National Volunteer Week-Interview 4


By K-State Student Anthony Smith:

Five years ago Sharon Larson had to come to the realization that she could have the beginning stages of Osteoporosis. Not unlike the 4.5 million women over the age of 50 in the United States who are living with the disease today. It also affects 800,000 millionthousand men over the age of 50 in the United States. Osteoporosis is a disease in which the density and quality of bone are reduced. This causes bones to become weak and can break very easily in a fall, or in more serious cases, from everyday activities.
Sharon was a potential candidate for Osteoporosis and had a complete knee replacement. Before she had a knee replacement she was not that active in her day to day activities and did not have any real exercising routines. When she had her knee replacement it slowed her down and she went to therapy after the surgery. She did what she could but was still not very active. During this time after her surgery she had trouble sleeping at night because her knee was hurting tremendously. She wanted to become active but did not know what to do for exercises.
After Sharon’s knee replacement she heard some of the nurses talking about a Bone Builders Program through RSVP Volunteer Center. She looked into this program so her and her husband could be more active. RSVP’s Bone Builders program is an aerobics and fitness class that takes place at Max Fitness. The classes are open for anyone 55 years or older and are led by a certified exercise instructor. Sharon and her husband started taking this class with the goal of becoming more active, exercising more to help with the pain of the knee replacement and to help build up an exercise routine.
It did not take long for Sharon to see results from going to Bone Builders. She was able to sleep through the night just because she began this program and was working on moving her knee more. She was so happy because the pain was gone from her knee and thankful that she had found this class to help her know what to do. The class has given her the skills and knowledge to make a routine and continue to build up strength and prevent her knee from hurting. This also helps prevent Osteoporosis because she is working on building her muscles and becoming stronger.
Some of the exercises that really helped Sharon’s knee were balancing, step class, band workouts and stretching. The instructor was incredibly helpful during the whole program and she met many people during the program that she is friends with now. Her friends were upset with her because she did not tell them sooner about the program because they wanted to join too. The RSVP’s Bone Builders program truly changed Sharon’s life, because she does not have to suffer from her knee surgery and she now has a routine to prevent her knee from hurting. The classes are two times a day for three months in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. Sharon’s husband loves the program because it motivates him to be active, because there are other people in the class and it is not exercising at home by himself. Also, at the end of the sessions, Hy-Vee puts on a lunch for the members of the program. They provide healthy food and allow them to cook and learn about nutritious foods to stay healthy.
Overall this program has been immensely helpful for Sharon and many others. She could not sleep because of the pain that she was suffering from due to her knee replacement but this program has made that pain go away. It has also given her the skills and knowledge to start her own routine at her house when the program is not in session. She is very thankful for the RSVP Volunteer Center for offering this program to area seniors and Max Fitness for partnering with RSVP in providing this opportunity and being able to become more active in her life.


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