Four women are celebrating a big anniversary in Aberdeen this year. They've been fighting osteoporosis together with the help of a certified personal trainer and a class designed just for them. Nancy Naeve Brown takes us to the Avera St. Luke's osteo-cise class.
Janet Neff, Betty Werth and sisters Jo Walter and Pat Waltman have all become like family on a mission to ward off osteoporosis. 10 years ago they met at the same exercise class at Avera St. Luke's Hospital. All four had been diagnosed with either osteopenia, a precursor to osteoporosis or osteoporosis itself. Osteoporosis is a degeneration of the bone density and puts you at a higher risk of fractures.
Janet says, "My mother and grandmother had osteoporosis, in fact my mother was quite debilitated. When I was diagnosed I wanted to do everything possible to prevent it. "
She saw a flyer that Avera St. Luke's was offering a fitness class called Osteo-cise which involves stretching, walking, weight-lifting and deep breathing. She joined the class even though it meant a 40 minute drive from her home in Claremont.
Certified Personal Trainer Vicki Holley says, "It was started by two physical therapists who thought there has to be something they could do to help their patients that had thinning bones. They encouraged that the program get started and it's been around 12 years."
These four women have been doing osteo-cise together twice a week for 10 years and their certified personal trainer Vicki Holley has been with them every step, every muscle of the way. And let me tell you they are strong! Some of these women can do 100 pound back extensions.
Vicki says, "They could lead the class but they humor me and let me in charge. Research is saying that if women do weight bearing exercises that we can improve bone density by 4% and that doesn't sound like a lot but if the normal degeneration would continue they would lose 12% of bone density in a year. So if we can improve that to 4 % overall 16% improvement in bone density."
Janet says, "Oh it's made me so much stronger. I can do things I couldn't do before. I had a knee replacement and that was like nothing because I'd been doing this."
Vicki says Janet brings up a really good point about surgery and regular exercise, in general, as we age.
Vicki says, "Even if they have to have surgery, the better health they are before surgery, the more positive outcome they will have with rehab."
Janet says, "Like I said, my mother had it in her back. She was in pain and shrunk up and I thought there is no way I'm going to let that happen and it hasn't."
No way, no how! No Nancy's here, except of course me.
Osteo-cise is offered Mondays and Wednesdays at the Avera St. Luke's Midland Campus. The next 5 week session starts February 13th. The cost is $26 per session. For more information call 605.622.5878.