NEW SMYRNA BEACH — Exercise is strong medicine.
Dr. Michael Fulton, 65, built a career on those words, helping design Nautilus and MedX workout equipment and then founding his own medical exercise facility in Daytona Beach.
Now he is taking that same philosophy to New Smyrna Beach, where he has acquired the Nautilus by the Sea gym at 1327 Saxon Drive, a workout spot that uses the equipment he helped create.
“Lean body tissue is our business here,” Fulton said. “We probably have the closest handle on really understanding the importance of muscle and its relationship to health than probably anybody else in this area.”
The death of Bernd Wilczewski, Nautilus by the Sea’s previous owner, this past year led to the purchase. Fulton had a close relationship with Wilczewkski and was mulling buying the gym shortly before Wilczewski’s death.
Fulton has lived in New Smyrna Beach for three decades.
The 4,500-square-foot gym features 30 pieces of selectorized strength equipment, primarily from Nautilus and MedX, free weights and 15 pieces of aerobic workout equipment. Yoga and Pilates are available, and plans are in the works to offer Zumba. A typical membership is $45 a month. Day, month and yearly rates are available.
Taking over Nautilus by the Sea is just the latest stage in a long, fruitful career for Fulton.
During the early 1980s, he assisted in the development of Nautilus, a Lake Helen startup that introduced the concept of selectorized strength equipment. These new machines introduced a more targeted approach to strength training to the gym.
He also served as the team physician for the U.S. Water Ski Team for nearly two decades and continues to assist both professional and collegiate athletes.
Seventeen years ago, Fulton opened the Green Acres medical exercise facility on International Speedway Boulevard in Daytona Beach.
The facility is equipped with specialized exercise equipment by MedX, along with a heated pool for aquatic strengthening. It offers remedial rehabilitation for spinal, knee and sports-related injuries and one-on-one personal training programs.
Business at Green Acres is a family affair.
Fulton’s son, Dr. Brent Fulton, is a physician at Green Acres. His other son, Chris Fulton, serves as the business manager. His wife, Nancy Fulton, is the office administrator.
The Fultons hope to link Green Acres and Nautilus by the Sea’s services together as much as possible. Patients at Green Acres who complete their physical rehabilitation there would be able to continue strength training at Nautilus.
Brent Fulton is just as big a champion of the benefits of muscle as his father.
Studies show that in addition to increased strength and fitness, people with more muscle are better able to regulate their blood pressure and enjoy other health benefits.
Sometimes, physicians will refer to the heart “as the engine of the body.”
Brent Fulton thinks differently.
“At the best, the heart is a fuel pump,” he said. “The thing that is really keeping the body moving and going is the muscle.”