It may sound crazy, but hospitals are hoping to gain some customers by losing them.
A newly expanded hospital-based fitness center in Woodbury promises to make clients healthier, thereby reducing visits to the hospital.
The Woodwinds Health Campus plans to hold an open house Wednesday for its revamped Ways to Wellness center.
Program director Brenda Navin said it's the first in the state to combine nutrition and fitness counseling.
Woodwinds' program joins other hospital-based public fitness centers, like the ExerCare Fitness Center at United Hospital in St. Paul.
Both programs compete with other fitness centers, including YMCAs and Life ime Fitness centers, in offering programs to the public. Both say they offer more personalized programs and a more educated staff and require no long-term memberships.
The 5-year-old program at Woodwinds has moved to a 7,000-square-foot area, more than four times the size of its old space. The facilities include four exercise rooms. They do not include showers, but Navin said those will be added soon.
Cost of the exercise sessions ranges from $50 for an individual 30-minute session to $765 for 12 hourlong sessions.
Group sessions with three or four people are cheaper. The cost is $20 each for a four-person session.
Several varieties of personal training sessions are offered, such as golf performance, yoga, pilates and kettlebells. Other sessions, with names like "Body Fusion" and "Campus Boot Camp," have larger
class sizes and are less expensive.
Navin said Ways to Wellness offers privacy for those who can't stand working out in groups. Most new customers are given one-on-one consultations and can exercise with just their trainer in the same room.
"It's not like you have to fit into a certain mold," Navin said. "At a big-box gym, you sign up for their programs and what they do. Here, we are all about customizing things for you."
Navin said the Ways to Wellness programs are not considered rehabilitation, which is prescribed by a doctor and paid by insurance. They are designed to maintain health for anyone, she said.
At the ExerCare Fitness Center in St. Paul, clients use the same facilities as the hospital's rehabilitation center.
Anyone can join, according to exercise physiologist Stephanie Duncan. Costs range from $71 for a single month to $46 per month when purchased for year. A punch card is also available and offers six visits for $10 each.
Duncan said the center is smaller and more personal than large-scale fitness clubs.
"We know everyone by name," she said.
The center puts an emphasis on training with workout assistants.
"You can get a treadmill anywhere, but what sets us apart is the staff," Duncan said. "You can walk up to us and say you hurt your back or your knee and ask us what you should be working on."
Bob Shaw can be reached at 651-228-5433.
What: Open house for Woodwinds' Ways to Wellness
When: 3-8 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Woodwinds Health Campus, 1825 Woodwinds Drive, Woodbury