Bone Builders aims to keep local seniors healthy

Watertown seniors have a new tool for staying healthy and strong. Almost anyone can participate, it doesn’t take a lot of time, and better yet, it’s free.

Volunteers of America-Minnesota’s RSVP volunteer program has recently partnered with Carver County Public Health and Watertown-Mayer Community Education to sponsor Bone Builders. Bone Builders is an exercise initiative that aims to connect adults 55 and older with physical and social benefits.

Bone Builders is an RSVP Signature Program, developed based on research from Tufts University. The class participants use a combination of weight-bearing exercises, balance, and strength training. The idea behind the program is to increase muscle and bone density, which reduces the risk of falls associated with osteoporosis. Classes are taught by peer volunteers and are designed to make participants feel comfortable and welcome.

Class leader and Watertown resident Kathi Reeves, likes the idea of strength training and leading the class in her local community.

I noticed as I was getting older I was losing strength,” Reeves said. “I wanted to do the class for myself too. All of us in the class have noticed a major improvement in strength.”

The mental and social component of the class is just as important as the physical aspects are. Relationships are often formed in the classes as the participants encourage and support individual success. “We inspire each other,” said Reeves.

And, the class is free…a refreshing change from most gyms and other health care programs. Bone Builders strives to remove financial barriers and eliminates the intimidation factor of traditional gyms. All older adults are welcome to attend, however, participants are required to complete a health information form and get medical clearance from their physician.

Reeves, who is also a yoga instructor, encourages those who are concerned about starting to give it a try. “People shouldn’t be afraid to try it,” said Reeves. “We are all working out together. Come and try it out anytime and make a commitment to yourself.”

RSVP currently has one site in Carver County hosting the Bone Builders program. Classes are held every Wednesday at the Watertown-Mayer Primary School Auditorium. Contact Watertown-Mayer Community Education to register, 952-955-0280.

Due to the popularity of the program, RSVP is always looking for Bone Builders volunteer class leaders. There will be a free volunteer leader training on Jan. 15. Please call Carolyn at 952-945-4161 for more information.