The Dublin gym specializes in adaptive exercise for those with special needs.

When Peggy Mills retired from her job after 25 years of working with kids with developmental disabilities in Dublin schools, she noticed a major need in the community. She says kids were leaving physical education classes and discovering it was nearly impossible for young adults with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other conditions to find a safe and healthy place to work out.

That observation led her to create UFit, an organization that began in mid-2017 in Training Grounds, a Dublin gym. Mills started UFit as a personal training service for people who have developmental disabilities; it provides the adaptive exercises and specialized instruction that their challenges require.

She says each of her clients is unique, and each one has good or bad days that vary widely depending on how they're feeling. But because she understands them and doesn't try to shoehorn them into a traditional workout, she gets results without making students uncomfortable. Her workouts incorporate small tweaks and she uses a “visual schedule,” which allows clients to select their daily workouts, post them to a schedule board and remove them when completed, a significant step for people with disabilities.

Mills opened the first stand-alone UFit location at 6631 Commerce Parkway in Dublin in March, and it now serves 20 personal-training clients and a handful of other members.

For Mills, seeing her clients active, healthy and exceeding expectations is the real reward. “When I see people doing things and their parents say, ‘I can't believe you can get that kid to do that,' it's just wonderful.”

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