Since building a new fitness center and equipping it with HUR strength training machines, Meadow Active Lifestyle Community in Louisville, Kentucky has achieved a near 50% participation rate of residents who regularly use the equipment as a part of their fitness program. We sat down with Miguel, Lifestyle Supervisor to find out why so many residents are using the equipment and the outcomes they are experiencing as a result.
HUR: The industry average for participation in a fitness program is around 17%, so achieving a near 50% participation rate is truly impressive! Why do you think the participation rate at Meadow is so much higher than the average?
Miguel: I think there are three main contributors to the high participation rate. The first is the way the fitness center is positioned within our community. It was deliberately built in a location that is central to other popular on-campus destinations. Most residents pass it several times as they go about their day. There’s an overall feeling of not having an excuse because it’s right there.
Couple that with the fact that because it’s so visible, residents see their friends and neighbors in the fitness center exercising and using the equipment. They wave at each other and stop to say hello. Working out in the fitness center has become a normal part of community life and there’s an overall feeling that it’s something most residents do.
Another contributor to high participation is that working out on the HUR machines is part of the ongoing wellness and recovery plan for residents coming out of physical therapy. When they are discharged from physical therapy, one of the first things they do is come see me to get set up in the HUR SmartTouch system and oriented to the HUR machines. Most of these residents continue training on the machines long after their post physical therapy plan has run its course.
And finally, I think that the HUR machines overcome one of the biggest barriers to senior strength training – intimidation. For many seniors, traditional weight-stacking machines are perceived as intimidating and difficult to use. For the seniors in our community, the HUR machines are the opposite. They are intriguing rather than intimidating and so easy to use that our residents feel confident on them right away.
HUR: Why do you think ease of use is such an important factor for ongoing strength training participation?
Miguel: In my experience, feeling confident in their own ability to move through a workout independently is a primary motivator behind consistent training. Many of the seniors in our community have never engaged in a strength training program. If they have to struggle to adjust and set up the machines and spend their workout second guessing whether they are doing it right, they probably won’t come back. Feeling frustrated is demotivating. No one wants to feel like a machine is smarter than they are.
The HUR machines make it easy for anyone, regardless of their age or ability level, to strength train independently with confidence right away. The machines automatically adjust to their specifications, so they don’t have to worry about how to raise or lower the seat or remember how much resistance to add. The machines count their reps, track their progress, and provide visual and auditory cues that walk seniors through their workout.
Everyone I’ve gotten set up on the HUR equipment gets it immediately and it quickly becomes a part of their normal routine. Without the HUR machines, I’m sure we would see much lower participation levels.
HUR: Do you feel like you can see the impact the machines are having on the day-to-day lives of residents who are in the fitness center working out on a regular basis?
Miguel: Oh, completely! When I first started working in this community, I noticed the difference right away. Not only were there a lot of residents in the fitness center every day, they were coming to me on a regular basis asking to increase their reps and the amount of resistance. The progress is especially apparent with residents who are using the HUR equipment on a weekly basis and attending other fitness classes. We have residents who no longer have to use canes or walkers, who aren’t as hunched over as they were when they started training, and who are able to do things they thought they’d never be able to do again.
Our residents know they are making progress. They feel better and are able to do more things, and that’s tremendously motivating. It’s also great to see how they encourage each other. I hear them talking about the progress they’ve made to their friends and neighbors and encouraging them to give it a try. One of the best things about living in a community like Meadow is the opportunity for a kind of positive peer pressure. They all want to be able to keep up with their neighbors.
HUR: Have you noticed the new fitness center and HUR equipment catching the attention of prospective new residents?
Miguel: Yes! The fitness center is in such a visible location that prospective residents can’t miss it. It’s designed beautifully, always in use, and communicates that we are a community designed for healthy, active aging.
One of our newest residents told me that the fitness center and HUR machines were a major influence in her decision to live here. Soon after moving in, she came to me for an orientation on the machines and she’s been showing up every week to work out ever since.