NeuroFit Gym adds adaptive rowing program for those with neurological disorders

NeuroFit Gym is now able to start an adaptive rowing program thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

Owners and physical therapists Colleen Schuster and Amy Bertram say the quality of life grant they sought allowed them to purchase six adaptive rowing machines, which they have already purchased, and will allow them to purchase two additional NuStep recumbent machines and install an electronic door opener for the gym to make the facility handicap accessible.

The adaptive rowing program will allow individuals with neurological disorders, such as spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease, to exercise through rowing, said Schuster.

NeuroFit has a variety of cardio equipment and classes for the community-based facility for people with neurological disorders. It is on Tonya Trail at the border of Hamilton and Fairfield Twp.

The gym, which opened in 2019 and gained non-profit status in 2020, allows people to exercise and improve their quality of life as they work to regain function. This is done with classes or individual sessions, as they have cardio and boxing equipment, the adaptive rowing class, yoga, and strength training.

“We kind of do everything possible to focus on people who have neurological disorders,” Bertram said.

The new rowing machines ―which can adapt for people ranging from those who need a supported low back to those who are paraplegic ― are just another tool at the gym to help keep people with neurological disorders functioning.

“It’s very important to improve their quality of life and to keep them functioning and moving because if they don’t keep moving daily, then they will just get atrophy or their heart’s function will decrease,” Bertram said. “It’s very important for them to keep moving.”

The grant NeuroFit Gym received was one of 50 grants of various amounts issued by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation National Paralysis Resource Center 2023 1st Cycle Direct Effect Quality of Life grants. The gym’s grant was the maximum they could have been awarded, according to the Reeve Foundation, as the Direct Effect Quality of Life grants are intended to support a range of projects and activities that would impact individuals living with paralysis and their families.

“Each of these awards brings forth a celebration,” said Mark Bogosian, director of the Quality of Life Grants Program with the Reeve Foundation. “We celebrate the amazing organizations and their dedicated staff who strive to ensure accessibility and inclusivity within their programs. We celebrate the opportunities these grants provide through the wide array of projects funded. Above all, we celebrate the strength of our community ― and its commitment to enhancing the quality of life of people living with paralysis.”

Schuster said they are a private gym, so they don’t take insurance, but their daily fee is often less than a co-pay. For information, visit or email

About the Author