Combining Wellness & Technology

Today’s health club clients are a diverse group of special populations, from those seeking rehab, to individuals requiring exercise prescriptions to accommodate special needs, to athletes who have specific competition goals. What this means is that the fitness center staff has more information than ever to convey, and an even more difficult task of identifying what information to communicate to which members.

But if the entries in this year’s nova7awards competition are any indication of how clubs are handling this challenge, computer technology appears to be the key. While the winners and runners up of the competition’s Web Sites & New Technology category were featured in our Dec. 1998 and Jan. 1999 issues, many of the “non-winning” entries also deserve recognition. They just may spark your imaginative juices and help you to put some technology to use in your facility.

Healthy uses of computer technology

At The Williams Companies Wellness Center, Tulsa, Okla, staff wanted a complete exercise/lifestyle tracking and incentive system that would allow them to communicate with on-site members and employee members based in field locations. What they came up with was HealthTrack, a system which comprises an administration module for staff and a kiosk-based member input module that serves as one complete system for health status data, exercise tracking/incentives, member/staff messaging and monthly reporting. The staff can regularly update greetings to keep member interest piqued, and incentive points are awarded for healthy lifestyles as a reminder that there is more to health than exercise.

At American Home Products Health & Fitness Center, Madison, N.J., staff set out to provide quality information to members on topics ranging from living with asthma to beginning an exercise program. They did this by expanding their Web site ( with the inclusion of articles written by the seven-member fitness staff. As a result of the articles, members have benefitted from staff interests, talents and experiences; questions have been answered, reinforcing staff credibility; and awareness of wellness topics has risen in the users who visit the site, which receives approximately 2,500 hits a month.

And, at Bayfront/St. Anthony’s Wellness Centers, St. Petersburg, Fla., staff wanted to provide members, as well as individuals worldwide, participating in the center’s 15th Annual St. Anthony’s Triathlon with an easily accessible training program.

To do this, they set up a triathlon training Web page, complete with training schedules and tips. The site not only helped the public more closely associate the Wellness Centers with quality fitness services, but it reinforced the hospital’s image as an expert source for exercise and fitness information.

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