By MIKE HIBBARD mhibbard@fltimes.com | Originally Appearing In Finger Lake Times

GENEVA — Genie Wilson admits she lost a little hope after being diagnosed with multiple joint issues and lupus in 2015.

She began visiting the “Healthy Living Clinic” at Finger Lakes Bone & Joint Center.

And, as the new year begins, her outlook has changed dramatically.

“This place has been life-changing to me,” Wilson said. “I began to visit a few times a week, and the trainer was so full of information about health and exercise. I began to thrive. It has not only increased the quality of my life, but my strength, flexibility and intellect.”

The clinic is part of Finger Lakes Bone & Joint’s $5 million expansion on Pre-Emption Road, which began in 2014. Of that investment, $800,000 was dedicated for the clinic space and another $50,000 worth of high-end, Life Fitness exercise equipment was installed.

The orthopedic practice also hired a certified personal trainer, Jynell Petrosino of Geneva, to work with patients and make sure they are receiving maximum benefits from workouts and avoiding injury.

The clinic provides dietary consultation as well.

“We care deeply about the patients we serve at the Finger Lakes Bone & Joint Center,” company President Dr. Daniel Alexander said. “It is our goal for the people under our care to live long and healthy lives. We care so much about this that our team built a big fitness center in the office that is free of charge to patients and staff. It won’t cost our patients one penny to exercise, learn how to eat healthy and work out under the supervision of a certified personal trainer.”

The clinic opened in early August. Petrosino said in the four months that have ensued, a number of patients have taken advantage of the clinic as well as others.

There is a $10 monthly fee for non-patients.

“It started out a little slow, but now we have a consistent clientele,” she said. “These are people who want to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.”

The clinic is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, while Finger Lakes Bone & Joint employees can use it during those hours — and before or after work.

Office Supervisor Racheal Elardo lost 30 pounds prior to working out at the clinic and has maintained that weight loss by using the fitness center after work and implementing a clean-eating lifestyle.

“Being able to work out at work has been a great benefit. I’m saving almost $400 a year on a gym membership and saving time while exercising when my shift ends at 5 p.m.,” she said. “A lot of co-workers use the fitness center and certified personal trainer in the morning. I love working out late in the day. It saves me a lot of time being able to stay in shape by working out in the office.”

Chief Operations Officer Sherri White utilizes the clinic on her lunch break with a strong cardio workout. She also follows the clean-living guideline and has lost weight.

“It helps having the fitness center right in the office. I look forward to workouts on my lunch break,” she said. “This is an added bonus of working here. The ‘healthy living program’ has helped a lot of our office staff. I can’t wait to bring patients in and work out alongside the families we care for.”

The clinic also includes a juice bar and locker area with showers. Alexander said like many doctors, he is disturbed by the obesity problem and wants to see his patients live healthier, longer lives, along with controlling health care costs.

“When you do one of these gyms, you never know how it’s going to turn out, but this has far exceeded our expectations. A lot of patients are using it,” he said. “The reason I opened this gym is to provide support for my patients to lose excess weight and possibly avoid needing surgery. We see a lot of heavier people with joint issues, and many times all they really have to do is lose weight.”

In addition to Wilson, several other patients gave the clinic high marks.

“Ever since I started at the Healthy Living Clinic, I have been taking better care of myself,” Deb Bohlayer said. “Jynell has shown me better ways of eating and exercising to get my body back in shape and stay in shape. It has helped me physically and mentally. It is a great program and Jynell is a super coach.”

“The Healthy Living Center at Finger Lakes Bone and Joint has helped me meet my goals of weight loss, muscular development and has contributed to my overall health, both physically and mentally,” Pete Liberatore added. “There is a wide variety of workout equipment available to meet your needs and a personal trainer on site to help ensure a healthy living lifestyle.”

“I’ve been using the clinic for several months after being seen at the Bone & Joint Center,” Doris Henry remarked. “It has been a blessing to me and an encouragement.”

Petrosino said as the new year begins, she will start offering group classes that address specific exercise and healthy living topics. That will include “Cardio 101.”

“I think the word ‘cardio’ scares some people. I want to show them it’s not as bad as they may have heard,” she said. “It’s not about how you look on the outside. It’s as much or more about how you feel on the inside.”

Alexander said one of the reasons he invested in the clinic was because many of patients can’t afford co-pays for physical therapy or gym memberships.

“This is probably the single thing I’m most proud of professionally since I became an orthopedic surgeon,” he said. “My patients have been good to me, so this is a way of giving back to them. I have about a dozen patients who are losing weight and foregoing surgery for now, and that’s a good thing.

“Patients will need fewer trips to the doctor and emergency room when they live cleaner and healthier lifestyles. Cutting back on health care costs is good for all of us, but the main goal here is to improve the lives of the people we care for.”

Click Here To Learn More About the Finger Lakes Healthy Living Clinic