Bone Builders exercise program launches at East Terrace Co-op

A new exercise class at the East Terrace Co-op in Cambridge has seniors talking about the biweekly class’s many health benefits.

RSVP Bone Builders is an osteoporosis prevention and reversal exercise program that relies on weight training to protect against fractures caused by osteoporosis through increasing both muscular strength and bone density.

Participants in the Bone Builders osteoporosis prevention and reversal exercise program at East Terrace Co-op in Cambridge. Photo by Rachel Kytonen

Participants in the Bone Builders osteoporosis prevention and reversal exercise program at East Terrace Co-op in Cambridge. Photo by Rachel Kytonen

The program offered at East Terrace Co-op is led by Gail Genin, who is a trained RSVP member. Biweekly classes are offered to help improve balance, increase strength, enhance energy, and provide health education, group discussion and socialization to participants. Classes are free to participants.

“We know there are often balance issues with senior citizens, so this program works to improve that balance and strength as we grow older,” Genin said. “We have a nice group of participants and anyone is welcome to join. We start off at a nice and slow place and build up with time. Participants are welcome to go at a pace they are comfortable with. You are welcome to join at anytime, and we are looking for the addition of three to four participants.”

Since the program started at the East Terrace Co-op, participants have seen an 91 percent increase in the chair stand; 78 percent increase in arm curl; 43 percent increase in sit and reach; and 69 percent increase in back scratch exercises.

Genin said this free program is open to those 55 and older and all equipment is provided. The class is offered every Tuesday and Thursday at East Terrace Co-op 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Genin noted the program is looking for more volunteer trainers to lead the biweekly exercise sessions.

“Eighty to 90 percent of our participants come every single time,” Genin said. “I think this is wonderful program for our community. You don’t have to live in the East Terrace Co-op building to be a part of this amazing program. Anyone is welcome.”

Program participant Janelle Evanson has always enjoyed exercising.

“I’ve exercised for years and was waiting for an exercise program to start in the building,” Evanson said. “I really like the program, and it makes you feel good about yourself. I have more energy, and I’m currently taking the program to become a leader for the class.”

Nancy Gustafason had been going to an exercise facility in town prior to the Bone Builders program being offered at East Terrace Co-op.

“I’ve been diagnosed with osteopenia, and this program is good for building bones and preventing further damage to the bones,” Gustafason said. “I had been going to a place in town but decided to give this a try since it’s located in the building. It’s very convenient, and it really makes you feel good about yourself.”

Betty Turnquist enjoys the benefits she’s seeing so far.

“This class is helping me to stay flexible,” Turnquist said. “This class has been helpful in regard to balance and it helps me to keep moving.”

Volunteers of America Program Director Monique Mendyke  serves as program director for the retired and senior volunteer program.

“We are looking to expand the Bone Builders program to additional locations in our community but need to recruit volunteers interested in taking Bone Builder leader classes so they can conduct additional classes,” Mendyke said. “As soon as we have exercise leaders trained to lead the classes, we will offer the Bone Builders class in additional communities.”

For more information on Bone Builders or Volunteers of America, contact Monique Mendyke at 320-679-1080 or email mmendyke@voamn.org.

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