With the New Year comes New Year's resolutions. Gym memberships spike in January as millions of Americans vow to exercise, lose weight and focus on their health.
 
But joining a gym is about more than just fitting into that pair of jeans. Regular exercise provides many health and wellness benefits for everyone, and more hospitals and health systems are incorporating fitness centers as part of a growing clinical focus on preventative care. 
 
At Carilion Clinic, we've transformed local athletic facilities into Carilion Wellness centers. We offer programs for patients with Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and cancer survivors. Classes focus on strengthening core muscles, balance and flexibility to help patients with day-to-day tasks like carrying groceries, climbing steps or playing with grandchildren.
 
Hospitals around the country have implemented similar programs as clinicians focus on the benefits of regular exercise for patients suffering from chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, obesity and more. Regular exercise keeps people out of the hospital and living well.
 
Offering wellness services also gives us a chance to focus on health equity and to reduce disparities in health outcomes by making sure these services are available for every community.
 
Regular exercise is important for hospital workers too—it keeps us resilient despite our demanding work. That's why you won't catch me walking without my Fitbit while my dog, Henry, and I hit the road each day. Let's resolve to take the lead in our health and well-being!
 
Nancy Howell Agee 
AHA Chair