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One-of-a-kind fitness center in Phoenix opens doors for Paralympians

The Ability 360 gym provides freedom for seniors, military members and people with disabilities and their families to work out and stay active in Phoenix.

PHOENIX — The Tokyo Paralympic Games start on August 24 and run until September 5.

Not only does Arizona have several athletes competing, but it's also home to a one-of-a-kind sports and fitness center that's helped Paralympians prepare for Tokyo. 

After breaking his neck in a snowboarding accident, Corey Lovato wanted to continue his active lifestyle in his wheelchair.

"That's always been a big part of my life and it is here," Lovato said. "It's really nice to be able to get into the gym and work out. Feel like you're really kind of back in your body, I guess."

RELATED: UArizona will have plenty of connections to the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics

Phoenix's Ability 360 Sports and Fitness Center makes it possible for Lovato to stay active.

"(I) Roll up to any of the machines and start working out from the chair," Lovato said.

Lovato appreciates the freedom the Ability 360 gym provides for seniors, military members, and people with disabilities and their families.

Ability 360 is also home to Paralympians who train and work here, Brielle Carter, a senior manager said. 

"It's kind of a 360 full-circle experience," Carter said. "We're providing the work experience so they can work and train and make a living and represent Phoenix, Arizona and the United States in Tokyo."

The center is a venue for local to international adaptive sporting events too, Carter said.

"We have a youth swim team, a master's swim team," Carter said. "We do aquatic classes, we do adaptive scuba diving, we do adaptive kayaking and paddleboarding. We also have a 35-foot high rock wall."

RELATED: How to watch the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics

It's an array of activities promoting health and independence.

For Lovato, a staff attorney and Ability 360 board member, this gym is a place that keeps him busy outside too.

"To be able to go do sports again, you need the strength to be able to do that," Lovato said. "Training here makes it possible for me to go do that out there."

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