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Exercise is Medicine

As leaders, owners and operators, we have the power, ability and moral obligation to do what’s right — don’t we?

As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.” In order to do what is right, one must first know what is right. Some may argue that actions of a leader are more important than their thoughts. However, our thoughts guide our actions far more intensely than we realize. A leader’s thoughts influence his or her actions, which in turn influence other people’s thoughts and actions.

Have you ever had a time in your life where something happened that was so impactful that it changed you, or the way you look at things? I’d like to share a little about some life-changing events that are happening at a little club in Claremont, California. Things that happened because of one leader’s thoughts and passion not only to run a world-class health club — but also to help individuals struggling with chronic injuries and chronic illnesses, which we believe to be the people who need us the most.

Many of you may have already read about the programs and services that we offer in previous publications, but just in case, here’s a quick summary:

  • For the past 12 years our Living Well after Cancer Program has helped improve the quality of life for nearly 1,000 men and women, and their families.
  • Three years ago we developed a Pediatric and Young Adult Cancer Program that supports children and their families living with cancer.
  • More than 10 years ago we began a program to help individuals living with spinal cord injuries and those affected by other forms of neuromuscular diseases, today helping more than 100 people.
  • Our six-week Diabetes Program teaches participants and their families to manage their lives with prevention.
  • This month we added a Parkinson’s Cycling Program to our schedule that looks very promising for the members of our community living with Parkinson’s disease.

Early this year, the club — with support from leaders in our industry and the medical community — produced a powerful documentary on Exercise is Medicine. This 8-minute trailer can be viewed on YouTube: “The Claremont Club Exercise is Medicine Trailer.”

With all the success that we have seen and experienced over the many years with these programs, one thing has been missing: medical studies that produced credible data to support the outcomes.

Now it looks as though we will have that missing piece. This month City of Hope, one of the leading cancer research hospitals in America, will be doing an IRB approved medial research study on the quality of life and metabolic measures on our Living Well after Cancer Program, and Kaiser Permanente (the state’s largest health care provider) will be doing medical research on our Cycling for Parkinson’s program.

Both are being done to support and endorse Exercise is Medicine. We are also working to seek an endorsement and collaborative partnership to move the Exercise is Medicine agenda forward for our clubs. This program would direct physicians in your community to refer their patients to your clubs.

As leaders in the industry, we hope that you are encouraged you to use the power within not only do what’s right, but to help others along the way. Besides, scientific research provides compelling facts to support the subjective evidence that giving is a powerful pathway to personal growth and lasting happiness. Through fMRI technology (functional magnetic resonance imaging), we now know that giving activates the same parts of the brain that are stimulated by food and sex. Experiments show evidence that selflessness is hardwired in the brain — and it’s pleasurable.

The employees at The Claremont Club have found that there is no better feeling than helping others, and it may just be the secret to living a life that is not only happier but also healthier, wealthier, more productive and meaningful.


Tracy Stepp is the director of human possibilities at The Claremont Club. For more information email her at tstepp@claremontclub.com.

Tracy Stepp

Tracy Stepp is the Director of Human Possibilities at The Claremont Club. For more information email her at tstepp@claremontclub.com.

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