Medi-Gyms Merge Nutrition, Fitness, Medicine

An up-and-coming trend, medi-gyms are the one stop shop to total wellness.

Joan Westlake

HealthKey.com contributor

March 25, 2010


Medi-gyms - fitness and stress relief facilities combined with multiple medical doctor, diet center, and physical therapy facilities - are the logical merger of the medical and fitness communities. The driving force behind this emerging concept could be the Baby Boomer generation's fight against aging.

The Medical Fitness Association (MFA), a non-profit organization, was formed in 1991 to provide medically integrated health and fitness centers. Based on information obtained through industry surveys and other sources, the number of centers has grown from 79 centers in 1985 to more than 1,000 in 2009. The number of members served has grown to over 3 million and is projected to reach over 4 million by 2010.

Tiara Green, assistant executive director of the MFA, says that her organization is seeing the number of Medi-Gym type facilities boom as people seek out chronic disease and injury prevention expertise. And, there's the added comfort of having medical personnel on hand should chest pains or other potential warning signs appear during exercise.

"Why shouldn't your cardiologist, nutritionist, and personal trainer be in the same building?" says John Rowley, a spokesperson for the American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness (AIHF) and a pioneer in the Medi-gym field. "We've been conditioned to accept a very fragmented system of healthcare, when, in reality, all of these things are interrelated to keep you healthy."

Based in North Carolina, AIHF Wellness currently has two facilities. Each provides:

Medi-Gyms can be deluxe, destination wellness exam centers, which can include executive suites for the day with a computer, wireless connection, couches and a custom bath. You can receive a full battery of physical tests and exams, often with results in the same day. Diet and fitness counseling follows based on the results. The net result is a lifestyle plan to deal with any medical issues and to enhance your health.

To find a Medi-Gym near you, go to www.medicalfitness.org, click on "Find an MFA Facility."