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Staying Healthy with Virtua Fitness

Virtua Health System provides wide-ranging healthcare services, but considering that they include a center for health and fitness makes what they do all the more comprehensive. As the director for the Virtua Center for Health Fitness, in Moorestown, Ayanna Lott understands how vital the service they provide to the public is. And while similar to other fitness centers or gyms, their approach is broader in scope.

“We all have similar equipment, but here at the center our staff serves our community, and they either have a degree in kinesiology or exercise science,” Lott explains. “And they’re able to speak to those medical issues or those needs that our clients have for improvement… It’s also not just for those issues, but being able to know that if you come here, you’ll have degreed certified staff who are going to be able to help you in what you need.”

In exploring their campus and getting to know their personnel, it becomes clear that this is a medical fitness center that does more than focus on trendy exercise techniques. They seek to utilize exercises and methods that promote healthy living and preventive care that some traditional franchise gyms don’t.

“We’re a medically integrated center, only one of 40 centers of its kind in the country, with a staff that is MFA certified, and are connected to the hospital… We are the ‘crem de la crem’ of fitness,” Lott says. That certification is from the Medical Fitness Association, which is a professional membership organization that seeks to “ascertain and respond to the needs of medically integrated centers throughout the world.” The MFA is said to be “100 percent focused on medical fitness.”

Working as the director at a busy hub such as the Moorestown complex, Lott goes on to say that they don’t just help those with medical issues, but also those that need that extra push or change in their lives. This only goes to further prove that Virtua not only supplies the best and newest exercise programs, as well as health and nutrition education, but contributes to the total well-being of their clientele at any stage of their lives.

“We have a plethora of members, people who are coming in and preparing for triathlons, college students who are here, and others that love to run and strength-condition for the Broad Street Run for example. We also have a winter sports program that’s going on right now, where those that are skiers and those who love winter sports are in preparation with one of our trainers; so that this year they’re more competitive and do more than they could do before.”

This not only helps to serve the health-related focus of what Virtua believes in and offers the community, but gives individuals like Lott the chance to take some hard life lessons learned and turn them into positives. Having a father that suffered from ALS, she realizes the importance of preventive care as well as staying as healthy as possible even when medical issues may occur.

“My father was a person who was always into health and wellness. He exercised a lot and was an athlete, often riding his bike to work in all types of weather; and his job wasn’t close by… He did everything they tell you to do to live a long life. So when he was diagnosed with ALS, I personally believe that because of his healthy lifestyle, his diagnoses came a lot later than it could have. And he was very active until the end.”

This very much goes toward the core philosophy of taking the best from the worst, and her father is a great example of someone who did just that when faced with the negative. And it’s lessons like that which help educate those in a position to teach others to do so through their personal and professional lives. It’s especially helpful that Lott’s own personal philosophy is one that encourages movement and energy.

“Breathe and keep it moving. That’s something that I always say to myself or to other people; no matter what it is don’t get stuck, just keep it moving and breathe. It’s going to be okay, we have a lot of ebbs and flows in life, and to just continue to breathe through it is simple really.”

It’s logic like that, based on personal experience and professional lessons, that help those at Virtua like Lott provide the best knowledge for their client base, and help them focus on healthy living, and breathing.

Virtua Center for Health Fitness has facilities in Moorestown and Voorhees. For more information, call 856-291-8800 or visit VirtuaFitness.org.

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