state and every city in our country. As an industry, we can use our venues and great staff to do something about it. It is the season of giving and giving back to your community.

I want to share a story about a beautiful 17-year-old girl by the name of Nadia. She was born in Syria, and as her family was attempting to escape the warzone when she was 12, she was shot by a sniper and paralyzed from the waist down. Her family spent three years in a refugee camp in Jordan and were finally able to find their way to America. She eventually settled in Pomona, California, not too far from The Claremont Club. I met her about nine months ago in my office with her father and brother, and she held my hands and told me that she wanted to come to our club and enter our spinal cord/paralysis program. Seeing her progress has given me hope and gratitude and a sense of great pride.

This past year, I have witnessed so many miracles, generosity and the gift of hope to so many. Having these programs in our club has been a gift to those who struggle and have been forgotten about but also a gift to the community at large. Here are some things to think about:

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