The Medical Fitness Imperative

The Medical Fitness Imperative


A Quick Introduction to Medical Fitness

More than a building, and much different than a “fitness gym”, medically-integrated fitness is an important new department of medicine that will influence the future of healthcare around the world. Here is the case for expanding the core healthcare business model to embrace the idea that exercise is medicine, that lifestyle choices play a key role in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease, and that prevention is fundamental to the mission of healthcare. This is a comprehensive overview of why hospitals must be in the business of prevention and how insightful design can make a dramatic difference.


What is Medical Fitness?

More than the programs and services typically found in a commercial health club, medical fitness is the very real synergy that happens when exercise professionals work collaboratively with healthcare professionals to improve patient care and inform the exercise experience.

What is a Medical Fitness Center?

As the physical headquarters for a hospital’s community health initiatives related to disease prevention, injury rehabilitation and chronic disease treatment, a medical fitness center is the venue for holistic delivery of medically informed exercise and diet. Medical fitness centers offer a diverse menu of exercise-based wellness programming to patients, members and non-members. Highly trained, properly credentialed fitness professionals work in client-focused collaboration with clinical professionals. Centers are financially sustainable when they are designed and operated with an understanding of the unique challenges inherent in this complex mix of uses housed under one roof.  When these influences are understood by building designers, successful centers are able to charge for these services through membership dues, ancillary fees and third-party reimbursements.
Medical Fitness Mission

Bring the health benefits of exercise to the hospital’s constituency through both member and non-member programming.

Medical Fitness Vision

Make a measurable difference in the health status of our nation through the promotion of active lifestyles, medically informed exercise, the elimination of unhealthy habits and the sustainable management of chronic disease.

Medical Fitness Values

  • Be financially self-sustaining
  • Serve members and non-members
  • Be more than a building
  • Serve a variety of ages
  • Respect privacy
  • Enable effective recovery from exercise
  • Be integrated with outpatient medical services
  • Recognize the importance of diet, social connectivity and behavioral influences as key factors in long term health
  • Include physician support and oversight


Up next time…Post 2 – Why Medical Fitness – The Future Demands It.


Blog by Hervey Lavoie, F-MFA,  President + Senior Principal