Stronger bones are target of specialized class

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Getting fit helps build strong bones. Registered Nurse Ali Gorman reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on June 30, 2017. (WPVI)

Getting fit has many benefits such as helping you lose weight. It also protects your bones, while lowering your risk for heart disease.

One class in Wyndmoor, Montgomery County, aims specifically on strengthening bones for those with osteoporosis or osteopenia.

Physical therapist Joanne Fagerstrom always thought she was in great shape - exercising, and keeping her weight in line.

So she was stunned to learn she had osteoporosis, until she remembered some previous bad habits she had as a teenager.

"I smoked, I hate to admit, and I didn't eat that great, I drank a lot of soda," Fagerstrom said.

Those can contribute to weakening bones.

Before trying medications, Joanne told her doctor she wanted to give exercise one more try.

"I found that I could re-target my exercises to strengthen the areas where I had weakness," Fagerstrom said.

She researched the best moves, and then created Super Bones classes, a branch of her Mindful Physical Therapy practice.

They are group workouts designed to protect and strengthen bones, and avoiding some exercises that can do more harm than good.

"If he bent forward as in a sit-up, as in toe touches, a person is putting compression on this part of the vertebrae, which could lead to fractures, Fagerstrom said.

Super Bones classes
incorporate safe elements from yoga, strength-training, and other disciplines.

"We work on postural alignment, and we work on strengthening of the back and hips," Fagerstrom said.

The exercises also aim to prevent falls by improving balance and body awareness.

Jane Century of Mount Airy, who lost bone density due to a breast cancer drug, says the class has eased her fear of falling.

"The things I do have definitely strengthened my balance," Century said.

And Joanne says that 2 and a half years after her initial diagnosis, a bone scan showed that the exercise regimen worked for her.

"I don't have osteoporosis anymore," she said.

Osteoporosis doesn't just affect women, men can also have it.

Its put you at a much greater risk for broken bones and other complications.

Weight-bearing exercises, where your body has to work against gravity are best.

They can be high or low-impact, depending on your risk and your health.

It's best to talk with your healthcare provider about what's best for you.

For more information on Super Bones classes,click here.

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