Active adult community residents feeling lighter with wearable tech

Older adults in an active adult 55+ community in Hoschton are flocking to an electronic gym that makes working out fun and easy to navigate.

Residents at Cresswind Georgia at Twin Lakes have all-day access to EGYM, a round circuit system of nine machines that works out all parts of the body.

Mark LaClaire is the director of lifestyle for Kolter Homes, Cresswind’s builder. He explained how the EGYM works.

“Each of these machines performs the basic functions to work out all parts of your body,” LaClaire said. “What makes EGYM special is that there is a wearable band that (residents) use.”

LaClaire said Cresswind has branded the bands worn there as Cressfits. A first-time gym-goer would swipe their band and initially get onboarded.

“There’s this machine that measures their height, their weight, their flexibility,” LaClaire said. “It gets the information about their age, their gender, all that important information, and then it’s all stored in that band, so every time they go to one of those machines they swipe their band and it knows who they are.”

The machine can then automatically adjust to the user’s strength, height and weight levels so that they can work out with regard to their appropriate measurements.

“That’s what makes it so easy and special for people like me who are not fitness buffs,” LaClaire said. “I don’t know how much weight I should be lifting … so it kind of takes all the complicated things out of working out because it does it automatically for you.”

The machine records every workout someone does and the progress that they make. That information is stored on a back end so users can see how far they have come. It also measures biometric age, telling users how old they are based on factors like strength and flexibility.

Resident Carla Ray said that she wears her wristband every day. According to her, the EGYM has improved her biometric age.

“My biometric age has decreased by eight years,” Ray said. “Now I’m eight years younger based on my physical ability.”

Ray said that her strength is now 21 years younger than her real age and her flexibility biometric age is that of someone 12 years younger. She credits the EGYM for keeping up her weight loss and says she can handle stress better.

“My posture has improved, I can lift and carry heavy things, and inches have come off,” Ray said, noting that between exercising outside the gym and using the EGYM, she has to buy a new wardrobe.

Wearable fitness technology appears to present new avenues for measuring health.

Although its functioning differs from that of the EGYM technology, Fitbit is another wearable fitness technology that has progressed in the health field.

Washington University in St. Louis’ McKelvey School of Engineering scientists have used Fitbits to help them predict patients’ clinical outcomes.

“We can collect multi-modal data, such as step count, heart rate and sleep cycles, which we use with our machine learning models to predict deterioration or improvement in a patient’s health status. These efforts demonstrate tremendous potential for wearable and machine learning to improve health care,” Fulgraf Professor in the McKelvey School of Engineering Chenyang Lu said.

Debi Hess is a Cresswind resident and started a women’s fitness class there.

“It just takes all the guesswork out of it,” Hess said of the EGYM. “I don’t have to think, I can just sit at that machine and everything is done for me.”

The women who attend her classes like to go to the EGYM before or after her class. There are other aspects of a normal gym at Cresswind, such as treadmills, ellipticals and bicycles, but Hess says the EGYM draws the most people.

“People who have never ever worked out in their lives are like, ‘Oh my God, I love this thing,’” Hess said. “I’ve seen people really, really slim down and start to really think about their fitness.”