Medical Fitness Programs Available to Help People with Chronic Medical Conditions Follow New Guidelines

BOSTON, Oct. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/Joe Moore, President and CEO of the International Health Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), announced IHRSA's commitment to promoting the first-ever government-issued 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Moore delivered his remarks to more than 100 people at the "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Launch and Partnership Forum" hosted by The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in Washington, DC.

"The new guidelines are a tremendous example of how policymakers can help create a culture of wellness in America that focuses on prevention first," Moore said. "These new Guidelines are easy to understand and provide a very practical tool for helping Americans build exercise into their daily lives. Communicating the new Guidelines will be a top priority for IHRSA as we work to motivate more Americans to exercise for healthier living."

IHRSA also is making Americans aware of specialty health club programs designed to support people with chronic medical conditions, such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and cancer, as well as other programs designed for children, older Americans, women, and other populations.

"With the launch of the new Guidelines comes the very practical question: 'How can Americans, especially those with specific needs, follow them?'" Moore said. "Health club-based medical fitness and other specialty programs can help by providing support and the right venue for safe and healthy exercise."

Many medical fitness and other specialty programs use a combination of exercise and wellness techniques, including yoga, Pilates, strength training and cardiovascular machines, physical therapy, and/or massage therapy for individualized programming.

"People with chronic disease who exercise regularly often can gain better control over the disease, reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, help reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, and sometimes reduce or eliminate the need for other medications," said Phil Wendel, Owner of Atlantic Coast Athletic Clubs, which has been offering medical fitness programs for more than 10 years and whose clubs all have nurses and exercise physiologists. (One even has its own physician.)

"Making people feel comfortable, providing programs that meet the needs of first-time exercisers, and having medical affiliations — all these things have made our programs very successful over the years," Wendel said.

By nature, medical fitness programs pay close attention to the experience and emotional comfort of the participants and typically seek to improve strength, flexibility, stability and stamina.

"I'm extremely optimistic about what these new Guidelines represent," Moore concluded. "I believe we are at the start of a movement that will bring increased collaboration among individuals, the business and medical communities, and the government as we all work together to achieve greater wellness in America. Promotion of physical activity is a key component upon which any national prevention and disease management effort must rest."


IHRSA is a not-for-profit trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs, and suppliers worldwide. IHRSA is committed to taking a leadership role in advancing physical activity, which is critical to America's health and the battle against obesity and disease. IHRSA supports effective national initiatives to promote more active lifestyles for all Americans and is working to pass laws that will help affect societal changes toward a more fit America.

For more information on medical fitness programs; programs for older Americans; programs for children; and/or other specialty programs, contact IHRSA at For more information on IHRSA's public health promotions programs such as I Lost It at the Club!, Get Active America!, and Teen Fitness Connection, visit

SOURCE International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association