The Coach Factor: Shaping the Medical Fitness Perspective in the Coming Months

Health, fitness, and wellness professionals and coaches are familiar with the Ozempic / GLP-1 information. It is pervasive on television, health publications, and industry podcasts. It may be the biggest medical fitness program to shape the industry in quite some time.

Overshadowed in the GLP-1 discussions are other medical fitness programs that are having an impact on the profession. Exercise oncology, also known as cancer and exercise, got its start in the mid-1980s when nurse and medical researcher Dr.Meryl Winningham did the first in a series of studies using exercise bikes for mostly breast cancer patients. Her results became the foundation for a branch of exercise that is similar to cardiac rehab, and now boasts thousands of certified trainers across the country. 

Over the past few years a group of exercise oncology clinicians, coaches, physicians, and researchers have been writing papers and negotiating with cancer centers to bring this brand of exercise education to the forefront of the fitness industry. Over the past year they have written and submitted therapy codes for exercise and cancer to Medicare. If passed, it would allow almost every type of health plan to pay for cancer and exercise services. This would be groundbreaking for the industry and allow for the burden of cost to be removed for the patient, so that they can seek out a personalized coaching program.

In the last 30 years, exercise oncology has been one of the most successful clinical and research programs. Coaches and fitness trainers may be at the brink of working hand in hand with health plans to obtain third party payments for their services.

The next area is brain health and fitness. It is a wide spectrum of services that include exercise, precision wellness, and nutrition. Because of the increasing interest in longevity by the health club profession, brain health will play a major role in reducing symptoms of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, improve cognitive function and reduce fall risk in seniors, and improve memory and functional abilities in persons of any age. This is done through a series of functional exercises that track balance, reaction time, muscle movement, synergy of contraction, and both innate muscle strength and endurance. Systems that measure these attributes place data into cloud storage, where the results can be measured for individual clients, or groups of people.

The excitement in the industry is growing by the day – and new opportunities in just these two areas may allow many more people who normally would not join a health club, to improve their function through basic but important types of exercise stations, and precision wellness platforms such as compression sleeves, Nano-Vi cellular repair devices, HBOT, and cryotherapy – all of which place the body into different physiology modes, and have important outcomes for neurology, cellular health, and motor function.

The health club industry may be at the forefront of new an innovative techniques and technologies, and an industry that struggled to re-open their doors in 2022 may emerge as one of the healthcare system’s greatest allies.

About the Author

Eric Durak is a veteran of the fitness and healthcare industries. He is the author of certifications, research reports, and books. His area of expertise has been the application of exercise for medical needs. Contact him at © 2024 Medical Health and Fitness.


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