Employee Walk 10K Challenge

Medical Center Health System and MCH Mission Fitness participated in the Walk 10k Challenge as part of MFA’s Medical Fitness week.  To start things off right, a kick-off was held with a Walk 10k challenge.  Hospital staff joined John Douthitt and Carmen Kenner for a walk around the downtown campus of the Medical Center Health System.

“Working closely with IT, we were able to create a working log on the hospital intranet to facilitate step reporting.  Daily email reminders were sent to the participants to encourage them,” said Carmen Kenner, Mission Fitness Membership Director.  “Many employees enjoyed the challenge so much that they were asking to do this quarterly.”

Eighty-five participants logged a total of 4,493,181 steps during the week for an average of 52,860 steps per day.  Programs like this help employees develop healthy habits and are fun for all those who participate!

Healthplex Featured Wellness Center

Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP) had long been the healthcare leader in Monterey County, CA when they decided in late 2008 that it was time to think “out of the box” and put increased emphasis on wellness and prevention strategies.  There were several considerations:

– A desire to expand their range of services to keep people in the community healthy.

–  A need to strengthen their market presence in the Marina area, north of Monterey, one of the fastest growing parts of their service area.  This was critical to them, as a large property (formerly the Army’s Fort Ord Military Base) was closed and being turned into a large housing and retail service area.  CHOMP’s leadership foresaw the need for healthcare services in that rapidly growing area and wanted to get ahead of the competition.  By creating a multi-purpose wellness and ambulatory care site, they were able to capture and dominate the market.

–  CHOMP services a large number of retired individuals in this area and has created their own Medicare Advantage plan (“ASPIRE”).  The Montage Wellness Center has become a key element in the success of the plan by attracting seniors and keeping them healthy.

With the success of the Marina site, CHOMP’s leadership team then spun off an additional ‘satellite’ wellness center in Salina to extend their dominance in the entire county.

Exercise Prescription Program

Healthplex Associates’ Pascagoula Mississippi club, Singing River Healthplex, was challenged by their client hospital to create a program that would help improve the health and reduce the healthcare costs of high-risk hospital employees.  E-Rx has successfully met that challenge! Participants are seeing a tremendous improvement in metrics. They are experiencing reduced blood pressure, lower A1-C levels, and improved cholesterol.  View this powerful testimony from the Exercise Prescription Program.

EQT REC Center Supports Youth Athletics

Healthplex’s EQT REC Center created a youth wrestling program which began in December of 2020 and continued throughout the winter months. The wrestling program paved the way for a partnership with Central Greene School District and the wrestling boosters club to host two wrestling tournaments in successive months. The first was a youth tournament held at the end of February. With over 230 registrants and four mats packed into the indoor turf field we were able keep non-stop action throughout the day.  The EQT REC Center is proud to have been a part of this incredible feat from local athletes, many of which have trained at our Center.

Taking Care of the Caregivers

Healthplex Fitness Center at St Barnabas Hospital is starting a new program to teach 30-minute exercise clinics for the SBH Staff. The Center will provide a series of brief seminars covering the basics of fitness training while also expanding the staff’s knowledge of how to train safely and efficiently. The program is aimed at staff members of the Hospital who are not confident or comfortable working out in a gym. This clinic is designed to motivate those who are looking to gain the knowledge as well as the confidence to start an exercise routine.

Each clinic will be broken into four different sessions targeting a different aspect of training. Mobility/Flexibility, Strength Building, Fat Burning, and Free Weight Training. The Mobility/Flexibility unit will teach how to prepare the body for the workout, proper lifting mechanics, and posture to help not only for gym workouts, but to improve everyday physical activities. The Strength Building class will focus on teaching how to safely use the strength training machines in the gym. The Fat Burning session will cover how to efficiently use the cardio machines to increase cardio capacity. Finally, Free Weight training will provide advice on proper technique, information on repetition counts, and movement pattern mechanics while using the weights in the gym or at home.

This introductory program is designed not only to get the word out about the Center and the training staff, but also to help the Hospital staff realize that they can work out without having any doubt about whether they are working out efficiently. We are looking forward to providing some knowledge, good service, and of course, a whole lot of fun!

Clinical Small Group Exercise Class

One of our recent highlights at Healthplex’s Mission Fitness has been our Clinical Small Group exercise class. Participants meet 5x/week with our Clinical Integration Coordinator, Zach Cavazos. One of the major benefits of the Clinical Small Group class is that it is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Every participant trains to improve strength, endurance, cardiovascular performance, and balance throughout the week.

“What we admire about the class is the structure and innovative exercises incorporated into the class to improve on our weaknesses,” said Minnie Kikuchi. Zach Cavazos, the clinical lead of the program had this to say, “Guiding the class is my favorite part of the day. I enjoy getting close with the members not only as clients, but as friends.” We have learned many things from this program the past few months. Most importantly, we learned that we must put a focus on improving our health to give our immune systems the ability to stay healthy.

The class is exceeding our expectations in terms of benefits for the participants. For example, it has a huge value with a lot to offer in terms of the usual benefits of exercise.   One aspect we didn’t anticipate is how the social aspect is playing such a huge part in maintaining good mental health. For example, many have noticed having an increasingly positive state of mind.

Wellness Centers and the Olive Garden

Mark Twain is famously quoted as having once said “Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated”. I think the same can be said of the fitness industry today. Many people believe that the Covid 19 pandemic is the death knell of this once growing industry. It certainly is only fair to say that the industry, like our population is sick today. But like Mark Twain was at the time, it is still alive! In this case, I am convinced that it will come back to life, slowly perhaps, but when it does, it will be stronger than ever before.
When I was new to the industry and trying to quickly learn as much as I could from the leading experts, I had the opportunity to attend a seminar (back in the days when we did them in person!). The seminar was led by a man who is considered one of the leading experts on health club management. One of his topics was how successful clubs get through the unavoidable down period of the summer months. His lesson was that it was critical to create attractive programming or even special summer-only memberships; anything just to keep people in the club. For many of us who are experiencing those summers when our clubs become ghost towns, we know it’s tough to survive.
 His point is that a successful club must find a way to generate activity and keep people coming in. He likened it to his theory of the Olive Garden. Think about when you go past a new restaurant at dinner time and find the parking lot empty. Chances are you’ll pass it up until you find an Olive Garden where the parking lot is busy and people are waiting in a line that wraps outside, holding beepers to await their turn. Health clubs are similar. While prospective members will always ask “does it get too crowded in here?”, an empty club can be an even bigger deterrent to membership than a robust crowd.
People are social beings and those who think that the only product of any of our wellness centers is to provide equipment for workouts are just dead wrong. Many of our members can afford to buy quality exercise equipment for home use (and many, in fact, do). But they choose to work out in our centers because of the socialization, friendships, companionship and interactions that they get when they join us. It may come slowly, but just watch; there will be a resurgence to the fitness/wellness industry and it will be huge.

Mission Fitness-Clinical Integration Program

Healthplex’s Mission Fitness is offering Clinical Group Training Classes starting in  September . These classes are for our clinical membership population.  This population is living with conditions such as Cancer, Diabetes, Arthritis, Parkinson’s Disease, and Cardiac or Pulmonary Disease.  Mission Fitness Clinical Integration Coordinator, Zach Cavazos, guides the participants in the class Monday through Friday.  During the mandatory mask time frame at-risk members have a safe environment in which to exercise during COVID-19. Members are participating in exercises tailored toward their needs to increase overall functionality and cardiovascular endurance. “ We are seeing remarkable improvements in balance, functional strength, and overall feeling of well-being,” says Zach Cavazos, clinical coordinator.