Senior Skier’s Bones Are At Peak Efficiency

Once-a-week exercise program can reverse the effects of osteopenia and osteoporosis.

Jane Barr

The North American Airline Ski Federation no longer awards medals for its racing events. The organization of airline employees and retirees now rewards top finishers with gift cards and vouchers for hotels, ski equipment, and other goods and services.

That’s just fine with Jane Barr, a 75-year-old retired flight attendant who still skis competitively against other federation members. She already has a dresser drawer full of medals, so she would much rather have the cash.

“I bought my last helmet with one of those vouchers,” Jane notes. “The medals are nice, but the cash is something I can really use.”

Jane is hoping to haul in a little more cash this winter. The federation has events scheduled for Taos, New Mexico, in January; Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in February; and Palisades Tahoe in Olympic Valley, California, in April. She plans on attending all three.

“I’ll probably stick to the B races because I’m never going to be as good as some of those A racers,” Jane adds. “A lot of those folks are in their 20s and 30s, and sometimes it’s even hard for me to compete against some of the racers who are in their 50s.”

But compete she does, in slalom, giant slalom and mogul events. This despite being diagnosed several years ago with osteopenia, a potentially severe condition that can increase the risk of bone breaks.

Found most often in postmenopausal women, osteopenia is the precursor of osteoporosis. Both diseases develop when bone growth fails to keep pace with bone degeneration to where bone mineral density becomes dangerously low.

About 54 million Americans, including many men, experience osteopenia, osteoporosis or low bone mass, all of which increase the risk for hip, spine and wrist fractures and can even cause some to lose height as they can lead to a stooped posture.

Considered a silent disease by many physicians, osteoporosis often goes undetected until a fracture occurs. Jane learned of her condition when a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, or DEXA, scan showed she had osteopenia in her spine.

“Because of the bone loss, my doctor put me on BONIVA®,” Jane shares. “I took that for a year, and my condition didn’t change. Then I read an article in Florida Health Care News about OsteoStrong and decided to give that a try.”

Inventive Program

OsteoStrong is a revolutionary exercise program that has helped more than 25,000 people reverse the effects of osteoporosis and osteopenia through the use of specialized biomechanical equipment once a week for about 15 minutes.

The equipment is designed for resistance-based pushing and pulling with the arms and legs. During the resistance motion, a pressure many times the user’s body weight can be safely applied.

“The difference between OsteoStrong equipment and the equipment at a traditional gym is that ours does not involve a counter force,” states Mark Brady, president of OsteoStrong in South Pasadena.

“Because there’s no force pushing against you, you create a force within your comfort zone, and you’re in control of it at all times. For example, on our lower body machine, I’ve had women in their 80s who weigh 100 pounds exert forces in excess of 1,000 pounds.

“For a 100-pound person to develop new bone working out on traditional weight equipment, they would need to create a resistance of over 400 pounds. That simply can’t be done by 99 percent of all people in a gym environment because it involves weights they couldn’t physically move. Or, if they could move them, they’d be at high risk of injury.”

“I couldn’t be happier with my decision to join OsteoStrong.” – Jane

To understand the difference, Mark invites people to come in and try the OsteoStrong equipment, noting that his facility offers a free orientation session that will allow them to learn more about the science behind the program.

“This is an amazing concept that is the culmination of 12 years of research that looked into the body’s adaptive response to growing bone and muscle to improve the density of the bones,” Mark says.

“Medical research has shown when you put certain forces on the bones, the body responds by growing new bone tissue. That’s what OsteoStrong does, and the results of these short sessions are absolutely amazing.”

According to Mark, studies have found that OsteoStrong improves bone density 3 to 10 percent per year. In addition, people will increase their strength by an average of 73 percent over their first year at OsteoStrong.

Mark also points out that doing an OsteoStrong session more than once a week does not promote additional benefit. As a result, workouts are both impactful and time efficient.

Noting that osteoporosis is not exclusive to any age group or gender, Mark encourages people of all ages to accept his invitation to try the equipment.

“Osteoporosis is not something that only happens to old people,” he explains. “As a result, we have clients from young to old. And men are not immune. When men start losing their testosterone, their bone loss becomes more rapid.

“At OsteoStrong, we also offer people an opportunity to learn more about osteopenia and osteoporosis and why the OsteoStrong program is so effective at fighting them.”

“Marvelous” Results

Even at age 75, Jane continues to ski at a championship level.

Jane first began working out at OsteoStrong four years ago. A DEXA scan taken two years later showed that her osteopenia remained stable; another taken this past year indicted the osteopenia “was gone, totally gone,” she says.

“I was really impressed with that because it proves the program is working. I also take a calcium supplement, but I couldn’t be happier with my decision to join OsteoStrong.

“The workouts are very convenient, and they’re not hard at all. I love going there, and I’ve recommended the program to several friends. Some are going already, and some others are thinking about it.

“I gladly encourage anyone to give OsteoStrong a try, especially if you’re fighting osteopenia or osteoporosis because it’s a great program and the people there are very helpful.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photo by Jordan Pysz. Race photo courtesy of Jane Barr. mkb
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