Award-Winning Medical Fitness | Athletic Business

Award-Winning Medical Fitness

The HealthStyles hospital wellness center turns a profit by offering medically based fitness programs that are popular and results-driven.

Hospital-based fitness centers are becoming more prevalent in the fitness landscape, in part because they offer staff and programs that members can't get anywhere else. HealthStyles, part of Windber Medical Center in Windber, Pa., is a great example of why these medically based fitness centers are becoming more popular. The 10,000-square-foot facility offers multiple therapeutic and wellness programs by degreed and licensed professionals, including cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, and physical and occupational therapy. The staff members who run these programs are highly qualified, including the facility manager who is an ACSM Exercise Specialist with a master's degree in exercise science, and a staff that consists of 12 full- and part-time degreed exercise physiologists, and licensed aquatics, group fitness and yoga professionals.

In addition to cardiac, pulmonary and therapy programs, the facility offers other programs for special populations. These include a fitness program for people with multiple sclerosis, the NE Body Weight Loss Program, the Dean Ornish Heart Disease Reversal Program, a 12-week "Biggest Loser" contest that was open to the public and other seasonal fitness challenges. The NE Body Weight Loss Program incorporates personal training sessions with an exercise physiologist and consultations with a registered dietician. "On occasion, we also have a massage therapist on the fitness floor offering massages to our members. Also, over the past eight years, the center has sponsored a very successful 5k run," says Director, HealthStyles/Cardiac Rehabilitation, Gary Pagano.



Windber Medical Center, Windber, Pa. 814 467-3632; Date facility opened: January 2000 Facility size: 10,000 square feet Number of members: 1,300 Group exercise classes: Aquatics, aerobics, yoga, Pilates, tai chi Unique elements: Pool, walking/jogging track that surrounds equipment area, massage

Another unique quality of HealthStyles is the existence of a five-member advisory committee consisting of current HealthStyles members. This group meets with staff to address issues, concerns and ideas that can improve customer service, and other aspects of the fitness center, explains Pagano.

Far from being just an extension of the hospital, HealthStyles has been "a profitable entity at Windber Medical Center since its inception in January 2000," says Pagano. The fitness center currently accommodates approximately 1,300 members with an average age of 48 years old.

Because of its successful programs, HealthStyles was recently awarded the 2007 Distinguished Service Award from the Medical Fitness Association (MFA) for facilities less than 20,000 square feet. It has also won four local "Simply the Best" awards for the best fitness facility in the area.

Says Pagano, "HealthStyles has been very successful in providing our local communities with the opportunity to improve their health, fitness and rehabilitation needs. It has been, and continues to be, a popular and profitable wellness center that is supported by our administration and medical staff, and embraced by our local community. The concept of combining outpatient rehabilitation and wellness services has enhanced the hospital's delivery of quality patient care."

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