US20070219058A1 - Remote communication exercise training - Google Patents

Remote communication exercise training Download PDF

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US20070219058A1
US20070219058A1 US11/681,381 US68138107A US2007219058A1 US 20070219058 A1 US20070219058 A1 US 20070219058A1 US 68138107 A US68138107 A US 68138107A US 2007219058 A1 US2007219058 A1 US 2007219058A1
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exercise
exercise program
method
defined
program segments
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US11/681,381
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Eric Fleishman
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Eric Fleishman
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Priority to US11/553,271 priority patent/US20070219057A1/en
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Priority to US11/681,381 priority patent/US20070219058A1/en
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G09EDUCATION; CRYPTOGRAPHY; DISPLAY; ADVERTISING; SEALS
    • G09BEDUCATIONAL OR DEMONSTRATION APPLIANCES; APPLIANCES FOR TEACHING, OR COMMUNICATING WITH, THE BLIND, DEAF OR MUTE; MODELS; PLANETARIA; GLOBES; MAPS; DIAGRAMS
    • G09B19/00Teaching not covered by other main groups of this subclass
    • G09B19/003Repetitive work cycles; Sequence of movements
    • G09B19/0038Sports

Abstract

A system and method includes conducting an exercise program by an exercise facilitator and transmitting part or all of the exercise program overall a communication link to a remote attendee. The exercise program may be live and may include interactive communication with the remote attendee such that the facilitator may observe and instruct the remote attendee during the exercise session.

Description

  • This is a Continuation-In-Part patent application claiming priority to U.S. utility patent application Ser. No. 11/553,271 filed on Oct. 25, 2006, which claims priority to U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/731,197 filed on Oct. 28, 2005, both of which are incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • This invention relates to systems and methods for the fitness training, and more specifically to exercise training conducted via remote communication.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Studies on human health and fitness over the past several decades have continually shown the benefits of regular bodily exercise. Exercising even as little as three times a week for 30 minutes has shown significant benefit to the human body, especially as people age. However, without a regimented exercise schedule in place, it is difficult to maintain any form of consistency in exercising.
  • As people's schedules become more and more crowded with work and family related activities, it is ever more difficult to include exercise on a regular basis. Some people have sought to combine recreation and exercise through various sports related activities. However, sports are typically seasonal and leisure often replaces activity as the seasons change.
  • Fitness centers offer an excellent opportunity for people to break out of a sedentary lifestyle. These centers can accommodate a wide range of exercising activities including swimming, jogging, basketball, weight lifting, and racquetball. Trainers are frequently on hand to personalize a fitness program allowing people to focus on particular areas or systems of the body, such as cardiovascular, muscle tone, or to whatever their particular needs may be. However, living to far from the fitness center can be a deterrent from going there routinely. Having children can also be a factor in visiting the fitness center especially if the fitness center does not provide childcare. There are also significant costs associated with fitness center memberships, including annual dues, and class and training fees.
  • Some programs have been developed that include remote exercise consultation with a fitness trainer. These programs encourage personal exercise, for example at home, where certain physiological data may be gathered and communicated to the fitness trainer via fax, telephone and/or the Internet. However, a regular exercise regimen is still dependent upon the individual and there may be little encouragement to initiate the exercise routine when someone is all alone. Other forms of remote fitness consultation are available albeit through the exercise equipment itself. In these instances, the exercise equipment may include various monitors or sensors that measure heart rate, blood pressure and even breathing rate. Information can be communicated back to a remote fitness consultant who analyzes the data and responds with the appropriate feedback. For example, a remote fitness consultant may suggest a different number of repetitions or exercise equipment setting. Still, there is no one there to personally coach an individual through his or her program. Additionally, high tech equipment can be cost prohibitive for some people.
  • What is needed is a personal approach to exercise that allows people to interact with other participants in an exercise program while the exercise is actually taking place. Such a program should provide trainer feedback and encouragement during the exercise routine. It would be highly advantageous to incorporate these benefits while allowing a person to exercise at home (in private) or at a remote location. The embodiments of the subject invention obviate the aforementioned problems.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In one embodiment of the present invention a method of facilitating an exercise program includes providing an exercise facilitator leading or conducting an exercise program for at least a first remote attendee, where the remote attendee may be at a location apart from the location of the exercise facilitator. The method further includes providing a communication link, which may be telephone or computer network communication link, for use in communicating at least a portion of the exercise program to the remote attendee and communicating all or part of the exercise program over the communication link.
  • One aspect of an embodiment of the present includes receiving tender, which may be currency or credit or any other form of payment, prior to activating or establishing the communication link. The tender may be received by the remote attendee or a third party.
  • Another aspect of an embodiment of the present invention includes transmitting an exercise program live from a host location to the remote location of the remote attendee.
  • In yet another aspect of an embodiment of the present invention, one or more exercise programs may be recorded and stored for transmission at a later time. The recorded exercise programs may be archived and displayed for playback as desired by the remote attendee.
  • Still another aspect of an embodiment of the subject invention includes a method of providing one or more interactive communication links for use in selectively remotely communicating at least an audio portion of the exercise program.
  • Yet another aspect of an embodiment of the subject invention includes a method of providing one or more communication links for use in selectively remotely communicating at least an audio and a video portion of the exercise program.
  • Even another aspect of an embodiment of the subject invention includes a method of providing one or more telephone communication links for use in selectively remotely communicating at least an audio portion of the exercise program.
  • Another aspect of an embodiment of the subject invention includes a method of providing one or more communication links for use in selectively remotely communicating at least an audio and a video portion of the exercise program to a predetermined remote location, and further including a step of establishing an interactive audio and video communication link from the predetermined remote location to the exercise facilitator.
  • Yet another aspect of an embodiment of the subject invention includes a method of communicating a portion of the live exercise program to a predetermined remote location responsive to the tender received, the associated live exercise program having an exercise facilitator, and, further including a step of sending interactive communication from the remote location back to the exercise facilitator.
  • Still another aspect of an embodiment of the subject invention includes a method of providing a host computer processing system operatively connected to a wide area network, which may be the Internet, providing a selectively activated communication link through the wide area network, providing at least a first exercise session being lead by a facilitator, receiving tender for activating the transmission of the at least a first exercise session, and, activating the communication link thereby transmitting at least an audio portion of the at least a first exercise session responsive to receiving tender.
  • Even another aspect of an embodiment of the subject invention includes a method of displaying a schedule of transmitting at least a first exercise session that can be accessed through the wide area network.
  • Again another aspect of an embodiment of the subject invention includes a method of receiving payment via credit card over a secure wide area network link for activating the transmission of the at least a first exercise session.
  • In one embodiment of the present invention a method of facilitating an exercise program includes the steps of recording an exercise program lead by an exercise facilitator, segmenting the recorded exercise program into multiple program segments, randomizing one or more of the program segments and communicating the one or more randomized program segments. The program segments may be communication to a remote location.
  • One aspect of the embodiments of the subject invention includes a logic processor that is capable of storing and randomizing a discrete number of exercise program segments.
  • Another aspect of the embodiments of the subject invention includes transmitting a first sequence of the exercise program segments, randomizing the exercise program segments, and transmitting a second sequence of the exercise program segments, which may be slightly different or significantly different from the first sequence of exercise program segments.
  • Yet another aspect of the embodiments of the subject invention includes arithmetically randomizing the first sequence of the exercise program segments where arithmetic randomization of the exercise program segments may incorporate the use of a random number generator in any manner known in the art.
  • Even another aspect of the embodiments of the subject invention includes randomizing the first sequence of the exercise program segments responsive to associated personal data about an attendee, which may be a remote attendee.
  • These and other advantages and novel features of the present invention, as well as details of an illustrated embodiment thereof, will be more fully understood from the following description and drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exercise class being facilitated by an instructor in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a schematic representation of a communication link between two locations; a host location and a remote location;
  • FIG. 3 is a block diagram of the method of purchasing the transmission of a host exercise session;
  • FIG. 4 is schematic representation of communicating a portion of exercise session via a Wide Area Network (WAN) to a remote location.
  • FIG. 5 is a block diagram of the method of facilitating an exercise program.
  • FIG. 6 is a diagram showing the basic positions for an exercise program.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Referring now to the drawings wherein the showings are for purposes of illustrating embodiments of the invention only and not for purposes of limiting the same, FIG. 1 depicts an exercise facilitator 1 leading an exercise class, having one or more persons attending an exercise program or class, shown generally at 3. The exercise class 3, also termed an exercise sessions 3, and more specifically attendees 5 may engage in an exercise program, which may comprise aerobics, weight training, tai chi or the like. In fact, it is to be construed that any form and/or type of fitness program may be included in the embodiments of the subject invention. The length of the exercise session may have a limited duration, such as for example 1 hour. However, it will be appreciated that any length of time may be chosen for conducting an exercise session especially as it relates to a specific type of fitness program. The exercise facilitator 1 may stand at the front of the class and lead the class through various routines as established by the type of fitness program being presented. In one embodiment, the exercise facilitator 1 may observe the class attendees 5 and provide instructive feedback to them in various manners. For example, the facilitator 1 may coach the attendees 5 through a warm up portion of the exercise sessions showing the attendees what to do and not to do in accordance with sound fitness principles. In another example, the facilitator 1 may observe improper exercise activities during the class and coach the group or a specific attendee 5 on the proper technique while the session is being conducted. Additionally, the facilitator 1 may interject enthusiasm into the class by encouraging the attendees 5 to endure through the end of a particularly difficult portion of the routine. Still, any manner of coaching and communicating with the class 3 may be chosen in accordance with sound fitness principles.
  • With continued reference to FIG. 1, the attendees 5 may also feed back information to the facilitator 1. Questions may be posed to the facilitator 1 during the exercise session, during a break between sessions or after the session has ended. In this manner, the class or program may include interactive exercise training or coaching. The facilitator 1 may personally advise an individual attendee 5 with instructions based upon that attendee's 5 performance while the exercise program is proceeding. This allows the facilitator 1 to coach the attendee 5 in the proper techniques of the specific fitness program. It is noted that attendee 5 feedback may also encourage others participating in the exercise program at that time.
  • With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, a communication link 7 may be established between the place where the exercise session is taking place and a remote location 8. In one embodiment, the communication link may be a telephone communication link 7′. This communication link may be implemented using standard telephone lines and equipment 19. Alternatively, the communication link 7 may be an audio and video communication link 7″, which may be transmitted over standard telephone lines or the Internet 9 by way of a video camera 22 and any number of various computer systems 10. The audio and video communication links 7 may include portable devices such as headsets 12, stationary cameras, small remotely operated cameras, overhead microphones, and the like. However, any type and quantity of communication equipment may be utilized. In this way, the exercise program can be transmitted to a remote location 8 for use in assisting one or more individuals at the remote location 8 to exercise along with the attendees 5 of the host exercise session as will be discussed further in a subsequent paragraph.
  • In one embodiment, the exercise session may be a live exercise program or session. That is to say that the communication link 7 transmitting audio and/or video signals of the exercise session may be transmitting as the exercise session is actually happening. In an alternate embodiment, the exercise session may be taped or prerecorded for communication to a remote location 8 at another time or at a time delay with respect to the live session. In this manner, additional equipment may be required to record, delay, store and/or transmit the sessions. As such, any type of recording device, and accompanying control system, may be used, including but not limited to digital recording and transmitting equipment. In one instance, one or more exercise sessions may be recorded and archived on a digital computing device, like a computer server 15. Accordingly, subscribers to a program that digitizes and stores portions of the exercise session may access any of the exercise sessions at their convenience. Access may be facilitated by a wide area network 14, local area network, telephone network, the Internet or any other form of communication.
  • An exercise program 3 may include a variety of activities or exercise movements focusing on different parts of the body. The activities may be designed to tone specific muscle groups respectively. A typical exercise session 3, for example, may include a series of repetitions focusing on muscles in the abdomen. Accordingly, another activity may focus on the muscles in the thigh or gluteus maximus. Each of the activities, as recorded, may be broken down into one or more discrete, congruent segments. It is noted that the activities may be broken down in any manner and in any number of segments as chosen with sound judgment. The segments may be then stored as individual program segments and randomized for transmission in a manner consistent with the embodiments described herein. In an exemplary manner, the exercise program segments may be digitally recorded and stored on a fixed medium like a hard drive, static memory or any other means of digitally storing information. The stored segments may then be indexed and played back in a manner controlled either manually or automatically as facilitated by a computer, logic processor or other control system. An algorithm may be programmed to arithmetically randomize the segments. To arithmetically randomize the segments a random number generator may be incorporated for scrambling the order of the segments thereby simulating randomization. In one embodiment, the computer or control system may analyze data about the attendees and randomize playback of the recorded segments accordingly. Such analysis may take into account data regarding the number of times in a given time period that a particular attendee accesses an exercise session. The analysis may also take into account personal data about an individual such as weight and/or age. Still, any manner of analyzing an attendee and any manner of randomizing the exercise program segments may be chosen with sound judgment as is appropriate for use with the embodiment of the present invention.
  • In this manner, when a remote attendee accesses an exercise session, as will be discussed further below, playback of the exercise session as compared to the previous and/or the following session may be different. The differences may pertain to the order in which a group of segments are played back. Additionally, segments, which may be new segments, may be added or deleted from one session to the next. It is noted here that these exercise sessions will not include attendee feedback of any kind. Therefore playback or transmission of the recorded exercise session will therefore comprise one-way communication from the exercise facilitator to the attendees.
  • With continued reference to FIGS. 1 and 2 and now to FIG. 3, a subscriber program may be implemented whereby an individual may participate in an exercise program from a remote location 8. The individual, also referred to as a remote attendee 11, may purchase access to one or more exercise sessions and participate in the sessions via a communication link 7 as described above. In one embodiment, access to the sessions may be purchased by the individual participating in a particular class. However, it is contemplated in an alternate embodiment that a third party may purchase the exercise sessions for the remote attendee 11. Additionally, access to an exercise session, in part or in whole, may be donated for example as a gift or prize, or for advertising purposes. Still any manner of purchasing session time by any individual or entity may be chosen as is appropriate for use with the embodiments of the present invention. Purchasing access to a session may comprise establishing a connection of the communication link with the remote location 8 where the subscriber or remote attendee 11 is planning to exercise. As an example, the remote attendee 11 may be at his or her home. Purchasing an exercise session may include connecting the communication link 7 to receive live audio feed from the actual session taking place at that time at the host location 17. In this manner, the remote attendee 11 may have an area arranged in his or her home where the remote attendee 11 can perform the same and/or similar exercise routines as those enacted at the host location 17. A standard telephone 19 may be set up with a speaker 13 so that audio received from the live session will not interfere with the movements of the remote attendee 11 during exercise. Alternatively, a lightweight headset may be securely attached to the remote attendee's 11 ear for listening to the live session. This also does not inhibit the movement of the remote attendee 11 during exercise. Of course, it will be realized by persons of ordinary skill in the art that the headset and/or speaker may include a microphone for two-communication as will be discussed further in a subsequent paragraph. It is also contemplated in another embodiment, that audio and video communication may be transmitted to the remote location 8. In this instance, a video screen, such as a television or computer monitor 10 may be set up in conjunction with an audio speaker system to communicate the live session to the remote attendee 11. This may be especially helpful for individuals new to a specific exercise routine. In this way, the remote attendee 11 may observe any new movements that he or she is not yet familiar with by watching the other people 5.
  • With reference to all of the FIGURES, the remote attendee 11 may benefit from interaction with the class 3 and more specifically with the exercise facilitator 1. As mentioned earlier, a communication link, either audio and/or video, may be established. Such a connection may be established when a session has been purchased. Connection of the communication link may further include an interactive communication link whereby the remote attendee 11 can talk back through the communication link to the exercise facilitator 1 as needed or desired. This may assist the exercise facilitator 1 in knowing how the remote attendees 11 are performing. It may also help facilitate remote coaching of the remote attendees 11 during the session. In this way, a remote attendee 11 may feel more directly a part of the class despite his or her physical absence and may be more apt to continue participating in an exercise regimen as a result. Similarly, an interactive video communication link may even further assist the facilitator 1 in coaching the remote attendee 11 by allowing the facilitator 1 to see what the remote attendee 11 is doing during the exercise session. The facilitator 1 may have one or more video screens, not shown, within sight so as to clearly view the remote attendees 11 movements. This may help the facilitator 1 see how the remote attendees 11 are performing. In one embodiment, there may be a plurality of remote attendees 11 from different remote locations 8 that have subscribed to a particular exercise session. Accordingly, the facilitator 1 may have a communication link 7 to each of the remote locations 8, whether audio and/or video. In the case of a video communication link, the facilitator 1 may have a plurality of video screens all within view at the host location 17. One screen may be set up for every individual video connection. Alternatively, a fewer number of video screens may be utilized that periodically cycle through displaying the different remote locations 8 as set up by a video display controller. However, any means of displaying video at the host location 17 or the plurality of remote locations 8 may be chosen with sound engineering judgment. Each of the plurality of remote attendees 11 may subscribe from their own individual location. However, some remote attendees 11 may group together to exercise in the same remote location 8. The facilitator 1 may chose to organize the use of a remote location site for an entire group. Of course, it is construed that any number of remote locations 8 can be set up as desired. Accordingly, it will be appreciated that any combination of control system equipment and communication links between the host location 17 and the remote locations 8 may be set up without departing from the intended scope of the embodiments of the invention described herein.
  • In an alternate embodiment, the exercise facilitator 1 may coach only remote attendees 11 that he or she is facilitating from the host location 17. That is to say that the facilitator 1 may not have a class of attendees 5 at the host site during an exercise session. In this way, the exercise facilitator 1 may coach only those individuals that have signed up through one of the communication link channels 7. In a similar manner to the other embodiments, the remote attendees 11 may connect via audio only or an audio/video connection. The exercise program may be transmitted live with the exercise facilitator 1 performing the specific exercise routine with the remote attendees 11. However, the facilitator 1 may also function purely as a coach or trainer reviewing the exercise moves of the remote attendees 11, while the class is going on or even at a later time, and instructing them accordingly. In other words, the facilitator 1 may not exercise with the remote attendees 11 but may only observe them for fitness training purposes. A two-way video connection may be established from the host location 17 to the remote location 8. In this case, the facilitator may be able to demonstrate a particular exercise move. This allows the facilitator 1 to interact with the remote attendees 11. However, it should be appreciated that a two-way video connection is not necessarily required to coach an exercise session having only remote attendees 11. In any instance, any type of communication link 7 may be established for allowing the facilitator 1 to coach and interact with the remote attendees 11.
  • It is also contemplated that the facilitator 1 may comprise more than one fitness trainer looking on or coaching a particular session. That is to say that the facilitator 1 may utilize assistants to aid in coaching an exercise session, especially if the group is particularly large. The assistants may be experienced and/or trained fitness trainers that observe the exercise movements of and interact with the remote attendees 11. Accordingly, the assistants may be any individuals qualified to assist the facilitator 1 in coaching a plurality of remote attendees 11.
  • As previously mentioned, the Internet 9 may be utilized to transact subscriber sessions. Listings of the various sessions and the details associated therewith may be displayed via an Internet connection. A web-site home page, not shown, may provide links to additional web pages detailing the terms of the subscription. Session times may also be displayed with information regarding class size and the name of the facilitator. Another web page may provide a secure network access link to purchase a desired session. Credit card numbers may be securely and safely entered whereby upon confirmation of proper payment and/or credit, a specific session may automatically be activated. If the session is purchase for a future date, the subscriber may be notified via e-mail or other means as a reminder when the session will be starting. It is also contemplated in an alternate embodiment, that subscriber sessions may be advertised and purchased without the use of a computer or computer network, such as the Internet 9. Session times may be scheduled in advance wherein the session times may be communicated via the mail and/or telephone. The subscriber may call a toll free number or other hot line to purchase an exercise session. Details may then be communicated via the telephone as to when the next session will begin. Contact information may be taken at that time or automatically retrieved from an earlier purchase. In the case of a pure audio communication link, the number to be called for transmitting the session, if different from the subscriber's telephone number, may be secured at that time. Still, any manner of selling connection time to a remote attendee 11 and gathering data regarding the transmission of an exercise session may be chosen with sound engineering judgment.
  • With reference now to FIG. 6, the website home page may include links for downloading other media forms for instructing attendees 5. In one embodiment, the website may provide video, still pictures, animations or other forms of depicting certain exercise movements. By way of example, FIG. 6 depicts various positions as may be performed in an exercise class 3. This may be useful for attendees 5 participating in an exercise class 3 for the first time or when introducing a new exercise routine. Accordingly, the website may direct attendees 5 to download and review the figures thus helping to ensure exercising in the proper manner.
  • The foregoing description of embodiments of the present invention has been provided for the purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed. Obviously, many modification and variations will be apparent to practitioners skilled in the art. The embodiments were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and its practical applications, thereby enabling others skilled in the art to understand the invention for various embodiments and with the various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. It is intended that the scope of the invention be defined by the following claims and their equivalents.

Claims (15)

1. A method of facilitating an exercise program, comprising the steps of:
recording an exercise program lead by an exercise facilitator;
segmenting the recorded exercise program into multiple program segments;
randomizing the multiple program segments; and,
communicating at least a portion of the randomized program segments.
2. The method as defined in claim 1, further comprising the step of:
providing a communication link for use in communicating at least a portion of the exercise program to a remote location.
3. The method as defined in claim 2, wherein the communication link is a wide area network.
4. The method as defined in claim 3, wherein the communication link is the Internet.
5. The method as defined in claim 2, wherein the communication link utilizes one or more telephone lines.
6. The method as defined in claim 2, further comprising the step of:
receiving tender for communicating at least a first portion of the exercise program to a remote location.
7. The method as defined in claim 6, further comprising the step of:
selectively activating the communication link responsive to the tender received.
8. The method as defined in claim 1, wherein the exercise facilitator is a trained exercise instructor.
9. A method of transmitting an exercise program, comprising the steps of:
providing an exercise program comprising a discrete number of exercise program segments;
providing a logic processor capable of storing and randomizing the discrete number of exercise program segments;
transmitting a first sequence of the exercise program segments;
randomizing the exercise program segments; and,
transmitting a second sequence of the exercise program segments.
10. The method as defined in claim 9, wherein the logic processor is capable of sequencing through an algorithm for randomizing exercise program segments; and wherein the step of:
randomizing the exercise program segments, comprises the step of:
arithmetically randomizing the exercise program segments.
11. The method as defined in claim 9, further comprising the step of:
providing associated personal data about an attendee; and wherein the step of:
randomizing the exercise program segments, comprises the step of:
randomizing the exercise program segments responsive to the associated personal data.
12. The method as defined in claim 9, further comprising the step of:
providing a communication link for transmitting one or more sequences of exercise program segments; and,
selectively activating the communication link responsive to tender received by a remote attendee.
13. The method as defined in claim 12, wherein the communication link is the Internet.
14. The method as defined in claim 9, wherein the exercise program segments comprise an audio portion and a video portion.
15. The method as defined in claim 9, wherein the exercise program segments comprise an audio portion.
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