‘Health care starts with self care’

At this Easthampton chiropractor’s gym — where the average client is over 60 — routines incorporate mobility and strength-based movements so clients can keep swinging racquets and shoveling snow 

  • Pat Coon of Florence and Jerry Vautrain of Easthampton exercise early Monday morning at Strength For Life Fitness Center in Eastworks. Arnould personally designs fitness plans to meet the physical needs of each client. Staff Photo/Andy Castillo

  • Arnould, who opened his gym in 2007, exercises daily and placed first in last year’s Massachusetts Senior Games for the javelin throw. He says he’d never thrown a javelin before beginning to train for the games on machines like the one shown here. Staff Photo/Andy Castillo

  • Arnould estimates the average age of those who work out at the gym is 67 years old. Many of them are also his chiropractic clients and came to him for help with some sort of physical ailment like an old injury or chronic pain. “I don’t even think of doing chiropractic without doing exercises,” he says. Staff Photo/Andy Castillo—

  • Josef Arnould, 72, demonstrates an exercise called ‘the clock,’ which involves moving light dumbells in the motion of clock hands in order to loosen and strengthen the muscles around the rotator cuff.  Staff Photo/Andy Castillo—

  • In his teaching, Arnould instructs clients slowly. He starts with one basic exercise routine — usually incorporating mobility and strength-based movements — and then builds from there.  Staff Photo/Andy Castillo—

  • “I always said I’d have a fitness facility as part of my practice,” says Arnould. “If all you do is improve the flexibility of the joints, but you don’t do anything for the muscle, you’re only doing a 10th of what you need to accomplish.”   Staff Photo/Andy Castillo—

  • “The goal is to enable all of us to do the physical things we have to do — like raking leaves or shoveling snow — and want to do, as well as possible, for as long in life as possible, and without injury,” Arnould says. Staff Photo/Andy Castillo—

  • Strength For Life Staff Photo/Andy Castillo—

  • Staff Photo/Andy Castillo—

@AndyCCastillo
Published: 3/25/2019 5:24:50 PM

Every morning, Josef Arnould awakens before 6 a.m. and eats two tablespoons of sauerkraut washed down with a glass of cold bone broth. Then he opens his gym and exercises with the early morning crowd until 8.

A chiropractor who opened his first clinic in Northampton in 1984, Arnould moved to Easthampton in 2007 and opened Strength For Life Fitness Center adjacent to his office at Eastworks so that he could address his clients’ needs from multiple directions.

Combining fitness and chiropractic care “was natural. In my mind, I always said I’d have a fitness facility as part of my practice,” he says. “If all you do is improve the flexibility of the joints, but you don’t do anything for the muscle, you’re only doing a 10th of what you need to accomplish.”

He estimates the average age of those who work out at the gym is 67 years old. Many of them are also his chiropractic clients and came to him for help with some sort of physical ailment like an old injury or chronic pain. “I don’t even think of doing chiropractic without doing exercises,” he says.

Before joining the gym about five years ago, Nancy Kiernan-Campbell, 64, of Southampton, who is an avid golfer, said she could barely make it through a round of play before she was too tired to continue.

“Even taking a cart to nine holes, I was exhausted,” she says, pausing from her morning workout and looking up from a detailed exercise log she marks as she goes along. When Kiernan-Campbell first started coming to the gym, Arnould designed her a personal fitness plan that incorporated strength and flexibility exercises targeted at helping her play golf — such as simulated cable golf swings and torso twists. Now, she says she can walk from one end of the golf course to the other for a full 18 holes.

“This has been a lifesaver,” she says. Besides rejuvenating her energy stores, Kiernan-Campbell says the exercises have improved her golf game by “helping me to swing the club more smoothly.”

At another exercise machine nearby, Jane Curran, 78, of Easthampton, says many of her exercises are designed to help her continue to play tennis. She began coming to Arnould’s gym about 9 years ago after one of her knees “decided it didn’t want to run anymore,” she says.

In his teaching, Arnould instructs clients slowly. He starts with one basic exercise routine — usually incorporating mobility and strength-based movements — and then builds from there. He demonstrates one exercise he designed called ‘the clock,’ which involves moving light dumbells in the motion of clock hands in order to loosen and strengthen the muscles around the rotator cuff. 

“The goal is to enable all of us to do the physical things we have to do — like raking leaves or shoveling snow — and want to do, as well as possible, for as long in life as possible, and without injury,” he says.

At 72, Arnould is the picture of good health. He exercises 7 days each week and published a nutrition book “American Diet Revolution! The Strength for Life® Guide to the Foods We Must and Must Not Eat To Be Leaner and Stronger in the 21st Century,” in February.  

“Health care starts with self-care. Exercise is one way we can practice self-care. Eating nutritiously is another way,” he explains.

Arnould grew up in Davenport, Iowa — the birthplace of chiropractic care, he says. Growing up, there was a chiropractor clinic “on every corner. I just thought it was a crowded profession,” he says. After high school, he attended Princeton University and Framingham State University, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English and Language Arts respectively. After, he returned to his hometown and went to the Palmer College of Chiropractic.

At the end of every workout, he tells his clients to do a few minutes of neck strengthening exercises — an important movement for those who are getting older, he says. For people over 50, the number one cause of accidental death is falling, he says. The neck plays an important role in balance.

“If we get a stiff neck, it diminishes your equilibrium, and makes you more vulnerable to falls,” he says.

Andy Castillo can be reached at acastillo@gazettenet.com.

How to connect

Strength For Life Fitness Center can be found beside the chiropractic clinic inside the Eastworks building at 116 Pleasant St. in Easthampton. Strength For Life also hosts periodic nutritional workshops. In addition to the exercise machines, group fitness classes are led by Amy Dawn Kotel-Swift, assistant director, who is a personal fitness trainer and is certified to teach K-12 dance, active older adult fitness, group exercise, Pilates, Barre fitness, and TRX. The gym is open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, and 7 a.m. to noon on Sundays. For more information, visit strengthforlife.com




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