Medical Fitness and Personal Training

With the growing incidence of conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and other health conditions—as well as a growing population of elderly people—medical fitness has become a popular service offering in the personal training and physical therapy sectors. It involves medically guided and monitored exercise programs provided in either a one-on-one or group format. These programs account for each participant’s individual limitations and needs while allowing them to reap the benefits of exercise. A medical fitness professional’s approach to creating an individual exercise plan is similar to a physical therapist’s approach to creating a plan of care. The process begins with a pre-exercise assessment. The medical fitness professional will then obtain physician clearance, perform baseline fitness testing, and set goals. Finally, the client will receive a custom exercise program. Most facilities that offer medical fitness services cater to a wide spectrum of individuals, some of whom seek the services on a preventative—rather than disease management—basis. For physical therapy patients that do have exercise-limiting medical conditions—or those recovering from injury—a medical fitness program can serve as a bridge from traditional physical therapy to normal exercise. The range of facilities offering medical fitness services also is diverse, ranging from private businesses to hospital-based wellness centers. However, even though medical fitness programs often are delivered in a healthcare setting, most insurance plans do not cover medical fitness services. Instead, clients typically must pay for such training out-of-pocket.