Health clubs go beyond exercise

By Carrie Johnson Weimar • Published: December 15th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Many of us associate health clubs with phrases such as “feel the burn” or “pumping iron.” But to people who suffer from serious ailments, the health club is becoming a place for empathy, support and help.

More and more of these clubs are designing programs aimed at people who are coping with a variety of diseases, including osteoporosis and breast cancer. Experts say this is a very positive development. The emphasis on exercise not only helps elevate mood and boost energy, it also helps patients fight obesity, which is a contributing factor for many diseases.

Many of the patients say they feel vulnerable or fragile after their bout with illness and find it comforting to know the exercise programs are tailored to meet their specific needs. Some clubs go beyond just exercise and also offer lectures on nutrition and treatment options.

Not only does the exercise provide cardiovascular and strength benefits, the groups also offer an important outlet for bonding.

Experts say the programs serve as a support group, where patients can go to talk to others who have endured similar experiences and develop a sense of camaraderie. Often, patients will work out together in a separate area of the club, where they don’t have to be surrounded by sleek and toned gym regulars.

Programs have already started popping up in health clubs in Dallas, Boston and other major metropolitan areas. Interested in finding out more? Consult your local health club. Or start your own group today.