ROCHESTER, MN (FOX 47) -- Everyone wishes to age gracefully and part of that is maintaining a healthy lifestyle and attitude. “FOX in the Morning” visited the Rochester Public Library and met a group of health enthusiasts, who are looking to do just that. Carol Fishburne, who is the volunteer leader, gave us an insight on the basic activities of the “Bone Builders” group.
"Well, this is the 'Bone Builders' program. We have seniors that come to class. We lift weights. We work on our balance and our strength and stretching. We start out with about ten minutes of warm-ups and then we do about eight different exercises with our arm weights and leg weights and then we finish up with about ten minutes of stretching,” explained Fishburne. “We started out with just four or five of us in May, and now we're over twenty. I saw it on a bulletin board that they were looking for volunteers. I have trouble committing to an exercise program, so I thought if I was the leader I would come more often,” said Fishburne.” When asked how she got to be the leader, Fishburne said laughing: “ I volunteered.”
Although Fishburne may be a fearless leader, she does have some great help. Adam Squires and Kelsey Wigham, who are doctoral students from the Mayo Clinic, are lending a helping hand and advice.
"So, we are Mayo physical therapy students in the doctoral physical therapy program and we are doing a service learning project,” said Squires. We're here helping out and we are going to be doing some learning modules just for the older adults, teaching them a variety of topics: just to try and reach out and give back to the community,” Squires said.”
"Falls are a huge deal. One in three older adults throughout the nation have a fall each year and falls are the number one cause of non-fatal and fatal injuries in this older population,” said Wigham. She explained that the “Bone Builders Program” is about having fun, but it's also a practical program to promote education about falls. “Here in Rochester, a good majority of emergency room admittances come because of falls. We're here to start a small community awareness of falls and hopefully we can take it and it will build a little bit,” Wigham said.
Overall, both Wigham and Squires believe this program will be a big help to the older population. "I think it can be a great benefit,” Squires said. “Ultimately, education is key if people know what the risks are. That way, they can take steps to prevent falls and injuries and that's really what we want. We just want to educate people. And hopefully, by partnering with the 'Bone Builders,' we can not only educate, but then also help them with their physical activities. We think it can be a great help to the community,” said Squires.
So, how do the participants feel about it? Shirley Swenson, one of the “Bone Builders,” was anxious to tell “FOX in the Morning” how much she enjoyed the program. "It's very good. They do have a very good routine. It's fun. You're more liable to do your exercises if you're in a nice group like this.
Swenson says that age is but a number. “I think I'm the oldest one in the class. I'm pretty old. I'm 85...I'll tell that,” Swenson said laughing. Ever since I've been coming to this program, combined with my other exercises that my physical therapist has me do, I am able to walk without a cane; which before that, I had a lot of problems."
Before we left, Swenson offered a piece of advice to those old and young. "I believe in exercises and keeping moving. And that's what keeps you going when you're old. You can't just sit in the rocking chair all day."