A major trajectory of the industry is moving toward medical fitness — blending the healthcare and fitness industries to give members legitimate treatment options within health clubs.
The Claremont Club is one of several clubs leading the charge in medical fitness, implementing several programs and studies to serve members who have chronic injuries and illnesses.
“We’ve had fantastic success in helping lead the initiative of exercise as medicine,” said Mike Alpert, the CEO of The Claremont Club. “We’ve done it with programming that has changed the lives of everybody, from clients to our membership to our staff to the community that surrounds us.”
One program in particular, The Perfect Step, has been very impactful for members and serves as a stepping stone to other medical fitness programs. “The Perfect Step, our studio for spinal cord injuries and paralysis, is now treating and helping improve the quality of life of 115 individuals who are struggling with paralysis,” said Alpert.
The Claremont Club has also partnered with Augie’s Quest for events, hosted movement-based therapy, and is venturing into the treatment of mental deterioration. “By the end of this year, we’ll start a trial program with dementia and onset Alzheimer’s,” said Alpert. “And we’re having success using activity-based therapy and load-bearing exercises with constant muscle movement and memory.”
In a partnership with the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center in Pomona, California, The Claremont Club has been able to provide treatment in the form of exercise for members with cancer.
“As of June 2018, we’ve put over 1,000 men, women and families through our Living Well After Cancer program,” said Alpert. “Because of that success, we’re in the fourth year of a year-long program helping children and young adults who have cancer.”
Though The Claremont Club has made significant strides in treating local community members with chronic injuries and illnesses, their work hasn’t stopped with programming. To further the effectiveness of medical fitness in the future, The Claremont Club has chosen to participate in several studies that focus on fitness as medicine.
“As of now, we have three IRB-approved medical research studies going on simultaneously at the club,” said Alpert. “City of Hope is doing one on our Living Well After Cancer program. And we have two going on — one on our Cycling for Parkinson’s program and one on our spinal cord program.”
While The Claremont Club is making a splash in advancing the legitimacy of medical fitness, they’ve experienced a gradual build to the vast amount of programming and exercise studies in their facilities.
Every club can begin making a difference in their communities with even the smallest additions in their programming. “You don’t have to do what The Claremont Club is doing — this has been a work in progress for many years,” said Alpert. “You can start small with support groups, and you can define the population you want to start with.”