Start, a lifestyle-changing fitness program at the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine, currently is enrolling adults over age 40 for its summer session. Beginning July 18, sports medicine professionals will guide participants through fitness and education sessions twice weekly for three months, preparing them to run or walk the 5K portion of the Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race on Sept. 27.

The program's comprehensive exercise routines, which focus on improving flexibility, aerobics, strength training and balance, were designed by Ron DeAngelo, M.Ed., A.T.C., C.S.C.S., director of UPMC Sports Performance. The Start program is part of UPMC Sports Medicine's Performance and Research Initiative for Masters Athletes (PRIMA), directed by UPMC orthopaedic surgeon Vonda Wright, M.D. The initiative also offers sports performance services to highly active adults and elite athletes over age 40.

Orientation for Start is at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, July 18, at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex, 3200 S. Water St., South Side. Most regular sessions will take place at the indoor training facility at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex for three months thereafter from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and from 8:30 to 10 a.m. on Saturdays. The cost for this three-month program is $300 for newcomers and $150 for returning participants. Register now as space is limited.

"The goal of Start is to help people over age 40 incorporate realistic and comprehensive fitness routines into their daily lives, so that they can get moving and remain active after the program is over," said Dr. Wright, who also is an assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

The Start program, using UPMC Sports Medicine resources, directs participants through age-appropriate fitness training, wellness education, medical evaluations and mental coaching. Participants progress through the program with a group of their peers, ultimately acquiring the skills needed to continue working toward lifelong physical fitness.

UPMC Sports Medicine

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