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April 5, 2000

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Hopkins Opens Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Maryland Athletic Club

–Features State-of-the-Art Exercise Equipment, Fitness Testing--

Johns Hopkins Medicine has opened a clinical exercise center featuring one of the first uses of computer-driven fitness equipment for patients with heart problems. The program, called Heart Health, is based at the Maryland Athletic Club in Timonium.

All of the equipment, including treadmills, exercise bicycles and weight machines are equipped with miniaturized monitors that are part of a computer network. Workouts are automatically recorded in a database accessible on computer terminals at the center and on the Internet.

Patients enter a personal identification number, or PIN, at each machine and the computers "tell" them how long to work out and at what intensity. On the weight machines, the exerciser is prompted to adjust the equipment for seat height, proper weight and number of repetitions. Workouts are reviewed by a staff of clinical exercise physiologists who provide feedback either in person or by e-mail. Patients can use the Internet to track their progress and to enter information from workouts done while traveling or after finishing their cardiac rehabilitation.

Directed by Kerry J. Stewart, Ed.D., director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention at Hopkins, Heart Health is a comprehensive, medically supervised initiative designed to teach people how to exercise safely, eat a heart-healthy diet and manage heart disease risk factors. Heart Health professionals work closely with a new satellite Hopkins office, a three-cardiologist practice also located at the athletic club. Weekly education classes cover various topics related to heart disease.

For healthier individuals, Heart Health also offers comprehensive fitness and risk factor testing. Among the services offered are measurements of VO2 max, or maximum aerobic capacity, total and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, blood pressure and body composition. In addition, an exercise physiologist will go over the results and plan a personal exercise program that can be carried out at the clinical exercise center, the Maryland Athletic Club or at home.

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