By: Deanna Rebro | Category: Health & Fitness | Issue: December 2009
Owner Paul Gatton instructs Mickey Eck, participant of Sterling Healthways Forever Fit program, on the proper use of equipment at Owasso Fitness Zone.
A new program allows certain Medicare enrollees to get fit at no cost at Owasso Fitness Zone. In a partnership with Sterling Health Care Medicare and Healthways Forever Fit, the health and fitness provider offers those participants coverage of 100 percent of their membership fees.
Mickey Eck, the first senior to take advantage of the program, says she had heard about Owasso Fitness Zone and owner Paul Gatton from two friends who are long-time members. “They kept telling me, ‘Paul really cares about people. You should come.’” Although Mickey was in relatively good shape, she felt a little lazy at times. When she found out her Sterling policy included this benefit, her mind was made up.
Now Mickey goes to the gym four to five times a week to work on a fitness routine that’s specifically adjusted to her own needs and pace. Every day the focus is on a different set of muscles – legs, chest and arms, hips and thighs. Mickey says she enjoys this stage of her life because she can keep her body in shape and her mind clear to take care of yard work and other important things.
“It makes me feel so good when people tell me their cholesterol is down, their blood pressure is down, their knees and joints don’t hurt,” adds Paul. “That’s why I’m here.”
Paul learned the importance of physical fitness as a child, watching his father rehabilitate his muscles after a near-fatal accident. Fitness centers and physical therapy, as we know them, had not been born. The elder Gatton took it upon himself to exercise the affected muscles and redevelop them one by one. Now he joins his son to work out and help run the family business.
At Owasso Fitness Zone, everyone is called by name and treated like family. Paul says he gets birthday cards and garden vegetables, and he has five sets of adopted grandparents. On the flip side, he has stood by a number of his extended family at funerals for their loved ones. Members who travel from Skiatook, Collinsville and Claremore say they feel a personal touch that is not found elsewhere.
The gym is open to anyone ages 13 and up. Whole families often work out together in the 10,000-square-foot facility, achieving their fitness goals and supporting each other. One of six trainers is on the floor at all times to answer questions and make sure everyone is using the equipment safely and effectively. Additional services include one-on-one personal training, chair massages, tanning, sauna, and martial arts classes for children.
Membership fees have increased only a small amount since the first enrollee, Dr. Mark Franklin, a local dentist, signed up 11 years ago. Dr. Franklin is still a regular. Owasso Fitness Zone has no enrollment fee, no fad pricing, no contract and no pressure. Anyone interested is invited to come in, tour the facility and then take some time to think about it. Memberships are paid by the month. If a financial situation changes, there is no long-term obligation to worry about.
Hours accommodate morning, day or night people. A group of ladies who call themselves “The Party Bunch” meets Paul at the door every morning to begin their workouts at 4:45. Those who prefer to exercise after work can stay as late as 10 Monday through Thursday or until 8 on Friday. Saturday hours are 8 to 6 and Sunday noon to 5.
Owasso Fitness Zone is located at 8787 Owasso Expressway, Unit E. That’s at Highway 169 and 86th Street North, next to Big Lots. Sterling Healthways Forever Fit policyholders are invited to discuss their eligibility and details of the free gym membership. A similar program is in the works for Prime Insurance policyholders as well. Call (918) 274-9998 to learn more.
Deanna Rebro has worked in the publishing industry 30+ years, including eight years writing for Value News. She has also worked in real estate for the past six years. Deanna graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio with a B.A. in Journalism. Outside of work, she serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Pet Adoption League. “Every story I write is a learning experience,” she said.