Y Story: Strength Training Improves Health

Each individual has his or her own personal reason for exercising. Two Batesville women have discovered the health benefits of adding strength training to their workouts. 

Maureen Grote started attending the BODYPUMP group exercise class when it was first offered at the Southeastern Indiana YMCA about three years ago. The 73-year-old, who had a bone density test several years ago, was diagnosed with osteoporosis, a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. Since then, Grote says she has had another test, which showed “an 11% improvement in my spine.” She attributes this to taking strength training (BODYPUMP) twice a week, along with yoga classes and walking.

“BODYPUMP is about 27 years old and is only one of 15 formats offered by Les Mills,” reports instructor Terri Roper (pictured right). “Many gyms and YMCAs have been offering BODYPUMP to their group fitness classes for a while now because of its immense local, national and worldwide popularity. Our Y started officially offering BODYPUMP in January of 2018. We now have three instructors and offer the class four times a week.  

“The exercise moves follow upbeat music so that various timing and patterns challenge your muscles to fatigue all while remaining very fun and enjoyable.  Since there is not any jumping involved, there is a great range in the age of participants. Each class ends with a segment focusing on core stability and finally a nice stretch and cool down.”

After having a bone density test in 2016, Dr. Mary Robertson (pictured left) discovered she had osteopenia, low bone density caused by bone loss, which is often a precursor to osteoporosis. “I’ve always been a walker, but I found out a couple years ago that studies have shown that if you are of normal weight, regular walking does not build your bones. That’s when I started thinking I need to do something different.

“My husband always tried to get me to do weights, and I never would do it. But this class (BODYPUMP) with the music was the kicker for me. This class really does help build up your muscle enough that it protects your joints.”

Doing the exercises are so beneficial that after Grote fractured her foot a year ago, she says her orthopedic specialist told her to keep going to the BODYPUMP class “even though I had to wear a boot (on the fractured foot) because the strength training was really good for my bones.”

Robertson points out, “Osteoporosis is one of the leading causes of debility in women. The main areas we’re concerned about are the hip and spine because if you injure them, it sets you way back. One out of four people who have a hip fracture will either be in a nursing home or diseased within one year afterward.”

“Performing squats with weight is one of the best ways to build pelvic bone density,” Roper stresses.

“BODYPUMP is weightlifting for everyone. The moves are designed to be purposeful, safe, and with plenty of room for modification,” she reports. “The resistance exercises are backed by Les Mills sports/health/fitness professionals to make sure every move is designed with purpose to ensure result without injury.”

By Diane Raver, Fund Development Coordinator