For the first time in the fitness industry, a Canadian chain of exercise clinics has proven what academics have known for years: Exercise can be more effective than medications in treating many chronic diseases.
“Many international studies have shown the benefits of exercise, but we wanted to prove it with our members—average people, many who have multiple chronic health conditions, who often do not even enjoy exercise,” LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic founder and president Sara Hodson said. “Our clientele are not typical gym-goers and yet are making huge lifestyle changes and improving their health because of it.”
LIVE WELL (www.livewellclinic.ca) bridges a gap between fitness and health care. Chronic diseases are the leading cause of preventable death, and lifestyle modification is listed as the first-line treatment, ahead of medications, in national guidelines for most. But outside the academic realm, real-world outcomes from gyms and fitness centres are scarce. LIVE WELL has measured the vital signs and health outcomes—blood pressure, weight, heart rate, etc.—of hundreds of average people inside its clinics.
Kelownians now have the ability to LIVE WELL, as the company opened a clinic in the city on Nov. 5. If you want to take advantage you will have to act quickly, however, as the maximum number of members at the Kelowna clinic will be capped at 300 people.
LIVE WELL’s data proves it can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of many diseases, including heart disease, Type-2 diabetes and obesity. The new year is almost here, so there is no better time to make a change. At LIVE WELL, you don’t have to do it alone.
“Right from day one, with our intake, we dig very deep into medical history, medications and peripheral lifestyle information so that we really understand our members from the technical side,” Kelowna LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic director Cameron Biffart said. “Then we spend about an hour with them doing a full baseline assessment.”
Some of LIVE WELL’s findings, taken from a sample of 200 members who had been in the program six months, are as follows:
• An average drop in systolic blood pressure of 8.1 mmHG (6.5 per cent);
• Members with hypertension (systolic blood pressure over 140) saw an average reduction of 19.4 mmHG (13 per cent) in systolic blood pressure;
• The heaviest members experienced significant weight loss, an average of 26 pounds.
“The main area that we find as the key for people is the clinical supervision and oversight of our programs,” Biffart said. “Just knowing that ‘Hey, if I’ve got a heart condition and I’m in there exercising, somebody’s actually paying attention to what my heart rate is, what my blood pressure is doing and what I’m looking like. Am I looking like I’m overdoing it, or am I working out at about the right intensity level?’
“That’s the value of having clinical exercise physiologists and kinesiologists who are all university graduates providing that oversight.”
For every five per cent of body weight lost, the risk of premature death drops by seven per cent. According to a study in The Lancet, for every 10 mmHg reduction in blood pressure, there is a 13 per cent death risk reduction.
The health benefits of regular exercise to LIVE WELL members have been numerous, ranging from cancelling bariatric surgery, reducing anti-depressants, regaining mobility, getting off blood pressure medications and even reducing insulin. Where health care has struggled to adopt exercise as medicine for the patients who need it the most, LIVE WELL has created a model that achieves significant health outcomes in members with a range of chronic diseases.
The company is looking ahead to the day when doctors prescribe exercise as a matter of course instead of medications.
The Kelowna location joins 14 other LIVE WELL clinics in metro Vancouver and Ontario. Come in for a free “Try It” session or book a free program consultation by calling 250-869-8088 or email [email protected].
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Okanagan Edge.
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