Exercise can be the best medicine

Dubbed the anti-gym, Live Well Exercise Clinic opens in Langley, offering customized fitness created by 'exercise physiologists'

Live Well Exercise Clinic founder Sara Hodson with Township mayor Jack Froese and owner of the new Langley Live Well Josh Bentley at the grand opening March 25.

Dubbed the “anti-gym,” a new type of exercise facility has opened in Langley, specializing in supervised fitness and healthy lifestyle coaching for people who have chronic health conditions or want to get back into fitness safely after a health episode.

Live Well Exercise Clinic provides customized medical fitness programs including coaching by ‘exercise physiologists’ who have kinesiology degrees to baby boomers with chronic diseases and those who are looking for a healthier lifestyle, but don’t know where to start.

This gym is not operated on a drop-in basis. Instead, members attend scheduled sessions, where there are no more than 12 participants. To create healthy habits, members are advised to come three times a week. If people don’t show up, the coaches will check in to find out why, said Langley Live Well clinic owner, Josh Bentley.

“We really want people to create healthy habits. We are invested in our members and want to see them succeed,” he said.

The focus is on how clients feel, not how they look.

“From cardiac (problems) or obesity to diabetes, exercise is very good medicine, and that’s why around 800 doctors are referring patients to our Live Well clinics.”

More than 60 per cent of people aged 50-64 are currently diagnosed with at least one chronic health condition as a result of obesity.

Live Well saw a gap in the healthcare system for utilizing exercise as medicine.

Bentley said the majority of Live Well’s clientelle are referred by doctors.

Located at 113 20353 64 Ave. Live Well has signed up 60 members in the month it’s been open. Six doctors are included among the new membership, said Bentley. It was a packed house at the grand opening last Thursday evening, where Bentley spoke.

‘The response has been unbelievable in Langley. Our clients are mainly babyboomers but we have members age 80 and some as young as 30,” Bentley said.

“Exercise is medicine. And while many doctors have advised their patients to go to a gym, most people go to the big gyms and get lost in the shuffle. It’s the perpetual story we hear, that they didn’t know how to use the equipment or tried, but didn’t stick with it,” said Bentley.

“We reverse engineered why people don’t go by making them accountable and creating a sense of community with small groups and customized plans for each person.”

Live Well also monitors each member’s blood pressure, heart rate and other vital signs to ensure they are exercising safely and not putting themselves at risk, while also keeping doctors apprised of their patients’ progress.

“Regular exercise at the right intensity can reduce the risk of premature death by up to 50 per cent,” said Sara Hodson, founder of Live Well, who attended the Langley opening.

For Langley Live Well member Charlene McMorris, the exercise clinic has been “just what the doctor ordered,” she said.

Last year, McMorris’ specialist at the Change Pain Clinic recommended that she would benefit from a guided exercise program after her two rotator cuff surgeries to rebuild strength.

But she wasn’t able to find a suitable program at a community centre and couldn’t afford a personal trainer. That’s when she discovered Live Well.

“I was so thrilled to learn that my exercise program would be custom-designed for me by Sarah McFadyen, the exercise physiologist,” she said.

“Every shape and size is welcomed, there is no body shaming. Sarah has done as promised and only ‘upped’ the workout for me when she saw that I was ready . . as such I trust in the process, I have lost four pounds in one month, which is a bonus but more importantly I feel so much better.”

To learn more go to livewellclinic.ca.