Local | Senior Lifestyle

Tucson J initiates UA-designed bone strength program

This week, the Tucson Jewish Community Center launched a new 12-week series, the BEST Protocol for Osteoporosis, with instructor Mary T. Maher, M.S., A.C.S.M.-C.P.T. The three-day-a-week program is based on the Bone Estrogen Strength Training study conducted by the University of Arizona between 1995 and 2001.

The protocol’s goals include prevention, maintenance and the potential reversal of osteoporosis for women.

“The BEST program, designed by scientists at the University of Arizona, is the gold standard for improving bone health in post-menopausal clients with osteopenia or osteoporosis,” says Maher, explaining that the Tucson J’s series provides personalized instruction in a small-group setting “for improved bone density, fall prevention, core stability and stretching.”

Classes are held Monday, Wednesday and Friday from noon to 1 p.m., and are open to women and men. The cost is $561 for nonmembers and $396 for members.

Irene Topor, 63, spent 18 months training with Maher and the BEST protocol.

“I wanted someone with Mary’s expertise to help me get back to living a healthy life with exercise being a major part of that healthy lifestyle. In 2012, I had back surgery and broke my wrist. My endocrinologist said that after age 60, I lost 20 percent bone density. I knew that I would have to change the way I exercised and focus on different goals,” says Topor, who in the past had run marathons, half marathons and triathlons and was a long-distance cyclist. “I wasn’t sure how I could accomplish that because I never really enjoyed weight lifting. Since the doctor said I had a choice between lifting weights three times a week for 45 minutes following the BEST protocol or taking medication, I chose the exercise.”

Topor continues to lift weights twice a week and is eager to continue because she sees results. “My latest bone density test after following the BEST program for eight months showed bone density had improved by as much as 20 percent in some areas. There is research behind this program and the results are measurable. And, lifting weights can be fun if you open your mind to what you are doing for your bones and overall general health!”

For more information, contact Susan Frank at 299-3000 or sfrank@tucsonjcc.org, or visit tucsonjcc.org.