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Retired nurse reveals strength training cured her osteoporosis pain


A retired nurse who struggled to walk and lift heavy objects because of osteoporosis is now virtually pain free after turning to strength training. 

Anne Somauroo was forced to take daily medication after being diagnosed with the condition four years ago. 

The 65-year-old, from west London, had always been active in her job as a nurse but suddenly struggled to lift heavy objects and go on walks because of the painful condition. 

In a desperate bid to try to ease the increasing discomfort, she signed up to Roar Fitness in London, a transformation gym which focuses almost exclusively on lifting heavy weights. 

In just weeks, Anne found her pain had subsided and she was able to walk up to 12,000 steps a day. She now carries 100kg weights and has even lost 11kg in the process – and credits joining the gym as ‘the best decision she ever made.’

Anne Somauroo with Roar PT, Jack Pressling. Working with Jack three to four times a week, the 65-year-old is now able to enjoy long walks and no longer suffers excruciating pain

Founded by three-time Olympian Sarah Lindsay and husband Rich Phillipps, Roar clients include Gossip Girl star Ed Westwick, Graham Norton and Pixie Geldof.

WHAT IS OSTEOPOROSIS?  

Osteoporosis is a health condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. 

It develops slowly over several years and is often only diagnosed when a fall or sudden impact causes a bone to break (fracture).

The most common injuries in people with osteoporosis are: broken wrist, broken hip (hip fracture), broken spinal bones (vertebrae).

However, breaks can also happen in other bones, such as in the arm or pelvis. 

Sometimes a cough or sneeze can cause a broken rib or the partial collapse of one of the bones of the spine.

Osteoporosis is not usually painful until a bone is broken, but broken bones in the spine are a common cause of long-term pain.

Although a broken bone is often the first sign of osteoporosis, some older people develop the characteristic stooped (bent forward) posture. 

It happens when the bones in the spine have broken, making it difficult to support the weight of the body.

Osteoporosis can be treated with bone strengthening medicines.

Source: Royal Osteoporosis Society, NHS 

Anne decided something had to change when her weight slowly crept up and the pain started to become unbearable. 

Anne told MailOnline: ‘I was diagnosed with osteoporosis three or four years ago and began taking medication for it. 

‘Two years ago I told my daughter I was finally going to find a PT because I knew nothing about the gym so needed someone to show me the ropes. 

‘When she suggested Roar, I remembered thinking how on earth was I going to I lift weights, because my bones are quite brittle. Why would someone with osteoporosis lift weights? But she was fed up with me and told me to just try it. 

‘I had a right shoulder injury after tearing a tendon years ago so it was really difficult to lift anything, and really bad pain in my knees.

‘After about 15 minutes of talking to Sarah Lindsay, she sold it to me. I can honestly say hand on heart it is the most life changing thing I have ever done.

‘Once I start exercising and warming up the pain disappears – it is almost strange. 

‘Osteoporosis will always be there and while the meds slows it down, they will never stop it. 

‘What the gym is doing is building the muscle around the joints so they are protected. 

‘I’m now hooked and to be able to lift the weights is truly phenomenal.

‘Now my shoulder is like new and I do 10-20,000 steps a day which I couldn’t do before because I was in so much pain.

‘Strength training is probably one of the best things I’ve ever chosen to do in my life.

‘It just makes me feel better, I feel great when clothes fit me. It gives me more energy and I now sleep far easier.

‘I wish I had done it younger – but it’s never too late. I will sustain it unless something stops me. I’m retired, I’ve got the time and the freedom to do it.

‘I would fracture easily whereas now there’s far more strength in me than I ever had. 

‘That’s what’s so appealing about the gym, it’s a relief from osteoporosis. I’ll be going until I pop my clogs.’

Not only is 65-year-old Anne fitter and stronger...she can now pull 100kg weights along a track - nearly double her body weight

Not only is 65-year-old Anne fitter and stronger…she can now pull 100kg weights along a track – nearly double her body weight

The Royal Osteoporosis Society recommends doing more exercise, rather than less, if you have or are at risk of the condition. 

Anne said while fat loss was not the main goal, it was a ‘bonus’. At 5ft2, she started out at 63kg and lost more than 11kg, now weighing in at 52kg.

While she was already a healthy weight, she followed a high-protein diet, with plenty of carbs and fat to fuel her workouts.

She added: ‘I’ve never been on a diet, but would never have been able to stick to one.

‘Learning about the importance of food and water was a real education – an eye opener which changed my whole outlook on life. 

‘The meal plan gave me more energy, more vitality.’

For Anne, going to train with Roar PT Jack Pressling three or four times a week became a hobby rather than a chore.  

‘I’m aware I have the time to get to the gym three or four times a week not that I’m retired, and I’m sure there any people who couldn’t do that,’ she said.

‘But I wish I’d had the opportunity to do this 15 years ago.

‘It can be hard to stick to a fitness programme, until you find that it can actually be life changing. People do quick fix methods in three months but for me the aim was longevity, to keep going for as long as I can.’

Jack Pressling puts Anne through her paces in the Kensington gym three or four times a week

Jack Pressling puts Anne through her paces in the Kensington gym three or four times a week

Not only has her mind and body changed, the retiree is enjoying a new lease of life and has found herself the envy of friends and family.  

‘My family look at me and think, ‘oh my god,’ she added. People say I don’t look 65!’

Anne has followed the strength training regime for two years after signing up in August 2021, and trains for one hour, three or four times a week.  

Alongside the gym, she eats a high-protein diet with plenty of fibre, carbs and healthy fats – as well as up to three litres of water a day. 

Working with PT Jack, she does ‘push and pull’ exercises; a hack squat machine, leg press and curl, bench press, press ups and squats – and finishing off the workout with the weighted sled. 

Anne now encourages friends her age to go and pick up weights.  

‘Thanks to the staff from Sarah and Rich down, you see why people join. It’s so infectious. 

‘I think there is actually a niche for older people who need this the most and have disposable money, but don’t think of spending it on the gym.

‘They might think they wouldn’t want to go to a gym and don’t know what to do but that’s why the PTs are so important. The PT is a break or make you.

She said: ‘If you follow the plan you can lose weight without a shred of a doubt. It really can be done if you follow what they say.’ 

The Royal Osteoporosis Society advises combining weight-bearing exercise with impact and muscle strengthening exercise to promote bone and muscle strength. 

According to the society, research studies have shown that progressive resistance training is likely to be the best type of muscle strengthening exercise for bone strength.

Sarah Lindsay told MailOnline: ‘Strength training can help improve bone density – in turn helping conditions like osteoporosis. As with any disability or condition – if you’re stronger, you will be more stable and agile, and less likely to fall and hurt yourself.

‘With issues like osteoporosis, recovery can be a real problem when people do hurt themselves so staying injury-free, by doing things like strength training, is really helpful.’

Roar Fitness has gyms in London and Dubai, and classes in Kensington and online

Sarah Lindsay in Roar Dubai

Former Olympic speed skater Sarah Lindsay

Roar Fitness was founded by three-time Olympian Sarah Lindsay (pictured) 

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