Meadville Tribune

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December 3, 2008

Medical Center to open Wellness Extension

12/04/08 — VERNON TOWNSHIP — Meadville Medical Center is opening a Wellness Extension — or WE — at the site of the former Fitness Garage on Route 19 in Vernon Township.

The medical center is purchasing the privately-owned Fitness Garage business, but terms weren’t disclosed.

The new fitness center will serve as an extension of the medical center’s Mind-Body Wellness Center, and reflects the hospital’s ongoing commitment to promote healthy lifestyles through coordinated whole-person health care, according to officials.

“As a medical center, we cannot ignore recent news documenting doubling of the incidence of diabetes within the last 10 years,” said Dr. Barry Bittman, the hospital’s chief innovations officer. “When one realizes that obesity and inactivity are the primary causes of this devastating trend, it becomes absolutely clear that a comprehensive health-care system must develop and offer safe, sustainable lifestyle strategies for improving quality of life and reducing the incidence of life-threatening diseases.”

WE will focus on prevention, recovery and the preservation of health by integrating innovative state-of-the-art fitness strategies with comprehensive nutrition and stress reduction initiatives.

“A four-week course of physical therapy or cardiac rehabilitation simply isn’t enough for most people to regain what has been lost,” said Phillip Pandolph, the hospital’s chief operating officer. “Ongoing supervision and encouragement is often needed to fill the void that surfaces when health-care insurance runs out.”

WE builds upon a series of successful programs developed and tested at the Mind-Body Wellness Center over the last decade.

“While a number of WE members are clearly committed to and engaged in their own exercise routines, many will benefit from personal nutrition coaching as well as various degrees of medical supervision,” said Bittman.

The facility will undergo renovations, but in order to minimize inconvenience for existing members, WE will be closed from Dec. 24 through Jan. 5.

When it reopens, it will offer the latest technology for getting in and staying in shape including computerized treadmills, elliptical trainers and bicycles to enable each person to program their workouts in advance at home through the Internet.

Clinicians and coaches will help each person program healthy workouts while tracking their ongoing progress.

For serious or elite athletes, comprehensive exercise evaluations will be offered for precise calculations of exercise zones and thresholds, officials said.

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