Living With Osteoporosis

Getting a medical diagnosis can be scary and discouraging. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, Osteoporosis is commonly called a “silent disease.” Often, breaking a bone is the first clue you have osteoporosis. Some people learn that they have osteoporosis after they lose height from one or more broken bones in the spine. These broken bones can even occur without any noticeable pain. Millions of Americans – 54 million to be exact – have low bone density or osteoporosis. About one in two women and one in four men over 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. The disease causes an estimated two million broken bones every year.

At the Y, we have members of all ages, stages, and abilities, so we work hard to offer equipment and programming that will meet everyone’s needs and goals. One member, Jamie Willis recently found herself at an unfamiliar crossroads. “The YMCA has always been a supportive environment for me, both physically and mentally.  In August, I was diagnosed with osteoporosis and I was determined to slow this without the use of prescription drugs if at all possible.”

Exercise is the Best Medicine

With her doctor’s encouragement, Jamie agree to a prescription for exercise. She would focus on weight bearing exercise and increased calcium intake for 12-months and then reevaluate her bone health. “I turned to the Y and was paired with Kyle Scharwarth,” Jamie said. “I liked that he listened to my goals at the first meeting and then explained a plan of progression.” 

Jamie felt that Kyle’s knowledge and concern for safety would be a good fit for her goals. “I was nervous, as this was out of my comfort zone, but I knew I had important health goals,” she said. “When I have asthma flare ups, exercise takes a back seat, but being accountable to a specific time and place has always been a motivator for me.”

According to Kyle, it’s very common for clients to feel nervous during the first few sessions. “Most people have never worked with a trainer before, so it can seem daunting,” he said. “As trainers, we know that, and we look forward to getting to know our clients and putting their minds at ease.”

Making Progress

Kyle taught Jamie how to safely lift weights with moves which are proven to strengthen bones. “Kyle listens to me, answers my questions and is a great motivator,” Jamie said. “Even when I am using lighter weights, he makes me feel like I am making progress. I really appreciate his attention to posture and form, rather than how many sloppy reps a girl can do!”  

Jamie acknowledges that fighting osteoporosis and asthma is a long-term battle, but says that she now looks forward to exercise and her conversations with Kyle. “His positive encouragement gives me motivation to keep going. We share laughs, bad puns, and agree on great quarterbacks and coaches. And there are always discussions of great food and healthy recipes.”  

One of the barriers Jamie has overcome through training is the temptation to focus too much on the scale. “Kyle has helped me see past the scale numbers and into my heart more than anyone I have ever known.  I would never have thought a personal trainer could lead me towards a more positive body image,” she said. 

Every Client is Unique

Personal trainers at the Y don’t stick to the same routine for every client. They build custom plans based on each person’s lifestyle and goals. “When I am ready to progress, Kyle makes quick adjustments based on my ability,” Jamie said. “Our training sessions are ALWAYS personalized for my needs and not just a textbook prescription of exercises.”

As COVID cases increased in Coles County, Jamie decided she was more comfortable training from home. Kyle quickly made arrangements to complete training sessions by Zoom, which has worked well for both Kyle and Jamie. “I chose virtual training because it is a safe way to continue making progress during the pandemic,” Jamie said. “I feel stronger, and my oxygen flow numbers are the highest they have been in seven years.”  

If you are interested in improving your quality of life through personal training at the Y, click here to complete an interest packet today!