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How is a Medical Fitness Center Different? And Meant for Everyone?

by Traci Marie Wagner, General Manager

There is no intervention with more potential to prolong and enrich life than exercise. (1)

You are a part of something special, but do you know exactly why a Medical Fitness Center is so different from your ordinary gym? The Medical Fitness Center concept is relatively new and progressive. It is tied into the healthcare industry and leads the way for preventative health which positively impacts the overall healthcare system.

There is no intervention with more potential to prolong and enrich life than exercise. (1) Medically integrated health and fitness centers are defining the future of healthcare. Growth throughout the medical fitness industry becomes more apparent every year. Based on industry surveys and other sources, the number of centers has grown from 79 centers in 1985 to 950 in 2008. (2) From aging to chronic disease, increased health-risk factors to improving outcomes for clients/ patients’ procedures and recovery; Medical Fitness Centers help members become educated and physically empowered in the “why” and “how” to promote wellness as a lifestyle.

So, what makes a medical fitness center so different? Each center has a highly trained, properly credentialed, and degreed staff of health/fitness professionals whose primary focus is to provide high-quality assessment and exercise programming based on the individual needs, goals, conditions, and health-risk levels of each member. Medical Fitness Centers, like Adirondack Health Medical Fitness Center (AHMFC) position themselves as being a part of the continuum of care working closely with a hospital. (1)

“The pioneers in the Medical Fitness Industry believe the future of hospitals and other wellness/fitness organizations is in improving the health status of the communities they serve.” (2) Medical physicians play a very important role in the healthcare system by treating disease. However, physicians don’t have the time nor background in exercise as medicine for prevention to provide fitness programs tailored to members individual needs. That is where a Medical Fitness Center’s expertise comes in. Physicians work in tandem with exercise professionals to refer patients to begin exercising with a trained professional by providing recommended restrictions and goals. Adirondack Health Medical Fitness Center was created for just that reason.

The pioneers in the Medical Fitness Industry believe the future of hospitals and other wellness and fitness organizations is in improving the health status of the communities they serve. (2)

It is no surprise that America is facing an explosion of health-related issues. Due to the Medical Fitness model healthcare is beginning to trend away from “sick care”. Medical Fitness Centers play an important role for their associated hospitals on population health management by preventing illness and the accompanying costs. (2) Medical Fitness Centers are leading the way in the healthcare epidemic. Unlike your ordinary health/fitness facility that targets and attracts 15 percent of the American population that exercises regularly, Medical Fitness Centers uphold the mission to provide genuine opportunities to be physically active to include the other 85 percent; more specifically the large population of people who have a desire to exercise, but just don’t know how to get started. (2)

Medical Fitness centers and their professional staff strive to provide relevant and expert information not only to their members but also to the community as a whole on how to be physically active as well as providing the means (facility, equipment, and structured activity opportunities) to dramatically change their “want-to feelings” into “I did it” behavior patterns. (2) This transformation is the exact mission of American College Sports Medicines' “Exercise is Medicine” philosophy. That is why Medical Fitness centers stand out as such a unique operation compared to ordinary health clubs. They provide a viable avenue to success for everyone.

Adirondack Health Medical Fitness Center(AHMFC) is even more unique than a standard Medical Fitness center. Many of us at the Medical Fitness Center say, “we are here for you, we do the work with you; so you can continue to do what you love out there”. Whether it be a seasoned athlete, someone who has recently rehabilitated from knee surgery, or recently suffered from a stroke and has been cleared to exercise; we are truly here for everyone! Our professional staff guide each member to individualized advancement with their health and wellness.

For example, an AHMFC member joined the fitness center in January of 2020 as part of a New Year promise to herself. Her goal was to become more physically and mentally healthy so she can continue to do the things she loves; like working in her flower beds. “I love to swim, but when I wasn’t getting the results, I was looking for, I asked for help. I met with a member of the coaching staff and a fitness program was designed to help me with my specific needs. Seeing a coach has proved to be very helpful, and it is so nice that staff are available in the gym when you need assistance”.

There is endless documented evidence and compelling literature on how physical activity can impact a person’s ability to perform and enjoy activities of daily living, as well as minimize the risk of an individual suffering from disease or illness. Adirondack Health Medical Fitness Center's mission is to provide lasting lifestyle change to our members and surrounding communities by employing education and professional assistance. There is no doubt that AHMFC provides a solid foundation for achieving the benefits of exercise by educating members on what to do and then helping members do it. Exercise professionals aren’t just for those with underlying disease, they are here to support the advancement in physical conditioning and health for everyone, even those who believe to already be well conditioned or know what to do.

I am a perfect example of the continuum of care. Even with an exercise background, and years of training for Ironman’s and other endurance events, I too have started to work with one of our fitness coaches. I always had an endurance coach that provided me guidance-training for major events like Ironman, but I never had a strength and conditioning coach to work one-on-one with. Over a year and a half ago, I had a mountain bike accident and sprained my low spine. I went to a physician, then physical therapy, and then following a good year “off” from being as active as I typically was used to being I have started to work with a fitness coach. Due to my time with significantly reduced physical activity, I lost a lot of my conditioning and started to feel generally unwell most of the time. I registered for Ironman 2022 and decided it was time to get moving again not only for the race but for my health. This time, I decided where I would gain the most benefit was working one-on-one with one of our highly educated and knowledgeable coaches. I have been working with Coach Erik for four weeks and right away, I began noticing the benefits.

  1. He motivates me to strength train; as an endurance athlete it can often be easier to just decide to get on the bike instead.

  2. My overall wellbeing and health have increased: less pain in my low spine, knees and less ‘achy bone syndrome.'

  3. My strength is noticeably increasing.

  4. He can pick up on when my form is slightly off; which I would otherwise not be able to on my own, and the corrections, although maybe only a sliver of an adjustment, make a huge difference in proper muscle engagement.

My point is: oftentimes people think “I don’t need to work with a trainer” and perhaps it’s true for some, but I guarantee you, for most, you will walk away learning something new to advance where you are currently at. That is what makes Adirondack Health Medical Fitness Center unique: we meet you where you are and then walk with you to where you want to go!

By being a part of Adirondack Medical Fitness Center, you are a part of something special: a very important shift and movement in America towards better health. We celebrate and thank you!


1. Conviser, Jason; Roy, Brad; Skinner, James; Tharrett, Stephen. (2015). Medical Fitness Association’s Resource & Planning Guide. Healthy Learning

2. Medical Fitness Association. About Us. Medical Fitness Association. Retrieved February, 24, 2022 from

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