High-tech fitness tests, orthopaedic evaluation used to create personal exercise/nutrition regimen
Ever wonder how many calories you burn every day, compared to how many you actually consume? Or how much fat your body burns when you exercise? Or what type of aerobic activity helps you to burn fat most efficiently and promotes cardiovascular fitness?
Ask the fitness experts at Kernan Physical Therapy.
Drawing on years of experience in sports medicine and physical therapy for professional and collegiate athletes, Kernan Physical Therapy is now offering a comprehensive “wellness” program for the public at its centers in Timonium and Woodlawn. For $50 a month, members work out with state-of-the-art exercise equipment under the supervision of licensed physical therapists and certified athletic trainers.
“We wanted to combine our medical expertise with the latest in fitness testing to come up with a comprehensive program geared to a person’s goals and special needs,” says John P. Mahoney, P.T., the clinical director of Kernan Physical Therapy’s centers. “Many in the baby-boomer generation are finding they can’t do what they once did physically, and we can offer them a way to regain much of what they’ve lost – and do it safely.”
Steven B. Ehasz, M.E.S, C.S.C.S, an exercise physiologist and the wellness coordinator at Kernan Physical Therapy, says the multidisciplinary program is unlike any offered by area health clubs and gives members valuable information about their overall fitness and metabolism.
Those who sign up receive a medically-based fitness evaluation by an exercise physiologist as well as an orthopaedic assessment by a physical therapist to identify past injuries or medical conditions that would affect a person’s ability to exercise. A unique aspect of the service is a “personal wellness profile” based on a questionnaire that seeks to evaluate people’s lifestyles, identify potential health risks and suggest improvements. The computer-generated report addresses issues from nutrition and stress management to heart health and cancer risk.
As part of the fitness evaluation, Mr. Ehasz uses a laptop computer to conduct a series of tests to measure body fat, muscle strength, resting blood pressure and heart rate, flexibility, how well the body burns fuel during exercise and how much it burns at rest.
The exercise assessment, which takes about 10 minutes, is performed while a person works out on a treadmill or other stationary exercise equipment. “The test measures breath by breath the type of fuel your body burns at different heart rates,” Mr. Ehasz says. “It takes a snapshot of a person’s metabolism.”
With that information, Mr. Ehasz is able to identify a target heart rate at which a person burns the maximum amount of fat and to devise a personalized exercise program. He notes that people often exercise harder than is necessary and are discouraged when they don’t see results. “We want people to understand that you don’t have to starve yourself to lose weight or kill yourself to become fit,” Mr. Ehasz says.
He says that the exercise test, known as a sub-max VO2 test, which measures a person’s peak oxygen uptake and aerobic fitness, has been used by athletic trainers, but is not generally available to the public. “Nobody is doing VO2 testing in the general population,” he says. “We decided to offer it because it takes people’s knowledge of how their body is working to the next level of understanding.”
For those looking for a comprehensive weight loss and fitness program, Kernan Physical Therapy is offering Biometrics, which Mr. Ehasz calls the “gold standard” of weight management programs. “Biometrics is the only national weight loss and fitness program which not only teaches people how to plan, shop for and prepare nutritious meals, but also assists them with a unique exercise program which provides significant results in six weeks,” he says.
He says the program, which costs $600, focuses on changing body composition and improving muscle tone, not simply losing pounds. Those who enroll in Biometrics receive a complete body profile assessment, customized meal plans, shopping lists and recipes and work out three times a week with a personal trainer for six weeks. Men can average a 20 percent decrease in body fat and women a 15 percent decrease, plus lose inches off their waists and other areas of their bodies, Mr. Ehasz says.
Mr. Mahoney says that education is a key component of the wellness program, and new members have been impressed with the detailed information they receive. Mr. Ehasz adds, “We are providing a manual that people can follow to improve their health, fitness and overall well-being.”
Kernan hopes to attract residents of nearby communities to join the program and to spread the word to area physicians. “We want to educate primary care physicians and let them know there is an alternative to sending a patient with lower back pain to a specialist,” Mr. Mahoney says.
The initial evaluation costs $50 or more, depending on the level of testing and follow-up, with members paying $50 a month to work out at one of the centers and use the therapeutic pool at Kernan Hospital in Woodlawn. The centers—located at One Texas Station in Timonium and 3104 Lord Baltimore Drive in Woodlawn—are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Unlike many health clubs, members can join for a month at a time and do not have to sign a year’s contract.
Kernan Physical Therapy has provided physical therapy, rehabilitation and medically-based fitness services to many amateur, collegiate and professional athletes, including sports teams such as the Baltimore Colts, the Baltimore Orioles, the Baltimore Ravens, the Washington Bullets (now Wizards), the Baltimore Bayhawks and the Baltimore Blast.
For more information about the program, call Steven Ehasz at (410) 683-2110.
For patient inquiries, call 1-800-492-5538 or click here to make an appointment.