Des Plaines Park District

Healthy Minds Healthy Bodies

Allen ForceAllenForce Website

Healthy Minds Healthy BodiesHealthy Minds, Healthy Bodies Website

Frequently Asked Questions

This information is courtesy of the AllenForce Healthy Minds Healthy Bodies website.

How Did The Healthy Minds Healthy Bodies Program Start?

The former executive director of NEDSRA, Larry Reiner had a cousin who was a Vietnam veteran with whom he was very close. He watched as his cousin was denied benefits and not welcomed home into his community for years. Larry decided as a recreation agency with many resources available in many communities, that we could make a difference. Since most of a military person’s life revolves around fitness, it was a no-brainer that we start a FREE health and fitness program to use as a bridge for the veterans to transition back into their hometown and community through fitness, something very familiar to them. We realize that for various reasons after their discharge there may be weight gain – due to medication, and/or injuries, prevent them from working out like you used to, or depression, etc. Healthy Minds Healthy Bodies wants to help start up those endorphins, create a positive energy flow within, and get back into health and fitness. How does that old quote go? “If you look good, you will feel good!” But seriously, you know the benefits of exercise, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

What If I Have a Disability Rating That Is Only Related To Hearing?

The reason for the rating does not matter. Hearing, amputation, PTSD, spinal cord injury, chemical exposure, complications, etc. You were injured while serving our country and now is our time to serve you!

What Happens After My Free Year Has Expired?

AllenForce advises all licensed facilities to offer a large discount to HMHB veterans after their year is expired. This is intended to allow you to renew your membership and remain in the location with the people with which you are now comfortable. The monthly networking events are able to be attended for life. Once a part of the HMHB family, you are family for life!

Can My Family Or Friends Come To The Monthly Networking Events?
What Would It Cost?

YES! They are FREE!

When Will My Hometown Adopt The Program?

We are working on spreading the word nationally! If you can go into your home town health club and let them know about this program, give them a flier and ask them to call AllenForce. Or if you have the name of someone, or even the facility name, please call AllenForce or send an e-mail. They will follow-up with that district to get the ball rolling! 779-205-3314,

Do The Gyms Have The Adapted Equipment I Would Need?

The trainers are schooled in adapting existing equipment with for a variety of special needs. Depending on your specific needs, many gyms have hand cycles, NuSteps, cable machines, and most importantly, adapted gloves, wrist cuffs, elastic bands, etc. If your gym does not have universal equipment to fit your needs, please call your HMHB program coordinator.

What Qualifications Do The Trainers Have?

All trainers that work within the Healthy Minds Healthy Bodies program directly with the veterans have gone through specific training, in addition to their certification as a personal or athletic trainer. HMHB has put them through a course taught organized by NEDSRA, and taught co-operatively by the AllenForce and the doctors of the local Vet Center for additional specialty training on working with Veterans. This covers education on many physical issues such as; spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, diabetes, amputation, agent orange, Gulf War syndrome and more. The Vet Center doctors run a two-three hour training and panel discussion on Post Traumatic Stress, directly related to war. The two-day workshop concludes with our volunteer veterans attending and sharing their experiences both in the military and in the fitness center, and how it has benefited them with transition. The trainers then get to work with them, hands-on, in the fitness center.

What Will The Program Cost Me?


Does Our Facility Have Any Volunteer Opportunities?

YES! HMHB needs volunteers at many events including veteran specific events. This may include talking to other vets at the booth, informing them about the program and taking their registration. There may also be many opportunities to work with children or adults in other programs at the organization hosting, including athletics, martial arts, swimming, social clubs, weekend trips, etc.