bone builders

Strength for Healthy Aging

RSVP Bone Builders is an exercise program designed to prevent (and even reverse) the negative effects of osteoporosis. The program is based on research conducted and published by Tufts University which shows that strength training just twice a week dramatically reduces the risk of fractures due to the disease. Study participants gained bone density, became stronger and improved their balance. These health gains significantly reduced the incidence of falling. 

Bone Builders classes fill a vital need for regular physical exercise as well as increased social interaction, both well-known components of healthy aging. 

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Osteoporosis is a painful and costly problem among Vermont seniors. Vermont residents are the second oldest in the country (second only to Maine) and our population is aging rapidly. The physical, emotional, and financial impacts of a broken hip can be devastating. Many older Vermonters live alone, in rural settings, on limited incomes. The cost of accessing weight training classes, as well as the travel involved, often make attending classes out of reach for those who need them most. 

The health care costs for osteoporosis-related hip fractures are estimated at $90,000 per fracture – one of seven Vermont men and one of three Vermont women aged 50+ will break a bone due to osteoporosis. 

We're getting stronger

We are strategically expanding the program into more communities throughout Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties. We will continue to recruit and certify more volunteer instructors, secure additional donated class sites, buy weights for class locations as needed, provide ongoing learning opportunities for current volunteer leaders, advertise the classes and hold informational meetings at each site to explain the program, schedule class days and times. 

Our Role & Partners

United Way recruits and trains all volunteer Bone Builders class leaders, seeks out community partner locations, publicizes classes and offers continuing educational support to class leaders. At this time, our partners are the facilities who are donating their space for class use, free of charge: 

  • Heineberg Community & Senior Center

  • Grandway Commons

  • Kelley’s Field Senior Housing

  • Community Senior Center of Richmond, Huntington and Bolton

  • Town Meadow Senior Housing

  • Whitney Hill Homestead

  • Williston Woods

  • Cathedral Square Corporation

  • Fern Hill Senior Housing

  • O.N.E. Community Center

  • Thayer House

  • Elm Place

  • Pillsbury Homestead

  • St. Jude’s Parish Hall

  • Wright House