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Published on February 01, 2022

Fitness vs Medical Fitness

It all comes down to personalization.


When it comes to fitness, all activity is great. But that doesn’t mean all types of fitness are necessarily the same. If you want to maximize your health, the individualized approach is the way to go.

That’s where medical fitness comes in. It’s a personalized exercise model built around your medical needs. 

Don Fogleman on row machine

Don Fogleman on row machine

But what sets medical fitness apart from a workout you would design for yourself? According to Michael Sabin, Sagewell’s general manager, there are three things that make it different.

  • Programming: So, you’ve completed “doctor’s orders” after an injury or after surgery. Maybe you’ve even finished cardiac rehab. Now what? A medical fitness facility not only offers the same type of fitness programs, but it also incorporates educational opportunities to help you better understand your health.
  • Expert Staff: With medical fitness, you can feel confident in the staff’s expertise. At Sagewell, Sabin says, there’s always a degreed, certified individual health and fitness specialist on duty who can answer your questions about equipment or explain specifics about your fitness plan based on your health history.
  • Medical Advisory: If you’re trying to hit a physician-prescribed target or stay on top of a particular condition, a medical advisory board or medical director provides guidance and oversight of Sagewell programs.

“Our goal is to focus on both prevention and management of disease,” Sabin says. “It’s important for us to assist clients in achieving whole person health and well-being.”

It’s a fitness model that has worked well for Don Fogleman, owner of home construction company Fogleman & Associates of NC, Inc. Fifteen years ago, at age 60, Fogleman – who never smoked and had no family history of cardiovascular disease – suffered a stress-related heart attack. After completing cardiac rehab, his doctor referred him to WellZone, a medical fitness facility at Alamance Regional Medical Center in Burlington. There, he learned to channel and release his stress by doing yoga and Pilates three to five days a week. With the help and guidance of WellZone staff, Fogleman learned to manage his stress rather than keeping it bottled inside.

“You can’t beat the instructions the gym staff give you. They’re extremely helpful in getting you started using the equipment, and the instructors are very well-suited for the programs they lead,” he says. “This has been a lifestyle change for me. Now, when I’m stressed, I’ll go to the gym and sweat it out. Having a medical fitness program has helped me with my stress level tremendously.”