By Mike Coblentz

New Vista members show off their desire and abilities to stay active and healthy through New Vista’s brand new fitness program, VistaFit.

Like New Vista’s many other programs, the emphasis is on empowerment. VistaFit has started with a focus on boxing and is geared to give individuals of the intellectual and developmental disability community more opportunity for health, wellness and active living. This implements additional aspects of everyday positive living and helps knockout any future health complications that may arise from more sedentary lifestyles.

New Vista member and ambassador, appropriately though coincidentally nicknamed Rocky, recognized VistaFit’s understanding and importance of not just training the body, but also the mind and spirit. “The goal of the program is about staying fit, being in shape … it’s the training,” Rocky said. “It’s showing people how to be strong minded, not let others wear you down.”

The program started in partnership with legendary Hall of Fame boxing referee Richard Steele. Much of VistaFit was inspired by Richard Steele’s Rock Steady Boxing, one of his many programs, with this one setting the goal of improving mobility in Parkinson’s patients. Similarities were drawn between the mobility concerns in Parkinson’s patients and those of the IDD community. “It really has enlightened my whole program and has given me a fresh breath of air to breathe,” said Steele. The boxing concentrates on focus, balance and intensity. It’s a major aspect to the program but also just a start for VistaFit, with more classes being added and plans to implement several more.

NFL alum Victor Cohen and his workout program are the latest addition to VistaFit. Cohen gives back to his community through his Victor B. Cohen Foundation, which has tackled such goals as stopping childhood obesity and giving back to the veterans. The program promises to challenge its members with a grueling regimen tailored for any skill level.

There are still many more programs on the horizon for VistaFit with yoga, dance, swimming and nutrition elements as possible next additions. The ultimate goal is to have two weeks’ worth of daily classes and programs that then repeat on a bi-weekly basis, with a variety to keep the program feeling fresh while encouraging regular attendance.

The criteria for any of the VistaFit classes remain the same across the board. It inspires regular activity, addresses mobility, can also be implemented outside of the program and most importantly, it’s fun. The combination is one that New Vista hopes will be a recipe to sustain healthy living habits in all its members that get involved and will continue to attract more of the community. There’s also no aspect that is necessarily specific to the IDD community and it’s all about inclusion.

VistaFit and New Vista is a nonprofit organization offering ways to help out in the IDD community. Visit to get involved.