A new program helps seniors—and others—build bone density and functional strength, meaning, for many, it’s easier to get through the day.
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Hockessin Athletic Club owners Bob Carpenter and Roger Ralph had people like Yearsley and Albertus in mind when they began researching fitness programs and technology that would better serve older adults.
Ellis encouraged Carpenter and Ralph to address fall prevention, which led them to create StandStrong Clinics.
StandStrong helps people “55 and better” improve their functional strength and balance so they can maintain independence and engage more easily in their daily activities. Of special interest are older adults at risk for osteoporosis, or loss of bone density.
Osteoporosis affects about 8 million American women and 2 million men, says Dr. Steven Kushner of Christiana Care Health System, but women are the primary victims because their smaller bones grow thin faster as they lose estrogen during menopause.
“Some authorities report one out of every two women will get osteoporosis,” says Kushner, and “two out of five women who reach the age of 50 will have a fracture due to osteoporosis at some point in their lifetime.”
Because osteoporosis causes little or no discomfort in its early stages, only a small number of individuals are diagnosed and treated, Kushner says. A visit to the doctor for an osteoporosis risk assessment is essential. Screening is simple, painless and non-invasive.
There are some common risk factors that can be addressed by both sexes to help prevent osteoporosis. Kushner points to examples of cigarette smoking, low body weight, low calcium intake, alcoholism and inadequate physical activity.
“Prevention is the most important message that can be given to those at risk for osteoporosis,” Kushner says. He emphasizes that “regular weight-bearing exercise is paramount to keep one’s bones healthy and strong.”
Fitness club owners know all too well that getting people to exercise can be a real challenge. “Only 15 percent of the adult population belongs to a fitness center, many of whom don’t use their membership,” Carpenter says. “Of that, maybe 25 percent are over the age of 55.”
He and Ralph realize that though their family wellness center has nearly 13,000 members, they’re not reaching or meeting the needs of many older adults. With StandStrong, that’s beginning to change.
Page 3: Boning Up, continues...