Strong Women Program Helps to Prevent Osteoporosis
Penn State Extension
Carbon, Monroe, Pike, & Wayne Counties
As women reach age 40 (men at age 50), they begin to lose bone and muscle as a natural result of aging. This may lead to bone fracture and reduced strength that can impact quality of life and loss of independence.
Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become weak and are more likely to break. People with osteoporosis most often break bones in the hip, spine and wrist, but the disease can affect other bones as well. In the United States, 10 million people have osteoporosis and millions more have osteopenia, a condition in which low bone mass places them at risk for osteoporosis and broken bones. Older women are at a greater risk for osteoporosis, although it may strike at any age and may also affect men. One in every two women and one in four men over age 50 will break a bone in their lifetimes as a result of osteoporosis.
There are many risk factors for the development of osteoporosis, but fortunately there are also ways to reduce those risks - for example, eating a healthy diet that is rich in calcium and vitamin D. Certain types of exercise are also known to maintain or even increase bone strength, and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption and smoking helps, too.
Penn State Extension in District 9 facilitates the StrongWomen program, which was developed at Tufts University in Boston, and includes a series of one-hour sessions, twice a week for 12 weeks. The program teaches women and men how to safely and correctly do strength-training exercises. In addition to weight training each week, different nutrition and health topics are presented to help participants and their families make their lives healthier. Ongoing groups, run by certified leaders, are supported in Monroe, Pike, and Carbon counties.
The StrongWomen/Growing Stronger program helps participants to:
• Strengthen muscles and improve flexibility.
• Regain bone and muscle and lose fat.
• Reduce the risk for osteoporosis and related fractures.
• Improve arthritis and diabetes symptoms.
• Improve their intake of nutritious foods and nutrients.
This past season, 74 participants improved their strength and agility by participating at one of 4 StrongWomen sites in Pike, Monroe and Carbon counties. Registration is now open at two local sites in Pike County: Tuesdays & Thursdays: November 11, 2014 - February 19, 2015, 4:45 to 5:45 PM at the Pike County Administration Building and Tuesdays & Thursdays: December 2, 2014 - March 5, 2015, 6:00 to 6:45 PM at the Pocono Woodlands Clubhouse. For more information and to register visit the website: http://extension.psu.edu/health/strongwomen or contact Pike County Extension at 570-296-3400 or PikeExt@psu.edu.
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