A Very Berry Way to Melt Away Stress

January 11, 2022 Leave a comment
Frosted Berry stress-relieving services at Cooper Spa

Start 2022 with Our Seasonal Spa Special. (It’s the Berries!)

It’s no secret the holiday season can be a bit stressful. OK, who are we kidding? Between last-minute shopping, holiday parties and making treats for your kids’ teachers, holidays can be a LOT stressful.

With the new year here, Cooper Spa has the perfect antidote to stress—our Frosted Berry Pedicure and Facial featuring vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants and essential oils your thirsty skin will soak up like a sponge. These luxurious services soothe your senses and relax your body with the fragrance of fresh berries. Two seasonal services you do not want to miss!

Frosted Berry Pedicure: 60 minutes, $75

More than a pedicure, our Frosted Berry Pedicure is an immersive experience—one that begins to melt stress away the second your weary feet slide into a warm, fragrant bath. Ahhh… After a luxurious soak, a berry-scented moisturizing emollient is deeply massaged into your feet and calves (yes, it’s as heavenly as it sounds), after which a Frosted Berry scrub is gently applied, exfoliating all that rough, dry skin.

Next, cuticles are trimmed, nails are buffed and cuticle oil is rubbed in. A yummy- scented mask is then massaged into your feet and legs all the way up to your knees. Legs and feet are wrapped in warm towels for five minutes so your skin can absorb the benefits of the treatment. (Will the bliss never end?)

After soaking up the amazing, therapeutic benefits of the mask, legs and feet are rinsed and massaged with a luxurious berry-scented, moisture-sealing lotion. In the final step, your polish color of choice is meticulously applied, leaving you with beautiful toenails, a relaxed outlook on life and skin that’s aglow with good health.

Frosted Berry Facial: 75 minutes, $140

Designed for maximum cleansing, exfoliation and hydration, our Frosted Berry Facial delivers immediate, gratifying results. Your skin will appear firmer and plumper, revitalized and downright luminous. All with no downtime!

“Sun, pollution, smart devices, food and genetics can all have a negative effect on skin,” said Lisa Boyle, Cooper Spa manager. “At Cooper Spa, we use only science-based products designed to help mitigate damage, combat signs of aging and help restore that youthful, healthy glow.”

The eight-step Frosted Berry Facial begins with a customized Firm Skin Cleanser to rid skin of impurities and toxins stressful times often bring. Afterward, Eminence® Organic Mangosteen Mist is applied to help balance your skin’s oils and stimulate collagen production.

Your skin is then prepped for the all-important exfoliation process with an application of Eminence Organic Bright Skin Exfoliating Peel. Once the prep is completed a thin layer of Arctic Berry Enzyme Exfoliant is manipulated into the skin. Steps two and three include the application and timed processing of additional Arctic Berry products formulated to penetrate layers of skin and reveal the more youthful-looking skin underneath. The exfoliation process finishes with an oh-so-soothing chamomile toner.

As the busyness of the holidays becomes a distant memory and you’re ready to walk out the door looking luminous and feeling great, you’ll receive one final spritz of Mangosteen Mist, followed by an application of Bamboo Firming Fluid or Arctic Berry Peptide Cream, based on your skin type. (Stress? What stress?)

Think it can’t get any more indulgent? Think again. The luxurious Blueberry Massage Soufflé may just give you an out-of-body experience as it’s gently massaged into your skin after which a Firm Skin Masque is applied.

Don’t miss out on these stress-relieving services. Our Frosted Berry Spa Special ends February 25, so book your appointment now. Call 972.392.7729 to reserve your facial or pedicure. For Cooper Spa’s complete menu of services, visit cooperspa.com.

Healthy Holiday Alternatives

December 9, 2021 Leave a comment

While the holidays bring family and friends together, they also offer plenty of tasty temptations to overindulge in high-calorie treats. Cooper Clinic registered dietitian nutritionists share healthy spins on your holiday feasts this year to maintain instead of gain.


Eating a salad before the holiday meal can help fill you up so you are more inclined to eat smaller portions of higher calorie foods. I always include a salad with dark, green leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale. You can even add festive toppings such as roasted pumpkin seeds or dried cranberries.

It is important to not skip meals the day of your holiday celebrations, especially breakfast. Skipping meals can lead to overeating indulgent foods at holiday festivities.

I highly recommend sticking with your exercise routine through the holiday season. Fatty, high-calorie holiday foods can make you feel sluggish, and physical activity is a great way to stay energized and burn the extra calories consumed. Enrolling your family and friends in a holiday themed 5K run or simply taking a walk around the neighborhood after your holiday meal can be fun and relaxing ways to stay active with your family and friends.

Amber Grapevine, MS, RDN, LD

If you find yourself with a holiday sweet tooth, opt for fresh fruits instead of sugary treats. Cranberries, pomegranates and cherries offer sweet, unique flavors that complement many dishes. In addition, seasonal vegetables such as butternut squash, Brussels sprouts and leeks can be roasted to caramelization perfection in the oven, lending a sweet flavor to your holiday dishes.

Focus on flavor when cooking up your festive foods and use herbs and spices to reduce the salt. Even cinnamon can be used for a savory taste. Plant oils can also serve as a healthier substitution for butter in stuffing or sweet potato casserole.

Try a few of these plant-based side dishes using popular seasonal produce this time of year.


  • Beets
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Chard
  • Collard greens
  • Eggplant
  • Kale
  • Parsnips


  • Apples
  • Clementines
  • Cranberries
  • Pears
  • Persimmons
  • Pomegranates

Remember to watch your portions as well, so you can enjoy the meal without feeling stuffed like your Christmas dinner turkey!

Traci Sheahan, RDN, LD

Along with extra calories, holiday parties, happy hours and family get-togethers can include increased alcohol consumption (for those who choose to partake). However, more alcohol equals more calories our bodies need to burn off. Ever wonder why the New Year brings a few extra pounds with it? Alcohol calories can quickly add up! These mocktail alternatives are equally as refreshing as they are festive and an excellent way to keep the flavor while cutting down on calories this holiday season.

Festive mocktails
With only 82 calories per 5 ounces, this simple spritzer recipe serves as a healthier alternative to regular wine spritzers with a cranberry-lime twist.

Cranberry-Lime Spritzer

In a large pitcher mix:

  • 11.5 oz. frozen cranberry juice concentrate, thawed
  • 32 oz. sparkling water
  • 4 fresh limes, juiced

Pour five ounces of mixture in a martini glass and add a spring of fresh rosemary and fresh cranberries.

Curb the typical Cosmopolitan calories with this cheery pomegranate mocktail which contains only 52 calories per 6 ounces.

Pomegranate Martini Mocktail

  • 2 oz. pomegranate juice
  • 1 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice
  • ½ oz. lime juice
  • 2 oz. sparkling water

Add pomegranate juice, orange juice and lime juice to a glass of crushed ice and stir. Top with sparkling water to fill the glass. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, lime or orange slices and a sprig of fresh mint or rosemary.

Embrace holiday cheer with this skinny spin on a classic eggnog recipe, weighing in with just 107 calories per 4 ounces.

Skinny Eggnog

  • 3 cups 1% milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  1. Heat 2 ½ cups milk in a medium saucepan.
  2. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add seeds and pod to the saucepan and simmer over medium heat.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar and cornstarch until it turns light yellow.
  4. Temper the eggs by gradually pouring the hot milk mixture one cup at a time into the egg mixture while whisking constantly.
  5. Pour the mixture back into the pan. Place over medium heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the eggnog begins to thicken, about 6-7 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and immediately stir in remaining ½ cup milk to stop the cooking.
  7. Remove the vanilla pod, let the mixture cool and transfer it to a pitcher. Chill until ready to serve.
  8. Portion into glasses and garnish with grated nutmeg.

Consistency is key to staying on track with your healthy habits during the holidays. Celebrate with these practical tips and cheers to health and wellness this season.

To schedule a one-on-one nutrition consultation or learn more about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Hydrating Spa Treatments for Fall

November 7, 2021 Leave a comment

Hydrate head-to-toe this fall. As the leaves change with the turn of the season, so should your skin care routine in preparation for cooler temperatures and drier skin. Recharge your skin with these nourishing Cooper Spa treatments that are just as hydrating as they are relaxing.


Does your skin feel tired? Give your skin a wake-up call with a moisturizing face lift. Using SkinCeuticals® products made with vitamin C, our SkinCeuticals® Firming Facial is ideal for dehydrated, aging and environmentally-damaged skin leaving you with a healthy glow.

For ultra-hydration, our Antioxidant Hydrating Facial recharges extremely dry skin with essential lipids and moisture-binding elements. Powerful antioxidants also help intercept skin-damaging oxidants that may contribute to future skin damage.

Pro tip: For a little extra glow, add a Moroccanoil® Leave-In Hair Treatment enhancement onto your facial. Infused with antioxidant-rich argan oil and shine-boosting vitamins, this conditioning treatment will leave your hair rejuvenated and smooth.

Body treatments

Looking for a treatment to cover all your bases? Our Ultimate Hydration Ritual is a client favorite, restoring elasticity and leaving the skin noticeably healthier looking. A full-body dry brushing and orange peel scrub to gently exfoliate the skin is followed by a soothing shower rinse. The service is finished with a hot stone application with Moroccanoil® Botanical Intense Hydrating Treatment, designed to lock in moisture and maintain a healthy glow.

Mani-pedi combos
Prop your feet up and enjoy our fragrant Nourishing Almond Manicure. Rich in jojoba oil and vitamin E, this service will leave your feet well hydrated and feeling satin-smooth.

Transform the appearance of dry, tired hands with our Revitalizing Pedicure. Using ultra-moisturizing cupuacu butter and antioxidant-rich white tea extract, this luxurious manicure delivers a powerful boost of collagen in the skin.

Give your skin a fresh start this fall with a variety of services and products offered at Cooper Spa. To schedule an appointment or purchase a gift card, visit cooperspa.com or call 972.392.7729.

Categories: Cooper Updates

A Legacy Worth Celebrating

October 11, 2021 Leave a comment

Next month, we honor 90 years of life of our founder and the “Father of Aerobics,” Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, along with the 50th anniversary of The Cooper Institute at our 2021 Legacy Celebration. This special event allows us to reflect on the accomplishments of the past and looks ahead to future initiatives as we continue to improve the quality and quantity of live through The Cooper Institute’s valuable research. Learn more about Cooper’s story and ways you can contribute to the future of fitness.

From a shoe box to a world-renowned study

Dr. Cooper has devoted his life to improving the health and well-being of the Dallas community and the world. He founded The Cooper Institute in June 1970, six months prior to opening Cooper Clinic. In the early days of his practice, he collected consented patient data in a shoe box with the goal of preventing disease before it starts. This was just the beginning of the public-private partnership between Cooper Clinic and The Cooper Institute—“His brilliant model has allowed us to collaboratively prove that exercise is essential to good health,” says Laura DeFina, MD, President and CEO of The Cooper Institute.

That “shoe box” has evolved into what is now the largest study in the world of measured fitness referred to as the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study (CCLS). Containing more than 2.2 million person-years of observation from more than 116,000 patients, this world-renowned collection of data is unique in nature due to its focus on healthy habits to inform and direct preventive medical care.

Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper conducting treadmill stress test on Roger Staubach in 1980s.

DeFina notes that “the difference between our CCLS and other studies is that we focus on people who are well whereas most studies are focused on people who are ill.” By studying healthy individuals and their lifestyles, The Cooper Institute has established the links between being fit and the prevention of chronic disease. Dr. Cooper firmly believes no drug can replicate the benefits of an active lifestyle and routinely shares research from leading health organizations proving more than 76% of chronic disease and 45% of cancers to be preventable.

The preventive power of fitness

The Cooper Institute’s research has shown that fitness has a profound impact on your wellness and length of your life.  Throughout our 50 years, The Cooper Institute has proven higher fitness levels to be associated with:

  • 58% decreased risk of dying from all-causes
  • Lower cardiovascular disease
  • Significantly lower risk of dementia later in life
  • Decreased risk of certain cancers

The continued emphasis on fitness as a means of reducing mortality risk has also been instrumental in Dr. Cooper establishing FitnessGram®—the most widely used health-related youth fitness assessment tool in the world. In 2007, Dr. Coper brought physical education back into Texas schools and initiated fitness assessments to improve our children’s health through the passing of Texas Senate Bill 350. Data drives decisions and shows healthy children become fit adults. “It’s easier to raise a healthy child, than to heal a sick adult,” says Dr. Cooper. By equipping children with the tools necessary to make healthy choices they will benefit from well into their adulthood, we are ultimately able to decrease the cost of health care.

Dr. Cooper believes “It is more beneficial and cost effective to prevent disease than it is to find a cure.” Obesity is a major contributor to increasing the cost of health care in the United States. Preventable, obesity-related chronic diseases cause 7 in 10 deaths and account for 75% of the $3.6 trillion spent annually on medical care. With obesity rates at an all-time high, especially in adolescents, The Cooper Institute’s ongoing research is crucial now more than ever.

Contribute to the legacy

Help us continue to fulfill Dr. Cooper’s vision of life-changing research and education by ensuring the legacy of The Cooper Institute. All donations go directly toward research and programming. Your support aids in improving the quality and quantity of life in astounding ways—one healthy choice at a time.

To learn more, about our Legacy Celebration, visit cooperinstitute.org/Legacy.

Categories: Cooper Updates

A Day in the Life of a Cooper Trainer

September 13, 2021 Leave a comment

Do you wonder what a typical day looks like for a personal trainer? Cooper Fitness Center Professional Fitness Trainer Robert Treece takes you through his day hour by hour, sharing his favorite healthy habits along the way.

3:30 a.m. — Rise and grind

The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is drink a plant-based protein shake for a nutritious start to my day. Then I take my supplements which consist of a multivitamin, omega-3, zinc, probiotics and vitamin D3.

4 a.m. — Work out before work

I exercise seven days a week in my home gym. A typical workout starts with lateral band walks and shoulder band exercises as a warmup, then 35 minutes of weight training and 15 minutes of HIIT on my air resistance bike. It’s important to get your cardio training in, so I mix in a three-mile run three times a week, too.

Exercising consistently challenges me to be the best I can be for my family, clients and fellow professional fitness trainers.

5:30 a.m. — Train clients

A typical workday involves training 15-20 clients. People often ask me if I work out with my clients, but I like to fully focus on their form and technique in order to give them the highest quality training sessions. My morning workout is sacred time and a necessity for me to operate at my best for the remainder of the day.

8:30 a.m. — Morning refuel

Overnight oats are full of fiber, protein, magnesium and potassium and are an ideal mid-morning snack after an early workout.

12:30 p.m. — Lunchtime

I order healthy and delicious pre-made meals which are delivered directly to my door each week. My meals always include a balance of lean protein, carbohydrates and fat and are incredibly convenient to simply heat up and enjoy on long workdays in between training clients.

3:30 p.m. — Afternoon snack break

At this point in the day, I like to refuel with a protein bar or some Greek yogurt with fruit to carry me through the last of my training sessions. I also aim to drink at least 100 ounces of water per day. I’ve found if I keep my favorite water bottle filled and available throughout the day, it helps to ensure I stay hydrated.

5:30 p.m. — Destress with soccer

While I usually prefer to exercise solo, I also love playing a game of pick-up soccer with friends after work. This is a great stress-reliever and also helps me transition from the workday to my nighttime routine.

7:00 p.m. — Dinner is served

My wife and I order fresh meals from one of my favorite clients who owns a catering business. We appreciate that we don’t have to sacrifice the nutritional value for convenience of takeout. Many people enjoy meal prepping healthy options on the weekend, but we have found this option to be the best fit for our active and busy lifestyles.

8:30 p.m. — Time to snooze

Going to bed early helps me balance work and my own fitness journey as a personal trainer. Consistency is the key in developing discipline. Developing a routine enables you to create positive healthy habits and leaves less room to make excuses.

Motivation pro tip

When I go through times in life when I am less motivated to exercise and make healthy food choices, I try to break the cycle by mixing up my exercise routine or focusing on becoming disciplined in one specific healthy habit to help get me back on track. Remember, discipline takes effort until it becomes a habit. By challenging your current state with discipline, it changes your mindset which ultimately changes your actions.

We all have busy schedules, and it can be easy to lose motivation and difficult to find time to fit in workouts. This is why it is crucial to prioritize exercise! Put it in your calendar and treat it like any other meeting or appointment so you don’t let yourself off the hook. Whether it’s hitting the gym in the morning before work, taking a walk on your lunch break or attending a group exercise class after work, find the time of day that works best for you, your energy levels and schedule.

​For more information about Cooper Fitness Center or to schedule a session with a Professional Fitness Trainer, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com or call 972.233.4832.

Categories: Cooper Updates

From Poor Health to American Ninja Warrior

Weslee Meador, Facilities Manager at Louisiana Workers Compensation Corporation (LWCC), a Cooper Wellness Strategies client, credits the wellness staff at his workplace in helping him change his life for the better. He reflects how the onsite LWCC staff, Jeff Barbera, Fitness Manager, and Landon Chastant, Fitness Specialist, gave him the support and tools needed to accomplish a longtime goal and lifetime dream.

Wes Meador competing for American Ninja Warrior

I started working at LWCC in October 2018, weighing in at 235 lbs. and sporting size 38 waist pants. I was headed in a direction all too familiar to my family of poor health—including high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels and heart disease. I decided my family and I deserved better than that. Prior to coming to LWCC I started improving my health, thanks to more nutritious eating and somewhat of an exercise regimen. When interviewing for my current role, one of the main draws was the onsite exercise facility and wellness programs offered. I was impressed with the company’s dedication to their employees with the wellness program. I expected the typical corporate gym, but maybe a bit nicer with a shower. Essentially, I expected Vienna sausage but what I got was Filet Mignon (or a rare Ribeye in my personal taste). I was pleasantly surprised by the expansive facility and expert knowledge of the fitness staff to help employees reach their health and fitness goals.

Jeff and Landon took my health and fitness goals and elevated them to a whole new level I didn’t know was possible. I told them my ultimate goal was to go from “Dad bod” to “Ninja Dad” and be taken seriously when I applied to compete on “American Ninja Warrior.” Unlike many others, they listened and didn’t guffaw or discourage. They nodded and agreed enthusiastically, “Let’s do this!” At the time, I was following what I thought was a solid diet and exercise program. I shared this with Jeff and Landon, and they worked that into a customized program fitting perfectly within my goals. I had the drive and determination and they gave me the direction to make my dream happen.

Since 2018, I have worked out at least two days per week including a mixture of body weight training and calisthenics, ninja training on my own and cardio, functional training and weight training with Cooper.

Pre-COVID, I weighed 205 pounds and had approximately 12% body fat.

Fast forward to January 2021—I submitted my application to “American Ninja Warrior” again, expecting to be rejected for the third time. Like many, I had slipped in my training and accountability, thanks to COVID and its debilitating effects on gyms, families, jobs and people. My weight had crept back up to 216 when I got the call on January 8 that I was selected to compete this year among 400 competitors. I’d finally made it! I met with Landon and Jeff immediately to evaluate where I was and where I wanted to be in 11 weeks by the end of March—lean, strong and ready to compete in the ultimate obstacle course challenge. Once again, they gave me the blueprints and I went to work. Jeff and Landon supported me with a custom workout plan and made tweaks as I progressed helping me reach my top fitness level. I weighed in at the competition in March at 200 lbs. I’m proud to say I advanced beyond half the competition field in my “American Ninja Warrior” debut—what is hopefully the first of many opportunities to compete in this grueling challenge!

I strive to be a humble man, and as such, I know I owe my success to those around me, especially the Cooper Wellness Strategies employees here at LWCC, Jeff and Landon. I invited them both to sit on my virtual sideline during the “American Ninja Warrior” taping—so if my footage airs, you’ll see Jeff’s smiling grin in the background of my run! I wish I could tell you more about my shot on the show—let’s say that I did better than I expected but didn’t get all the results I wanted. You can see the results in this season of “American Ninja Warrior,” and I’m so thankful for two of the finest Cooper teammates right here at LWCC.

AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR ““Qualifiers 1” Episode 1302 — Pictured: Wes Meador — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

To learn more about Cooper Wellness Strategies’ services, including designing and managing corporate fitness programs, visit cooperwellness.com or call 972.560.3263.

Concierge Medicine FAQ

Investing in your health reaps benefits that last a lifetime. At Cooper Clinic, we believe your present and future health deserve quality care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our Platinum concierge medicine program integrates preventive and primary care, fitness, nutrition and life balance in order to provide comprehensive care, looking at your health needs from all 360 degrees.

Executive Director of Cooper Clinic Platinum Roni GonzalezDunn unpacks how concierge medicine is designed and implemented to maximize your quality of life now and for years to come.

What is concierge medicine?

Also known as retainer medicine or boutique medicine, concierge medicine is an enhanced personalized relationship between you and your primary care physician. Concierge medicine is designed for the individual who is interested in obtaining and maintaining good health through having a close personal relationship with a physician. By paying a membership fee, you are paired with a physician who is accessible 24/7. In concierge care, insurance may or may not be accepted depending on the facility and physicians see less patients in order to give each patient adequate time and attention for optimal care. 

Many physicians have opted to go concierge as it provides more time to have meaningful conversations with their patients and provide a high-touch approach to their medical care. This is exactly how the trajectory of Cooper Clinic Platinum began in 2010.

What sets Cooper Clinic Platinum concierge medicine apart?

Having our own laboratory, imaging, dermatology, cardiology, nutrition, gastroenterology services and fitness center in one location makes Cooper Clinic your one-stop-shop for all your health needs. In contrast to Cooper Clinic’s comprehensive preventive exam, the Platinum program also offers primary and acute care, such as sick office visits and follow-up care on chronic issues, in addition to the preventive services Cooper Clinic provides.

Cooper Clinic does not accept insurance or Medicare but will file medical visits and procedures to the patient’s insurance upon request. Depending on your insurance provider, you may or may not receive reimbursement.

Cooper Clinic Platinum physicians (pictured left to right): Christopher Abel, MD; Riva Rahl, MD; Michael Chapman, MD; Emily Hebert, MD; Steven Lilly, MD, MBA.

How does the Platinum team support a patient’s needs?

Everyone on the Platinum team plays a role in supporting the patient in their health care journey. Our 13-member team consists of:

  • Five physicians
  • Six patient advocates
  • One assistant patient advocate
  • One registered nurse

Each paying Platinum member has an assigned physician and patient advocate that will assist them with their personalized medical needs. Our team is in continuous communication with patients by email, call or text for primary and acute care needs. This includes scheduling and providing services at Cooper Clinic or needs involving an external specialist.

What is the patient journey like as a Platinum member?

The first step is to talk to a Platinum representative to discuss the program in detail. Once it is determined concierge membership is the appropriate program for you, the second step requires you to have a comprehensive preventive medical exam at Cooper Clinic. Upon completion of your preventive exam, an assigned Platinum physician will recommend which tier of the program best fits your health care needs. Based on the physicians’ recommendations, the patient advocate assists you with coordinating personalized ongoing care. 

What are the perks of Platinum membership?

Our goal is to provide all the tools and resources necessary for our members to experience the highest quality and quantity of life. We encourage Platinum members to take advantage of the extensive list of Cooper perks and discounts available to them including:

  • Complimentary annual Cooper Clinic comprehensive preventive exams
  • Complimentary Cooper Fitness Center membership
  • Special pricing on Cooper Complete vitamins and supplements, Cooper Clinic cosmetic dermatology procedures and restorative products and treatments at Cooper Spa
  • Preferred pricing at Cooper Hotel
  • Assistance with emergency room visits

How long does it take for members to get in contact with their physicians?

All patient calls and emails are returned in a timely manner. Depending on the medical urgency and physician recommendation, members are typically able to see their physician that same day or the next business day. While we are not an emergent care facility, all members are given their Platinum physician’s cell number. There is always a physician available to assist with non-emergent medical needs, even after hours. 

Cooper Clinic Platinum membership is a worthwhile investment in yourself that provides unmatched quality care and benefits. By giving priority access to physicians, removing time constraints and establishing individualized care plans, the Platinum concierge medicine team can be lifelong partners in your health.

Learn more about Cooper Clinic preventive exams and Cooper Clinic Platinum 24/7 preventive and primary care.

Categories: Cooper Updates

What Is Medical Fitness?

According to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), there were 39,750 fitness centers/health clubs of all types in the U.S in 2019. Other sources estimate the number of “medical fitness centers” in 2019 were approximately 1,460 or 3.5% of total health clubs. You might be wondering what the difference is between a fitness center and a medical fitness center. While they are indeed similar, there is a fundamental difference between the two. Cooper Wellness Strategies Vice President David Evans, FMFA, looks at the rise of medical fitness, who it serves and how it differs from traditional exercise programming or a standard gym or fitness center.

In his book Medical Fitness Essentials, Robert Boone states “the first known medical fitness center was started by Dr. Kenneth Cooper in 1970 following the tremendous success of his book Aerobics, which advocated aerobics exercise as an essential component of a comprehensive wellness and prevention program.” Indeed, Dr. Cooper’s pioneering vision set the stage for the emergence of the preventive health, wellness and fitness industries the entire world benefits from today. Globally these sectors are now multi-billion dollar industries.

Cooper Aerobics Activity Center—now Cooper Fitness Center—was the original prototype for today’s multi-purpose fitness centers that provide a variety of cardiovascular and strength training exercise equipment, exercise classes and programs. By contrast, “workout gyms” prior to 1970 focused almost exclusively on strength training for men only and primarily used free weights, Olympic bars, power racks and dumbbells for training with very limited, if any, cardiovascular exercise options. Dr. Cooper is credited with introducing and emphasizing the importance of cardiovascular exercise to not only the fitness industry, but also to the health care industry and the world.

So what is medical fitness? By definition, the term medical means “relating to illness and injuries and to the treatment or prevention thereof.” When applied to the definition of fitness—the condition of being physically fit and healthy—medical fitness means improving the fitness and health of individuals with illness or injury through the “treatment” of exercise. This is not to be confused with rehabilitation, which relates to clinically supervised treatment (for example, cardiac rehab, physical therapy, etc.) after a patient receives medical care related to an episode of illness (for example, heart attack) or injury (for example, torn knee ligament).

Essentially, medical fitness is the next phase of “treatment” for an individual after they complete rehabilitation or have been diagnosed with a chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer and arthritis. In fact, the origin of the medical fitness industry in the late 1970s occurred due to requests by cardiac rehab patients to continue exercising for a fee in hospital cardiac rehab facilities after they had completed their supervised rehabilitation. Medical fitness programming incorporates exercise training and education specifically related to an individual’s health conditions. 

As good as participation in medical fitness programming is for a patient’s long-term outcome, unfortunately many hospitals and other types of health care providers do not provide it because these types of programs are currently not eligible for reimbursement by Medicare or health insurance companies. As a result, most health care providers do not believe medical fitness programs align with their financial business model and therefore are not considered part of their “core business.” However, this position is short-sighted because medical fitness programs provide opportunities for patients to more fully recover from an illness or injury after their reimbursable treatments and sessions have ended—thus providing better long-term outcomes for the patient and contributing to decreased readmissions of these patients to the hospital, both of which have a positive financial impact for the hospital. Additionally, medical fitness programs serve as a means of “secondary prevention” for those diagnosed with chronic health conditions. These programs help slow, or in some cases eliminate altogether, the progression of a chronic disease and lower the need for ongoing high-cost clinical services.

Sounds relatively simple; however, people managing chronic health conditions or recovering from a significant injury are significantly less likely to exercise on their own or join a fitness center because they are unsure about how to exercise safely given their personal health condition. And in the case of joining a fitness center, they often will not do so because they do not believe staff at traditional fitness centers or health clubs are trained to provide exercise and fitness advice and oversight for people with their specific health condition. As a result, many individuals with pre-existing health conditions do not engage in a sustained exercise regimen of any kind and sadly never experience full recovery and become physically fit.

Well-designed medical fitness programs bridge this gap, contribute to the overall continuum of health care and play an important role in helping individuals become “physically fit and healthy” within the context of their chronic health condition or injury. Additionally, medical fitness programs help traditional fitness centers expand their market reach by engaging a new segment of the population they have not previously served. Not only can medical fitness programming provide a new source of revenue, but some fitness centers have seen up to a 70% conversion of program participants to full-time fitness members.

To address this important need, Cooper Wellness Strategies, a Cooper Aerobics company, has developed of the Cooper Tracks medical fitness program. Five tracks are currently available:

  1. Cardiovascular disease
  2. Diabetes
  3. Cancer
  4. Arthritis
  5. Immunity & Reconditioning (for those who want to boost their immune systems (for example, post-COVID survivors/patients) or simply recondition the body after an extended illness or inactivity)

Each track lasts eight weeks and provides supervised exercise and education sessions in a small group setting twice per week. The tracks are turn-key—providing all the content and materials needed to deliver the programming. Cooper Tracks can be delivered in fitness centers of almost any type and size, as well as a variety of physical rehabilitation facilities. For more information about Cooper Tracks, visit cooper-tracks.com.

To learn more about Cooper Wellness Strategies’ clients and services, including Medical Fitness services, visit cooperwellness.com or call 972.560.3263.

Weight Loss Customized for You

With so many weight loss programs available today promising guaranteed success and life-changing results, how do you know which program is ideal for you? Cooper Weight Loss Team Lead Lizzy Mungioli, RDN, LD, compares key features of three popular diet programs, including Cooper Weight Loss, to help you weed out weight loss gimmicks and use credible resources on your journey to success.

Welcome and warning signs
When designing a solid, successful and reliable weight loss program, a variety of components are involved, most importantly, support from professional experts in the following areas:

  • Nutrition
  • Exercise and fitness
  • Medical oversight
  • Behavioral and mental health

This combination of expertise is vital for long-term success and healthy habit changes. Programs that make specific or lofty promises (such as guaranteeing a specific amount of weight loss) should be considered as red flags. In addition, some weight loss programs truly do not provide the type of support, education or resources one needs to successfully lose weight and most importantly keep it off.

Nutrition and weight loss are heavily intertwined with science. Having evidence-based guidelines from scientifically proven research is crucial to providing someone with credible information and steering them in the right direction for weight loss success.

Tailored tools for success

Cooper Weight Loss (CWL) is an example of a scientific evidence-based weight loss program. CWL does not involve gimmicks, lofty goals, false promises, pills or prepackaged food. It is a six-month, medically-supervised, comprehensive and multi-disciplinary program including a weight loss maintenance component to help ensure success well after program completion. CWL includes:

  • Medical supervision from a Cooper Clinic physician
  • A physical exam
  • Lab work
  • Blood pressure
  • Exercise clearance (to ensure an individual’s safety when starting an intensive weight loss program)
  • Registered dietitian nutritionist
  • Licensed professional counselor

CWL also includes bi-weekly visits with a registered dietitian nutritionist at Cooper Clinic who specializes in obesity and weight management throughout the course of the six-month program. A licensed professional counselor (LPC) also goes through a Behavioral Health Consultation with each patient prior to entry in the program. This is helpful for determining a patient’s mentality, stability and readiness going into the program as well as evaluates their character traits to determine the best methods of education and support.

The LPC also serves to provide a safe space for learning tools to better manage stress in healthier ways than coping with food. Patients visit with the LPC at least four times throughout the program with additional visits always encouraged at the discretion of the patient or LPC. CWL also provides clients with resources to build fitness habits including meeting with an exercise physiologist and personal trainer multiple times along with a complimentary six-month Cooper Fitness Center membership to set them up for optimal success.

CWL provides a myriad of tools tailored for individualized success. The diet recommendations are completely personalized based on the client’s food preferences, calorie needs and health status. No diet is a one-size-fits-all. CWL honors the principle of individualizing each client’s diet and exercise regimen in a way they can adhere to the plan by encouraging sustainable weight loss goals of 0.5-2 pounds per week.

How does CWL measure up to SOTA and Noom?

In contrast to CWL, State of the Art (SOTA) Weight Loss is a weight loss program using prepackaged food products intended to be consumed for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. The SOTA diet prescription is low-carb with an emphasis on a lot of non-starchy vegetables and lean proteins, including when dining out. Alcohol is also highly discouraged in this program. A coach, whom the program refers to as a “consultant,” is available to each client for guidance in their weight loss goals; however, these consultants are not registered or licensed dietitian nutritionists. The program determines one’s goal weight based on body composition measurements using the Tanita scale, which is less accurate than a DEXA scan. Lab work, physician oversight, LPC visits are not included in this program nor screening for diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea or other medical conditions. SOTA’s recommended weight loss goals are three pounds per week for women and four to five pounds per week for men, which make these goals not only unattainable but often unsustainable. The program charges clients a minimum of $200 per week with an indefinite amount of time set for the program’s length.

Noom on the other hand is a web-based app that can be used on desktop or one’s smart phone. It includes standardized courses and nutrition recommendations as well as a space for logging meals and exercise. It encourages a healthy weight loss rate of one to two pounds per week and support the use of mindfulness to regulate appetite and food intake. Noom, however, does not include the expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists, medical supervision, LPC support or exercise recommendations from a fitness specialist.

Overall, each weight loss program has pros and cons depending on one’s preferences and needs. The key is to ensure individuals have the support necessary to be consistent with their behavior change and to utilize healthy, sustainable methods for long-term weight loss based on science. CWL transforms participants’ lives through healthy eating, exercise and behavior change counseling. At Cooper Clinic, we believe that sustainable and successful weight loss is possible with the proper guidance and support each step of the way in your weight loss journey.

Click here to begin your transformation with Cooper Weight Loss today, or call 972.367.6100 to learn more about Cooper Weight Loss virtual options.

Article provided by Lizzy Mungioli, RDN, LDCooper Weight Loss Team Lead, and Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.

Categories: Cooper Updates

A Word to the Wise (and Fit)

Regardless of age or fitness level, exercise is proven to be beneficial for everyone. In honor of National Senior Health and Fitness Day, Cooper Wellness Strategies Programs Director Sheryl Brown shares her top five most valuable life lessons learned from working with seniors as a physical therapist.

A lifetime of wisdom
For the past 25 years, I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with thousands of seniors as a physical therapist. While I was the one educating and instructing patients on the benefits of exercise, proper technique and skilled progression, they in turn taught me more about life than I could ever imagine. The timeless lessons learned from their experience, wisdom and vantage point will be forever remembered. Learn how you can enhance your journey to overall health and well-being.

  1. Life is a gift
    Having gone through numerous positive and negative life experiences, our seniors cherish each day as a gift and have a broad perspective on life. If you slow down and take the time to listen, you’ll find most seniors desire to share their gift of life experiences and offer an abundance of wisdom.
  2. Small improvements lead to large milestones
    My senior patients were passionately dedicated to their exercise routines as they strived to play with their grand kids, continue their golf game or dance at family weddings. Skilled progression of exercise over time through small increases in range of motion, duration or strength yields significant functional gains. Session after session, week after week—it was an inspiration to see my patients achieve and exceed their goals with such motivation and persistence.
  3. A smile is medicine for the heart
    A smile communicates happiness, joy and acceptance marking a particular stage in life. Many times I felt I didn’t have the appropriate words to say to connect with someone’s pain, but I learned that offering a smile bridged the gap and touched their soul. Even during the pandemic when everyone’s smiles were covered by face masks, we’ve learned how to “smile with our eyes.” Make a conscious effort to smile and look into each person’s eyes because as William Shakespeare once wrote—the eyes are the window to the soul.
  4. Listen to learn
    Taking the time to truly listen empathetically and carefully to others, especially our seniors, increases our understanding of life and fosters deeper connections. It also helps build trust and confidence between you and the other person. Even more so, listening makes an individual feel what they have to say matters.
  5. Encouraging words are key
    Simple phrases like “good job,” “keep up the hard work” or “you inspire me” go a long way. Authentic encouragements not only mean a lot to our seniors but people of all ages. As you go about your day, think about what positive phrases or words you might use to encourage a senior or someone else in your life.

I am so grateful for many valuable life lessons and insight gained while working with seniors. This unique demographic not only inspired me in the way they strive toward better health and functionality, but in how they love life and the people around them. Take the time and make the space to learn from your elders. You might be surprised how much you gain from their wisdom and example.

To learn more about Cooper Wellness Strategies clients and services visit cooperwellness.com or call 972.560.3263.

Categories: Cooper Updates