Back on the Move

Innovative once-a-week exercise program improves skeletal strength.

Tucked away inside Janet Hunter’s personal vault of mementos is a photo of her standing in front of the Matterhorn, the majestic pyramid-shaped mountain in the Alps that straddles the Swiss-Italian border.

The photo was snapped back in the days when Janet traveled regularly, often in search of the deepest, driest and softest powder. An avid skier, Janet ultimately found that perfect powder skiing the slopes of the Rocky Mountains.

OsteoStrong has helped Janet regain her Independence.

OsteoStrong has helped Janet regain her Independence.

“I’ve skied all over the world, including the Swiss Alps, the Austrian Alps and even in Japan,” Janet reveals. “But no one has better snow and does a better job of grooming the trails than they do in Colorado and Utah. It’s absolutely beautiful there.”

Alas, it has been almost a decade since Janet, 63, last strapped on a pair of skis. The sudden development of a rare neurological disorder called stiff person syndrome, or SPS, is one reason. A transient ischemic attack or TIA stroke she suffered in 2012 is the other.

As it did with Janet, SPS can cause fluctuating muscle rigidity in the trunk and limbs and an increased sensitivity to noise, touch and emotional distress that can trigger muscle spasms. The stroke, meanwhile, caused Janet to lose almost all sense of balance.

Together, the conditions robbed Janet of far more than the ability to ski. Her muscle rigidity and lack of balance were so great in fact that for years she fell several times throughout the day and often had to call for help to get up again.

“I eventually ended up in a wheelchair because I couldn’t walk or even get myself out of bed,” Janet continues. “I couldn’t even talk, so I needed a full-time caregiver. Thankfully, I underwent a procedure in 2016 that has helped me tremendously.”

Known as a hematopoietic stem cell transplant, that procedure helped Janet regain the ability to talk and walk with the aid of a walker. Then two years ago, in the midst of her recovery, she learned she was fighting another potentially disabling disorder: osteoporosis.

Found most often in postmenopausal women, osteoporosis and its predecessor, osteopenia, develop when bone growth fails to keep pace with natural bone degeneration to the point where bone mineral density becomes dangerously low.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about 54 million Americans suffer from osteopenia, osteoporosis or low bone mass, all of which can increase the possibility of bone breaks. Osteoporosis can even cause some to lose height as its effect on the spine can lead to a stooped posture.

Considered a silent disease by many physicians, osteoporosis often goes undetected until a fracture occurs. That’s why Janet, a retired microbiologist, immediately began searching for a remedy. She chose OsteoStrong.

Innovative Program 

OsteoStrong, which has a location in Lake Mary, is a revolutionary, integrative health, wellness and fitness program that has helped more than 25,000 people reverse the negative effects of bone loss and improve skeletal strength.

At its core is a once-a-week, 15-minute workout that has proved effective in helping people rebuild bone and improve balance, posture and strength through the use of proprietary equipment designed to achieve osteogenesis. 

The workouts are performed using four biomechanical machines that allow users to be placed in the safest and strongest positions. During these sessions, users safely exert pressure four to 12 times their body weight. 

“The difference between our equipment and the equipment at a traditional gym is that ours is designed to strengthen the skeletal system, which means tension is developed without contraction of the muscles,” states Bryan Repple, owner of OsteoStrong Lake Mary.

“There is no force pushing against you, which means you create the force. On the leg press, for example, I’ve had ladies in their 80s who weigh 100 pounds press 1,000 pounds. That’s because the equipment is designed to keep you in a safe position.

“For a 100-pound person to develop new bone working out on traditional equipment, they would need to create a resistance of well over 400 pounds. That simply can’t be done by 99 percent of people in a typical gym environment.”

To understand the difference between OsteoStrong and conventional workouts, Bryan invites people of all ages to try the equipment at his Lake Mary location, where he offers a complimentary tour and workout session.

“We help people build a stronger skeletal system, which further allows them to live a healthier, more active lifestyle,” Bryan adds. “It’s a truly amazing concept based on years of research into the body’s natural adaptive response to growing new bone.

“Through that research, we have come to learn that when you put certain forces on the bones, the body responds by growing new bone tissue. That’s a known medical fact. And the results of these short sessions are absolutely amazing.

“Our studies show that, on average, OsteoStrong improves bone density from 7 to 14 percent per year. Those studies also show that during their first year at OsteoStrong, people typically increase their strength by an average of 73 percent.”

Research further shows that doing an OsteoStrong session more than once a week does not promote additional benefit. As a result, the workouts are impactful and time efficient. And the benefits go beyond reversing osteoporosis.

In addition to increasing bone density, balance, posture and strength, the program helps alleviate pain and symptoms associated with arthritis, fibromyalgia, knee and back injuries, neuropathy, Type 2 diabetes and vertigo. 

Those benefits are among the many reasons Bryan encourages all genders and ages to accept his invitation to try the OsteoStrong equipment at the Lake Mary location. After all, osteoporosis is not limited to any particular demographic.

“Osteoporosis is not something that only happens to older people,” he explains. “We have clients young and old and everything in between. In addition, men are not immune. When they start losing their testosterone, their bone loss becomes more rapid. 

“Here at the OsteoStrong Lake Mary location we want to help educate people about bone loss. The skeletal framework is the most important part of the body, and you need to take care of it and be aware of changes to it.”

“I Know It’s Helping Me”

Janet began the OsteoStrong program about a year ago, then had a bone density scan done this past June. The scan showed that the osteoporosis in Janet’s left femoral neck had reverted to osteopenia while the osteopenia throughout the rest of her left hip had also improved.

Since beginning the program, Janet’s balance and strength have improved as well. Falls are now a rare occurrence, says Janet, who notes that on the few occasions in which she has fallen in the past year, she’s had the strength to get up without assistance or incident.

“I’m definitely getting stronger as a result of these workouts,” Janet enthuses. “My posture has improved as well, and so has my gait and my endurance. I can actually stand up and balance myself without hanging on to anything now.

“I couldn’t do that before I started going to OsteoStrong in Lake Mary, so I know it’s helping me. In fact, when I first started the OsteoStrong program, I needed the help of two people to get me on the machines and get going. Now I can do it by myself.”

Janet joined OsteoStrong primarily to help ward off the effects of osteoporosis. As her bone density scan shows, the program is doing just that for her. It’s also reducing the impact of her SPS, and as a result she intends to stick with the program for good.

“It’s an awesome program, and the people at the Lake Mary location are just great,” she exudes. “They’re very helpful and enthusiastic, and even they have noticed a difference in my energy, demeanor and appearance since I started going there. I believe in it.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photo by Jordan Pysz. js
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