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Northwestern Medicine Deploys Parkinson’s Programming Across Five Fitness Centers

July 15, 2022

Starting in May 2022, Northwestern Medicine deployed unified exercise programs for individuals living with Parkinson’s at all five medically integrated fitness centers in the Chicagoland area. These new and expanded classes represent months of collaboration between Northwestern Medicine clinicians and physicians and Power Wellness fitness specialists, who have received specialized Parkinson’s exercise certifications.

The Lake Forest Health & Fitness Center was the first of Northwestern Medicine’s locations to provide Parkinson’s specific exercise programming in 2015. Initially, donor-funded, these classes featured specialized cycling and dance activities. Fast forward to 2022, the Lake Forest Health & Fitness Center will offer nearly 25 weekly specialized classes ranging from strength and balance, to cycling, to Rock Steady Boxing™ to PWR! Moves™. According to Linda Egan, Parkinson’s Program Coordinator, “Parkinson’s disease can be very isolating. In-person exercise classes promote friendship, camaraderie, and even some friendly competition. Class participants support each other and build solid relationships during what is a challenging time in their lives.” Since its launch in 2015, the Lake Forest Health & Fitness Center has provided complimentary programming supporting hundreds of individuals living with Parkinson’s disease and their families.

“We know [from medically focused research] that exercise is the only tool available that may slow disease progression,” says Linda Egan. Initially, the Northwestern Medicine medically integrated fitness centers will offer Rock Steady Boxing™, a nationally recognized program specifically designed to improve coordination, balance, and stamina. Northwestern Medicine’s consolidated approach will help more people manage the physical, social, and emotional impact of the disease. Based on anticipated provider referrals and participant utilization, Northwestern Medicine expects to expand Parkinson’s exercise programming at all locations.

Parkinson’s exercise programming is open to members and the community-at-large, although members are charged less and receive preferential early enrollment. Center membership can also enhance the experience with access to additional amenities, such as warm water therapy classes and specialized equipment.

In the past five years, Northwestern Medicine has acquired several local healthcare systems with a system focus on clinically unified programs and protocols. The Parkinson’s exercise programming is a positive example of non-core service line standardization, building strong community connections, and driving clinical consolidation. 

About Northwestern Medicine

Northwestern Medicine is the shared strategic vision of Northwestern Memorial Healthcare and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine to transform the future of healthcare and become a premier integrated academic health system.  Each, 33,700 clinical and academic staff, medical and science faculty, and medical students come together with a shared commitment to superior quality, academic excellence, scientific discovery, and patient safety. For more information, please visit nm.org.

About Power Wellness Management, LLC

Power Wellness is the nation’s largest institutional fitness management company and a HIPAA compliant integrated wellness provider. Founded in 1996, Power Wellness has managed over 50 fitness centers for municipalities, healthcare systems, colleges, and community foundations. As of January 2022, Power Wellness was serving over 90,000 members with close to 2,000 team members nationwide. For more information, please visit powerwellness.com.