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Northome community welcomes ElderCircle RSVP's Bone Builders

RSVP Bone Builders participants exercise with hand weights to build upper body strength and bone density.

ElderCircle RSVP's newest signature program, Bone Builders, has been in operation since January 2009 and is beginning a class at the Kootasca Senior Center in Northome, 9:30-11 a.m. Sept. 7 and again Sept. 9 beginning at 9:30 a.m.

This is the first Bone Builders site in Koochiching County. The program is free and weights will be provided. Each participant, however, starts the exercise program WITHOUT weights until doctor's permission slips are filed with RSVP. Applications will be available at the first class, or you may pick one up at the Northome Resource Center any time the center/Northome City Library is open. For more information call Kathy at the center at 897-5565.

An osteoporosis exercise and prevention program, RSVP Bone Builders relies upon weight training to protect against fractures caused by osteoporosis through increasing both muscular strength and bone density. Proper exercise stresses bones and stimulated by the stress, bone density increases.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation: "Osteoporosis is a major public health threat for an estimated 44 million Americans, or 55 percent of the people age 50 or older." The Mayo clinic reports that 40,000 deaths each year are associated with osteoporosis-many of these resulting from complications following hip and other bone fractures.

The primary goal of Bone Builders is to empower older men and women to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Through proper exercise and nutrition, they will maintain their independence and quality of life. Committed participants can increase bone density and muscle strength, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of falling, improve balance, have more energy and mobility and have an opportunity to socialize.

Currently, Bone Builders classes are offered in Grand Rapids and at a site in rural Itasca County. Bone Builders classes are taught by trained RSVP volunteer leaders. Bone Builders concentrates on educating participants on the importance of physical exercise, balance and weight/strength training, nutrition and healthy eating, personal safety, medical therapy and lifestyle factors as they relate to osteoporosis.

To obtain the greatest benefit from Bone Builders, participants attend classes twice weekly for a minimum of six months. Both men and women of all ages, but particularly seniors, are welcome to participate in this free program. All applicants are required to fill out health information forms and have their physician sign a Bone Builders Medical Clearance form to participate in the class.

ElderCircle RSVP is currently seeking additional volunteers (55 years or older) to be trained as class leaders for future Bone Builders sites. To register for a Bone Builders class, or to sign up as a volunteer class leader, please call RSVP at 218-283-6467 (International Falls) or 218-999-5441 (Grand Rapids) or visit 2232 2nd Ave East, International Falls or 1105 NW 4th Street, Grand Rapids.