Maxine Murray keeps osteoporosis at bay at the Tucson J

Timing couldn’t have been more serendipitous for Maxine Murray to start exercising at the Tucson Jewish Community Center.

“I have a diagnosis of osteopenia, a condition which leads to osteoporosis,” says Maxine. “The medication known to treat this condition only builds bone density, not necessarily healthy bones. I had to do something additional to maintain my health.”

Then Maxine saw a notice for BEST Protocol for Osteoporosis, a small group class meeting three times weekly for a 12-week commitment. She knew it was important enough for her to do it. The protocol describes prevention, maintenance and potential reversal of osteoporosis for women as studied by nutritional scientists at the University of Arizona as a “gold standard” for improving bone health. The BEST (Bone Estrogen Strength Training) study was funded by the National Institute of Health. The study is based on the idea that if you increase the load on your bones, the bones will respond and adapt.

BEST protocol includes a warm-up period to target large muscles on a treadmill, bike or other cardio machine, followed by a structured rotation through six specific weight machines. It wraps up with 15 minutes on the stair stepper, the affectionately known “stairway to hell.” Despite the rigorous challenges of the protocol, Maxine raves about their “truly magnificent” instructor, Mary Maher, MS, ACSM-CPT.

Program participants bonded during their sessions to the extent that they’ve maintained their workout routines after completing the program. Some have signed up for the next session beginning in October. Their ages range from 64 to 82.

“People ask me, how do you do this?” Maxine jokes, “I just explain to them, this is my job, and my salary is my strong, healthy body as payment.” Accomplishing the BEST protocol leaves her feeling hopeful and optimistic about her long-term health.

Of the recent Tucson J remodel, Maxine comments: “It’s just beautiful, absolutely beautiful. It’s not just a community limited to Jews, it’s a real Tucson community with all ages, all ethnicities. It’s so good to be a part of an all-inclusive community.” Although Maxine exercised for years with Silver Sneakers at the Ott Family YMCA closer to her east side home, she now finds herself more fully using the J’s gym in addition to her other J activities.

In addition to her exercise activities, Maxine is a lifetime Hadassah member and book club aficionado. She enjoys Rabbi Stephanie Aaron’s services in Tucson

“I have become stronger, I have more endurance and I feel healthier! You get out what you put in,” says Maxine.

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