Not For Women Only

Men and women can reverse osteoporosis with innovative exercise program.

By 1987, Richard Harris’ portrayal of King Arthur in the musical Camelot had become the stuff of legend. So much so that Harris took the show on what he described as a “world tour.” When that tour came to Pittsburgh, Donald Mulneix traveled well outside of his comfort zone to see it. The reason was Bonnie Byron.

Men suffer from osteoporosis, too, so they can benefit from OsteoStrong just like women.

Men suffer from osteoporosis, too, so they can benefit from OsteoStrong just like women.

“Bonnie was a health and physical education teacher, and I was in maintenance at Butler High School in Butler, Pennsylvania, which is about 40 miles outside of Pittsburgh,” Donald relates. “She really wanted to see that show, but she didn’t want to drive to Pittsburgh, so I told her I’d drive her. She said, If you drive, I’ll pay, and that was our first date.”

What Bonnie didn’t know then was that Donald hates musicals. He was already falling in love with Bonnie, though, and the two were married two years later. In addition to recently celebrating their 32nd wedding anniversary, they also marked their 10th anniversary of moving to The Villages®.

Like most residents of The Villages, Donald and Bonnie are quite active. Donald, 71, plays golf and softball each week. Bonnie, 69, is among the leaders of a group called Bone Builders, which helps women combat two diseases, osteopenia and osteoporosis.

Found most often in postmenopausal women, osteopenia and osteoporosis develop when bone growth fails to keep pace with natural bone degeneration to the point where bone mineral density becomes dangerously low. As a result, these two diseases greatly increase the risk of debilitating bone breaks.

But it’s not only women who are affected by these conditions. While studies show that one in two women will experience an osteoporosis-related fracture at some point, they also show that one in four men will deal with a similar or more serious incident. That’s greater than the likelihood of a man developing prostate cancer. 

The reason men are nearly as susceptible as women are to an osteoporosis-related fracture is because of decreasing testosterone. As men age, testosterone levels decline. This decline can lead to a decrease in bone density loss. And by the age of 65, men are typically losing bone density at the same rate as women.

Other factors that can weaken bones and lead to osteopenia or osteoporosis include smoking, a habit adopted by 40 percent of men as opposed to 9 percent of women. In fact, studies show that by the age of 70, a smoker’s bone density is already 5 percent lower than a non-smoker’s bone density.

Excessive drinking can have adverse effects on bone health as well, and just as with smoking, studies show that men are more likely to drink than women. But studies also show that men are far less likely than women to get tested and treated for osteopenia and osteoporosis. As a result, it’s not unusual for men to learn they are suffering from the disease only after they’ve suffered a bone break or detected a significant loss in posture, strength and balance.

Thankfully, Donald had not suffered any such break or noticed any such changes. But after Bonnie joined a program called OsteoStrong to help her combat symptoms of osteopenia, she urged him to give the program a try himself. He did just that and now, in an effort to further display its commitment to residents of The Villages, OsteoStrong is sponsoring one of Donald’s softball teams.

Resistance Yields Results

OsteoStrong is a revolutionary program that has helped more than 25,000 people reverse the negative effects of bone loss through once-a-week, 15-minute sessions that utilize proprietary equipment to achieve osteogenesis, which is bone development. The equipment includes four biomechanical machines that allow users to perform four high-impact trigger events that stimulate the musculoskeletal system. 

“We are not a gym; we’re not here to help you run a marathon,” asserts Kristina Adams, director of operations of OsteoStrong, The Villages. “We are a wellness facility that specializes in reversing bone loss and strength loss, improving balance, and eliminating back and joint pain. We do this, not with supplements, surgical procedures or medications, but through the use of our exclusive equipment, which helps improve bone density by 7 to 14 percent per year and increases strength by an average of 73 percent during the first year at OsteoStrong.”

Bill Atterbury, the owner of OsteoStrong, notes that the program is based on a century-old theory called Wolff’s Law, which looked into the body’s natural adaptive response to growing new bone and improving bone density.

“Through that theory and years of research, we have come to learn that when you put certain forces on the bones, the body responds by growing bone tissue,” Bill informs. “That’s a known medical fact, and the results we get are absolutely amazing. Our clients are literally reversing osteopenia and osteoporosis.”

That’s because OsteoStrong’s unique system stimulates bone growth through a process called Osteogenic loading, which results in significant gains in strength, flexibility, balance, energy, agility and bone density. According to OsteoStrong that’s something that can’t be done with medications, some of which can cause severe side effects. 

“When it comes to osteoporosis medications, I use the analogy of the good apple verses the bad apple,” Kristina explains. “If you take both apples and dip them into a candy coating, they both come out looking great. But the integrity of what’s on the inside hasn’t changed.

“That’s what a lot of the medications used to treat osteoporosis do to a person’s bones. They actually make the DEXA scan show improvement. But on the inside, the bones still are not very strong, and in some cases may become even more brittle.

“OsteoStrong actually helps you build a stronger skeletal system by increasing your bone density. It also increases muscular strength and improves balance. And that can give you a better quality of life, make it easier to perform normal daily activities and increase your ability to do things you haven’t been able to do in a very long time.”

Working at the Cellular Level

OsteoStrong has also proved helpful in alleviating the pain and suffering associated with fibromyalgia, neuropathy and vertigo. It can even help people with Type 2 diabetes lower their A1c levels.

How all that can be achieved through a once-a-week session that last about 15 minutes is one of the questions Kristina fields often from people interested in the OsteoStrong program. The answer lies in the science behind it.

“We do this once a week because instead of working the muscles like you do in a gym, we’re working the musculoskeletal system at the cellular level,” Kristina relates. “When you work on a cellular level, your body needs three or four days to recover and make new cells. That’s why it doesn’t benefit you to do this more than once a week.

“The other thing we educate members on is how weak bones can be the root of many other problems. A lot of people don’t realize that even your immune system is connected to your bones. So if your bones aren’t healthy, your immune system isn’t likely to be healthy either. That’s why we invite people of all ages to come in and learn about OsteoStrong.”

Bonnie and Donald joined the OsteoStrong program about a year ago. Bonnie has not had a bone density scan since, but she’s confident the program is helping to slow her osteopenia. Donald, meanwhile, has noticed an uptick in strength and balance since beginning the program.

“I know it’s working for me because every week that I go there we work on the machines and I see the results,” he says. “I’ve also noticed it just doing things around the house and out on the golf course.

“That’s why I was stressing to all the guys on the softball team to at least give it try. It’s a really good program, and just like I did with the guys on my softball team, I’d recommend it to anyone.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photo courtesy of OsteoStrong. js
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