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Medical Fitness Network Can Help Clubs Meet The Needs Of The Baby Boomers

Selling more memberships is the continual goal of every health club. Making that membership an important and constant part of a new member’s life is the major challenge. Clubs can easily attract the under 50 crowd who want to look fit and create a healthy lifestyle. Most clubs market to this group. It is more difficult to get and keep those whose whole focus is weight loss. To be successful here, clubs must create a diet plan and a lifestyle change in combination with exercise in order to achieve success. Both of these groups float in and out of club membership depending on how committed they become to achieving and maintaining their workout goals and to what degree they have achieved success.

The biggest untapped market for health clubs is the 100 million Baby Boomers over 50. They make up 30% of the potential market and control three-fourths of America’s wealth. This group is becoming increasingly aware that they need to seek help to maintain their aging bodies. Once the “boomers” become dedicated club members, they have the great long term potential to become “forever” members of your club and to spend considerable money on club amenities.This is the largest segment in our economy with the greatest percentage of wealth, so why aren’t more clubs making an obvious effort to bring this group into the club and make it an important part of their operation?

As baby boomers age, they must remain active to help prevent injuries and illnesses associated with aging. As he/she ages, the “boomer” may face any number of physical conditions including joint replacements, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, arthritis, Parkinson’s, osteoporosis and muscle loss. The number of aging “boomer” individuals seeking fitness professionals may be so great that having enough available staff is about to reach a critical tipping point. The demand for fitness professionals is expected to jump 13% in the next decade according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (2014-15 edition).

Is your club prepared to fill this need with a fitness staff certified to fill these particular needs?

According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC) 80% of older adults have one chronic medical condition, and 50% have 2 or more. Public health efforts are focused on promoting health and functional independence as critical strategies in helping older adults stay healthy and live independently. Regular physical activity is becoming a globally accepted strategy to promote and preserve the “boomer’s” health. Clubs are in a perfect position to fill the fitness need for this whole segment of the population. They already have the tools and have or can find personnel to meet this need. Clubs are in a position to develop a plan for regular exercise with each of these individuals.

Is your club using this ability as part of your sales process to bring new “boomers” into your club?

A qualified fitness professional can be an essential partner in developing a progressive or maintenance fitness program for older members. Developing a program for people with chronic medical conditions can be a challenge. Individuals with chronic medical conditions need to find a fitness professional that has specialty training and who understands their needs and limitations. These clients, once thought of as the exception, are now becoming the norm. There are more and more of them every year. They are seeking the best from our industry to serve them. Fitness professionals working with the aging must have a higher level of expertise, knowledge and skill.

Are you encouraging your staff to expand their skills to work with this ever growing segment of the population?

The most valuable additions you can include in your club’s resume are specialty certification and CEU’s to help work with this population. There are many companies who offer continuing education opportunities to work with this age group. A few of them are: Cancer Exercise Training Institute, DSW Fitness/Human Kinetics, Functional Aging Institute, Fitness Learning Systems, GeriFit, and American Academy of Health & Fitness. Also available to help clubs is the Medical Fitness Network.

Would you like to learn more about how your club can serve this growing segment of the community and attract possible long-term new members for your club?

Becoming a member of the Medical Fitness Network for only $99 can expose your club and its fitness professionals to the top medical organizations in the United States. The Medical Fitness Network (MFN) is one of the fastest growing national networks of fitness, allied healthcare professionals and facilities interested in being part of a super national registry for the top medical organizations in the U.S. These organizations represent those with chronic disease/medical conditions including but not limited to: Alzheimer’s, Arthritis, Cancer, Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, Heart Disease, Mental Disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Respiratory Disease and Stroke. MFN is an online resource for seeking well-trained fitness and healthcare professionals that include: acupuncturists, chiropractors, dietitians, fitness/yoga, health & wellness coaches, massage therapists, and physical therapists.

MFN is proud to be the national resource provider for the following growing list of medical and health Organizations: The Arthritis Foundation, The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, Breast Cancer Wellness Magazine, Cancer Support Community, MS Fitness Challenge, The National Osteoporosis Foundation, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, Women Survivors Alliance, World Parkinson’s Program, Zero the End of Prostate Cancer, PHIT America. The Medical Fitness Network is listed on each of these organization’s web pages as a resource for individuals seeking and locating qualified fitness and allied health professionals.

The Medical Fitness Network has three founders: Dr. John Heydt, CEO of UC Riverside Health, Sr. Assoc Dean of Clinical Affairs; Dr. David Kruse, orthopedic physician at the Orthopedic Specialty Institute of Orange, who also serves as Athlete Care Coordinator for the US Olympic Team; and Lisa Dougherty, owner of Whole Body Fitness.

MFN has been volunteer driven since its creation in 2013. MFN was founded because these individuals saw the need to connect people with chronic medical conditions with fitness and allied health professionals. They envisioned a “super registry” of these professionals and facilities. MFN drives consumer traffic to its member facilities via listings on its affiliated organization’s web sites, social media, and ad placements in a number of magazines. MFN’s board currently consists of over 20 volunteers and MFN has over 100 national business partners supporting the mission of providing healthcare referrals.

Physical therapist gesturing thumbs up besides senior woman on yoga ballFacilities interested in joining the Medical Fitness Network receive a full page advertisement on the MFN website, as well as the ability to feature each of their qualified fitness and healthcare professionals in the data base. Currently MFN has a promotional offer of $99 for the first year (regular $199/yr) to become part of the network. Interested clubs can learn more about all the benefits and sign up at
medicalfitnessnetwork.org/facility-signup/.

All fitness and allied professionals working at your club are granted an individual membership under your facility listing. They have access to discounted certifications and courses on any of the sponsored medical conditions as well as discounts from over 100 companies that support this network. All monies received from membership dues goes towards supporting this project and allows MFN to donate all of their services to medical and health organizations. MFN maintains this “super registry” for the community at no charge to the users. If your staff is looking for continuing education and additional certification in these fields, MFN has created a national continuing education and events calendar listing all opportunities for courses. More than fifty education companies have come together to offer member clubs and individual trainers discounts on courses, workshops and events. Courses are listed with dates on the MFN site. This is a great resource for trainers wanting to enhance and expand their current skills.

By utilizing MFN’s services, your club can be an active participant in making the lives of all baby boomers as good as they can be. If you have any questions about MFN or want to become a member of this network, please contact Dian D’Itri at 949-478-5202 or email at Diana@MedicalFitnessNetwork.Org.


Lisa 10.14 cropOriginally published in California Clubs of Distinction (CCD) Quarterly News Update, February 2016. PDF article available for download.

Lisa Dougherty founded Whole Body Fitness in 1999. She graduated from the University of CA, Irvine, Fitness Instructor Program, and is a Certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach through the American Council on Exercise. She has specialty certifications to work with those with medical conditions, post surgical/rehab as well as pre & postnatal fitness. Course work includes: Heart Disease, Breast Cancer Recovery, MS, Parkinson’s, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s/Dementia, Arthritis, Respiratory Disease, Fibromyalgia, Knee and hip replacement, and Pre and Postpartum fitness. Lisa founded the Medical Fitness Network in 2013. Lisa can be reached at lisa@medicalfitnessnetwork.org.

MFN Founder and Master Trainer