Keep Your Skeletons out of the Closet--Exercise Improves Bone Density

Olya Lechky

The Pro Program, an exercise program for seniors with osteoporosis (OP), is demonstrating that regular exercise, combined with medication and good nutrition, can improve bone mineral density (BMD) if participants stick with the program over a period of two to three years.

A patient with osteoporosis learns the benefits of good posture from Josie Tominac, PRO Program Coordinator at the Rehabilitation Institute of Toronto

Unlike many programs that target younger women as a preventative measure against developing OP, the Pro Program, at the Rehabilitation Centre of Toronto, specifically addresses the special needs of seniors at high risk of life-threatening fractures and whose OP may be complicated by a variety of other serious medical conditions. Started in 1983 by physiatrist Dr. Raphael Chow, the program currently has about 300 regular participants who exercise for 50 minutes, twice a week, in groups with similar levels of disability or fragility.

Participants are referred by their family physicians. Dr.