Medical Fitness Exercise has been one of the top trends in Fitness for several years and is now more important than ever! Medical Fitness Exercise takes place in the space on the fitness continuum where patients have been released from medical management and may or may not have been referred to rehab or physical therapy. They are then essentially on their own, maybe with a direction from their physician to exercise, but in many cases, they have no understanding of what they should or shouldn’t be doing.
Medical Fitness Exercise is the bridge between Medical Management and Regular Exercise; it takes into consideration what stage the client is at, in that moment (for every session), and the limitations that may result from the client’s surgery and/or treatment. It is designed to help the client move safely and effectively along the fitness continuum, post rehab, helping them to reach their desired fitness goals and beyond! This is where a Specially trained Fitness Professional comes into focus!
What can a Fitness Professional who Specializes within a Medical Fitness Exercise field do?
A Fitness Professional, who Specializes in one or more fields within the Medical Fitness Exercise space, helps their client to make the transition from medical management and/or physical therapy or rehab, to a regular physical activity program following a surgery, an injury, a medical diagnosis, or exacerbation of a pre-existing condition.
They will understand contraindications for different types of exercise, the effects of certain treatments and medications and when to refer their client out for additional support or for a diagnosis. They have an elevated level of knowledge and skills that will help them to make a huge difference in the life of someone who is in need of specialized support for exercising with medical concerns such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, hypertension, neuromuscular disorders, heart disease, osteoporosis, orthopedic injury, cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and stress caused disorders, and can Specialize in one or more Medical Fitness Exercise fields of practice such as Cancer Exercise, Diabetes Exercise, Brain Health, Functional Aging, Clinical Exercise, Multiple Sclerosis, Stress Management, Mind/Body Medicine, Natural Nutrition and/or support people in Stroke Recovery, with Joint Issues etc..
These Specialized Fitness Professionals can help clients improve their client’s fitness level and decrease their risk factors for disease. They can help clients to regain strength, endurance, and functional movement during and following rehabilitation for diseases, disorders, surgeries, and ailments. They can work in complement with the clients’ health care team, providing metrics and results updates via technology such as GoGet.Fit and Trainer Plus App.
They have the knowledge and skills for designing, implementing, and modifying exercise programs for their client. They understand the roles of various healthcare professionals and will work with them to enhance their clients exercise program. Specialists can work with individual clients or in group sessions and can incorporate their specialty into existing classes, for example, Pilates or Yoga for Cancer Survivors, or Pre or Post Natal exercise classes for participants with Prediabetes or Diabetes.
We know that lifestyle factors can influence the development of many diseases, doesn’t it make sense that they can also influence the management of these same diseases? Studies certainly support that.
And while Personal Training and many of the Group classes that are offered at many facilities such as Spin, Barre, Zumba, HIIT and other currently popular activities, we know to be beneficial for a generally healthy participant, many of the health compromised individuals are unable to participate. Nor should they in some cases, as often these classes would involve activities that may be contraindicated for them. But we want to encourage these individuals to participate in physical activity, we all just want to make sure it’s activity that will support their recovery and help them to reach their goals safely and effectively. Imagine a client is coming to your facility who is a cancer survivor, a stroke survivor, or who is prediabetic or diabetic, may have a chronic condition such as arthritis or is in cognitive decline, and there is a Personal Trainer or Group Trainer on staff who is Specially trained to work with individuals that have that health concern. Imagine that Specially trained Fitness Professional as a resource that can help other trainers make adaptations for their group participants or Personal Training clients so that they have the best outcome. Imagine how those individuals will feel that they can now participate and be included?
That is what a Specialized Fitness Professional can do for their clients!
The Opportunity: Why Should Trainers and Gym Facilities Consider Specializing?
The need is growing for Fitness Professionals and Gym facilities to Specialize. Why is that? A huge factor is the aging population. Let’s use Canada as an example.
- Similar to other Western countries, the Canadian population is aging, the median age is 42. That means half the country is over the age of 42 and one in six Canadians are 65 years of age and over.
- That number is projected to rise by 2024 to be one in five, and by 2030 one in four.
- With that aging population comes increased numbers of chronic conditions including heart problems, cancer, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, joint issues etc.
- Many of these health concerns and risks can be mitigated with lifestyle modifications including exercise.
- Cancer rates are rising; there were over 220,000 diagnoses in 2018 and more than 3 million cancer survivors in Canada.
- 90% of cancers are diagnosed in the 50 plus age group
- 63% of Canadians are considered overweight or obese.
- And while 11% of Canadians over 20 years of age have been diagnosed with diabetes, twice as many, another 22% of the over 20 population, is considered to be prediabetic, bringing the total to nearly one third of all Canadians over the age of 20 to be either prediabetic or diabetic.
- 73% of working adults aged 20-64 report some level of stress, and according to Stats Canada, 30% of those aged between 35 and 54 are extremely stressed!
- Stress is a known factor for the development of many chronic illnesses and issues with mental health.
There is much less Competition in the Medical Fitness Exercise Space!
Not only will you be providing a much-needed service, but in this Medical Fitness Exercise space, there is less competition. And many of these clients can utilize your existing facility and use much of your existing equipment. The return on investment is immediate for many of these Specialist programs, even with one client! You will have the opportunity to reach a portion of the population that may never have considered joining your gym or to come for training. And because this is mostly an older demographic that has the time and resources to spend on programs that will help them to obtain better health outcomes and mitigate their health risks, they typically stay with the facility or trainer for a longer period of time. They aren’t looking for immediate results, and typically their goal isn’t centered on physical appearance; they are looking for wellness, longevity and functional movement to help them in their activities of daily living, to remain independent and to just feel better! So, their goal is living LIFE to the fullest!
Many of these Specialties can be taken as part of your professional development, providing you with meaningful CECs/CEUs that will enhance your skill set and open the door to a new segment of the population that you may not have had access to before.
What to look for in a Specialty program:
- Is the course developed by people knowledgeable and recognized in their field of practice?
- Is the course recognized by certifying organizations?
- Does it fit in with your professional development plan?
- Is it a field of practice that you’re interested in/ you can see yourself in?
- Will it provide you with additional knowledge that you can use?
- Will it bring in new clients and expand your practice?
Whether you are someone new to the fitness profession, or have been in fitness for years, creating your niche in the Medical Fitness Exercise space will provide new opportunities for your fitness business for years to come!
MedeXN provides Certifications and Courses for the ongoing professional development of Fitness and Allied Health Professionals looking for meaningful continuing education in the field of Medical Fitness Exercise. For more information visit www.medexn.com
“Exercise Your Knowledge to Elevate Above.”