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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

Virtua Centers for HealthFitness – The Fitness Wave of the Future

Sep 01, 2013 04:12PM ● By Linda Sechrist

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota recently completed a landmark study that found that people that went to the gym or fitness center at least eight times a month had significantly lower healthcare costs than those that did not. Frequent gym attendees had 39 percent fewer visits to the emergency room, 41 percent fewer hospital admissions and 18 percent lower overall claims costs.

In an era which many individuals have no health insurance and those that do have higher co-pays, a gym membership may be the most affordable way to keep healthcare dollars in consumers’ pockets. In fact, according to a Harvard Alumni Study, exercise pays you back double: Each hour of exercise adds two to your life.

Fitness managers at the Virtua Centers for HealthFitness in Moorestown, Voorhees and Washington Township all agree that the human body thrives on regular exercise. Staying fit and maintaining a healthy weight can contribute to significantly reduced risks for various diseases such as cancers (by as much as 60 percent), diabetes, heart disease, hypertension as well as other conditions.

Virtua’s unique medically integrated approach to healthy living is based upon the concept of working with members who have medical conditions as well as healthy individuals, who are interested in achieving a healthy mind and body. From developing a personalized fitness program, to improving overall fitness (flexibility, endurance, posture, balance, and coordination), to training for a competitive athletic event our personal trainers located at each site can create a cutting-edge program designed for success and provide extra motivation and encouragement. “We assist individuals who are referred by physicians as well as healthy and fit individuals, who work out because they believe exercise is a tool for prevention and wellness. I believe that the reason we do such a great job at serving such a diversity of people is because our philosophy is one of health and wellness rather than focusing on body image,” says Ford, the fitness trainer at the Moorestown Center.

Jaime Wood, fitness manager at the William G. Rohrer Center, has been observing a refreshing trend—physicians, health care providers and insurance providers are just beginning to consider fitness as medicine that compliments any prevention and wellness program. “Doctors are referring patients here before surgery to help offset any negative aspects post-surgery. They are seeing how our medically integrative approach can help patients prevent accidents and injuries, and sometimes even surgery,” says Wood.

Kristen Przybylski, fitness manager at the Washington Township Center, explains that members at each center are offered a standard program that consists of four appointments with a trainer. “These appointments include a consultation with a fitness trainer as well as an assessment of blood pressure, resting heart rate, body composition, endurance and flexibility. A strength training program is designed specifically for the individual’s needs, so the assessment is very important,” advises Przybylski.

A second appointment with the fitness trainer consists of an orientation to the correct use of the equipment and exercises. The following two appointments, spaced two weeks apart, allow for asking questions, assessing the workout and adding more exercises or intensity as needed. Three months later, members are re-assessed and fitness routines are reviewed for effectiveness. The protocol for members referred by physicians varies slightly.

The medical integration approach for individuals with specific health conditions requires more individualized attention and support. “We may suggest additional classes such as T’ai Chi or gentle exercise classes in our pool, etc. We send a progress report to their physician so they can see that their patient, perhaps diagnosed with borderline diabetes, was successful at body fat reduction and weight loss,” notes Ford.

Ford, Wood and Przybylski think of Virtua as the “country club of fitness centers” with exceptional amenities such as luxurious locker rooms with sauna, steam room, whirlpool, complimentary toiletries and towel service.

The Washington Township Center has a significant number of family memberships. “It’s great to see kids, as young as 12 years old, getting an early start on fitness,” notes Przybylski, who points out that kids classes, such as playground fitness, kickboxing, and yoga are available as well as childcare. “We are cutting-edge and part of a new wave of the future. Parents, who bring their children here, consider the experience as a family activity. This can happen because we aren’t a facility that caters only to individuals who want a hard body,” she says.

Compassion and caring are central values to Ford, Wood and Przybylski. “We are all interested in helping people to achieve their goals and overcome their physical and health challenges. Helping people to get their life back on track feels good,” they enthuse.

At the Virtua Center for HealthFitness, personal trainers are nationally certified and have obtained their degree in an exercise science field.

For additional information on facilities and classes offered visit

Virtua Center for Healthfitness in Washington Township, 239 Hurffville-Crosskeys Rd., Ste. 100, Sewell. 856-341-8111.

William G. Rohrer Virtua Center for HealthFitness, 2309 Evesham Rd., Voorhees. 856-325-5300

Virtua Center for Heal thFi tness in Moorestown, 401 Young Ave., Moorestown. 856-291-8800. 

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