The Colorado Center for Health and Wellness represents a new concept in health care and health care research. The center is located on the University of Colorado, Denver Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado. Primarily a research facility, the center focuses on educating the community on healthy eating and activities. Preventative health maintenance is stressed, with the goal of keeping people out of the hospital rather than post-disease treatment.
This mission is evidenced throughout the construction of the building. From the expansive lobby, featuring a demonstration kitchen and Bistro Elaia, to the massive fitness center contained within, and finally the clinical and research labs, the center embodies a desire to get people interested in nutrition and exercise, and treating the physical barriers to fitness. The education programs developed by the center will be available to the public through the center’s website and the tailored fitness programs available either through the clinical facilities or through fitness center membership.
The fitness center is also a paradigm shift from the standard gym membership. Membership begins with a fitness assessment, testing physical fitness, flexibility, and strength as well as metabolic measurements. From this a “prescription” training program is developed, creating a total health program for the individual. Progress can be tracked through the Technogym system, with each exercise tracked through a “keychain,” taking the guesswork out of a fitness program. Progress is followed up with subsequent assessments, keeping individuals on track and equipped to maintain the fitness gains achieved. These assessments are available to anyone, meaning that individuals need not be members of the fitness club to take advantage of the program.
For athletes looking to improve their performance, the center is also home to the Human Performance Lab run by Iñigo San Millán. Offering tests such as VO2 max, lactate threshold, and body composition via Bod Pod or DEXA Scan, the center can fine tune training and nutrition programs to optimize performance.
With so many health care programs aimed at treating people who are already unhealthy, it is refreshing to see a facility that aims to be more proactive. Equipping individuals with the tools and knowledge to create healthy lifestyles, the center will help to develop methods that bring on sustainable changes in fitness for an entire community.