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TUSCON, Ariz.—Watermark’s The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay, an independent, assisted living, and memory care community in St. Petersburg, Fla., recently partnered with EGYM to conduct a study of the effect of regular exercise on unexpected falls in the senior population. This is the first time that EGYM, a global leader in fitness technology, has partnered with a senior living community to study the positive affect of exercise using its world-class fitness equipment to reduce falls.

“Educating seniors about preventative measures to reduce falls is something that I’m personally passionate about,” said Suzanne Burtzlaff, executive director at The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay. “Our community places a focus on whole-person wellness that allows our residents to thrive, so when we heard about this study we were thrilled to participate and offer our residents a new way to stay active and flourish at any age.”

The study included 22 residents of varied acuity, ranging from ages 67 to 99, with an average age of 86. The participants did pre- and post-testing of multiple Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) fall-risk assessments, including the 30-Second Sit to Stand Test (30CST), Timed Up and Go (TUG), and a fall-risk assessment questionnaire. Each participant performed a strength circuit two to three times a week for 12 weeks, based on a customized EGYM program specific to their physiological abilities.

The post-study findings revealed a reduction in fall risk and a pronounced awareness and interest for residents to improve their well-being. More importantly, all participants improved their perceived fall risk assessment, marking an increased confidence in their strength and balance, while others gained the confidence to participate in additional wellness programs within the community. Findings also revealed that more than half of the participants decreased their BioAge by an average of 6.2 years.

“When we look at this from a clinical perspective, we know that increasing strength in someone in their 80s has limits,” said Aras Erekul MD., MMH, national director of integrated wellbeing for Watermark Retirement Communities. “However, this doesn’t mean that we can’t counteract the aging process by asking residents to participate in programs that will support their ability to do the things they love and improve their quality of life.”

Following the 12-week program, the community conducted exit interviews with study participants. In those interviews, they learned that one resident lost 15 pounds after participating in the program, while others reported an increase in weight resistance. Interest in using the community’s fitness center also increased dramatically.

“The integration of EGYM into our community has been eye-opening,” said Delena Waters, community life director at The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay. “The ease of use of the equipment has empowered our residents to take charge of their well-being in a holistic way. This study created an opportunity for residents to examine their journey with well-being, which has emboldened them to open up about their lifelong and current experiences.”

The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay plans to use the study format to encourage more residents to participate in their wellness programming. The pilot will also serve as a model for other Watermark communities desiring to replicate the positive effects of offering an EGYM experience as part of their fitness program.

About The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay

The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay is a retirement community in St. Petersburg located at 1255 Pasadena Avenue South on a 14-acre waterfront property. The community offers independent living, assisted living and memory care, with short and long-term skilled nursing and rehabilitation at The Springs, an on-site health center operated by Summit Care. The Fountains’ vibrant lifestyle includes multiple dining options, an extensive calendar of events, outings, classes, clubs and fitness opportunities. Managed by Watermark Retirement Communities, The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay is committed to creating an extraordinary community where people thrive. For more information, visit


About Watermark Retirement Communities®

Watermark creates extraordinary communities where people thrive. We believe aging is about renewal rather than retirement. Watermark communities are known for highly trained and caring associates, a lifestyle built on choice, fine amenities, integrative wellness and innovative programs including the award-winning Watermark University featuring a wide variety of engaging classes for residents and area seniors. Watermark has been named in the top 25 Best Workplaces for Aging Services in a national program conducted by the Great Place to Work Institute and published on A privately held company with a reputation for over 30 years for service, innovation, integrity and financial stability, Watermark manages more than 65 retirement communities coast to coast. Based in Tucson Ariz., Watermark is ranked as the nation’s 9th-leading senior housing operator by the American Seniors Housing Association. Visit for more information.


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