ActiveRx In the News

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Rebuilding core strength is possible – when done safely

MT. PLEASANT, South Carolina – Moultrie News:  Mark Osborn describes his mother as a very healthy and active woman: she was a competitive tennis player and swimmer, and she walked and rode horses. But in her mid 70s, her strength declined significantly, she became more frail and it scared her, so she sought out a trainer for help.

After a short while with that trainer, she pulled a muscle, and it scared him, so his solution was to just put her on an exercise bike every time she came in.

“It didn’t hurt her, but it did nothing to halt or reverse the loss of core strength that was so affecting her balance and gait,” Osborn said. “She continued to get weaker, fell and broke her pelvis and lasted only a short while after that.”

As she was getting worse, Osborn learned about a strength and physical therapy center called ActiveRx and had the chance to meet the founders in Scottsdale. “When I saw what they were doing to help adults 60 plus to regain and maintain strength, I decided I had to bring one of these centers to our community so that other sons and daughters might have a place where their parents could go to regain what they had lost, or stave off the loss that my mother, and our family, went through.”

ActiveRx is a small franchise with only ten centers, and after what happened to Osborn’s mother, he decided to open one in Mount Pleasant.

He said research proves the importance of strength in adults and shows that lean muscle mass can be regrown.

“Between the ages of 35 to 65 years old, we lose one third of our strength. We lose another one third at 75 and another at 85,” he said. “When done correctly, you can reverse the loss of muscle mass.”

ActiveRx uses a research-based protocol that it says enables patients and members to regain 10 years of strength in as little as 10 weeks through exercises supervised by trained, certified physical therapists and strengtherapy coaches.

Osborn said ActiveRX is not a gym, and attending it is not about bathing suits and muscles. Each member is there for a specific reason. Those reasons are determined and verified through a full strength therapy evaluation. A physical therapist is also on-hand for one-on-one sessions until a member can graduate to the strength therapy classes.

Osborn’s ActiveRX has been open for two years, and he said he plans to open more in the area in the next few months.

Strength therapy coordinator Mary Cummings leads several therapy sessions a day, some in groups and some individual workouts, but she always takes it slow.

“It’s not like training a 30-year-old,” said Osborn.

The average age of members at ActiveRx is 72. The oldest member is 92.

The facility features equipment for people of all functionality. Lifts are prescribed to work major muscle groups while other exercises improve balance. Within days, members see improvement in physical and neurological function, Osborn said.

“When you are in your 80s, you face different issues than that of a younger person – either functionally or from diseases. For example, Parkinson’s symptoms respond well to strength exercises,” said Osborn.

Osborn said the average member comes to class about 290 days out of the year. The groups sessions are small, so members can get to know each other and motivate each other.

Osborn often gets asks if his establishment is in competition with the senior center. The answer, he said, is no, “because if you can work out safely by yourself, then the senior center is a good fit. Our clients need and want that close supervision. That is the piece that is different,” he said.

While Osborn’s mother sadly did not get to benefit from this specialized workout, Osborn considers himself lucky that he can offer it to others.

“We get more from our members than our members get from us. They share their stories and they are such a trusting, loving group,” he said.

ActiveRx is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sessions are 30 minutes and it is recommended a member attend up to three times a week. Learn more at, or call 843-388-3120.

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Five on Three: ActiveRx – Star Local: Business

MCKINNEY, TexasMcKinney Courier-Gazette and StarLocal Media business profile features ActiveRx – McKinney.

While it is true that many of our clients come to us with a doctor’s order (prescription) because they have very specific needs that require skilled clinical care, the fact is that all senior adults need consistent, supervised exercise and specifically strength training. There is a gym on almost every corner in our area, but we remain the only facility dedicated to providing a system just for seniors.

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ActiveRx Fitness Center Strengthens Senior Adults

PLANO, Texas – When his mother experienced injuries from a fall, Active Rx Managing Director Mark Willis said he decided to dedicate his career to helping senior adults build strength and balance.

“I realized I wanted to be in a business that was senior-related,” he said.

According to the National Council on Aging, every 13 seconds an elderly adult is treated in an emergency room for a fall-related injury. Some falls and their related injuries can be avoided by finding an exercise program that improves balance, strength and flexibility, Mark said.

Mark and Anella Willis opened the Plano franchise of a fitness and physical therapy center called Active Rx in July 2014. The company also has a location in McKinney.

“I wanted to have fun while doing my job,” Mark said. “Seeing people get stronger and better every day is a lot of fun.”

When people come to Active Rx, the first step is completing the ActivEval, a physical test to evaluate one’s strengths and weaknesses before enrolling in physical or strength therapy sessions.

Two licensed physical therapists and a physical therapist assistant help patients manage pain, recover from and prevent injuries, and prepare for and prevent certain types of surgery. Patients come in at the recommendation of their doctors, Mark said.

A strength therapist designs individual and group exercise programs for enrollees. Typically, those who undergo physical therapy later enroll in strength therapy to remain active, Mark said.

“When we started looking at demographics, there seemed to be a large senior population here in Plano,” he said.

Prior to Active Rx, McKinney Managing Director Mark Phillis was designing medical devices for orthopedic patients. Now he helps senior adults prevent falls, which could lead to long-term injuries. Phillis said Active Rx offers physical therapy and a workout plan for senior adults.

“[Our members] feel better; they are less scared to try new things [because of the workouts],” Phillis said. “That’s what living is all about.”

Connie Young was in physical therapy for nine months before she enrolled in strength therapy classes.Her personal trainer modifies Young’s exercise moves to accomodate for her broken kneecap.

“We have a good time because it makes me feel good. I see my friends, and I feel good,” Young said.

As they have gotten older, Active Rx regulars Pat and Harry Ashton have realized the importance of exercise. Pat tried going to gyms after her physical therapy but felt intimidated. She said she is at ease at Active Rx because others there are at a similar stage in life where they want to remain active and strong.

“Here, I have a personal trainer, so I know what I am doing,” she said. “If I went to the gym I would not know if I am doing anything wrong.”

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7 Ways To Lose Weight When You’re Over 60

For many of us, life gets better—easier, even—as we get older. We get more comfortable and confident in our own skin. We weed out what doesn’t work for us and invite more of what does work into our lives. There’s a certain clarity that inspires us not to sweat the small stuff so much and to keep the big picture in mind.

If only exercise, healthy eating, and weight loss fell into that “it gets easier with age” category.

Instead, dropping pounds can often feel harder than ever. After all, that stiff back that keeps you from bounding out of bed in the morning can make it less inspiring to go to the gym, a busy schedule can prompt you to eat on the run, and those 10 pounds you gained in your 40s can become an extra 20 pounds in your 50s and, well, you get the idea. (Want to lose weight but are short on time? Then check out Fit in 10, the new fitness program that only takes 10 minutes.)

Yet experts agree it’s important to focus on achieving your healthy weight no matter the number of candles on your birthday cake this year. “Excess fat is something we shouldn’t ignore no matter how old we are,” says Robert Huizenga, MD, the physician featured on The Biggest Loser. And while it can be tempting to throw in the towel, thinking you’re fighting an uphill battle at 60-something, compared with your 20- and 30-something counterparts, he has some interesting news: “There has actually been no difference in the amount or rate of weight loss in individuals of either sex who are over 60 years old versus those who are younger on the 17 seasons of the Biggest Loser show,” says Huizenga. So, while it might feel a little tougher (damn you, sore back), it is possible.

Michael Spitzer, a personal trainer and author of Fitness at 40, 50, 60 and Beyond, agrees, adding that “the true path to weight control and fitness after age 60 isn’t that much different than it is at any other stage of life. However, there are certain factors that need special consideration.”

For starters, it’s even more important than ever to actually follow the advice to talk to your doc before beginning any new exercise regimen. “Medical problems, such as heart disease and metabolic disease, become more common after age 60, so it becomes much more important to have a medical checkup before attempting a fat loss plan,” says Huizenga. Then there’s the fact that over the age of 60, your oxygen intake may be reduced by as much as one-third of what it was when you were 25, causing you to have a tougher time taking deep breaths when you’re exercising at a moderate to high intensity, and making it crucial to ease in to a new plan. Finally, this is the decade when your hips, knees, and other key joints are more likely to develop arthritis, which means that your old go-to running or aerobics workouts may need to be swapped for swimming and/or gentle walking plans.

The good news? These expert-approved tips will help you clean up your diet, lose excess weight, and set you up for better health in your 60s, 70s, and beyond.

Tip No. 1: Focus on fat loss, not weight loss.
At last, it’s time to toss that scale that’s collecting dust under your bathroom vanity. “At advanced ages, you cannot afford to lose muscle, organ tissue, or bone mass,” says Huizenga, “which means focusing on the number on the scale is especially inappropriate.” Instead, invest in a body fat measurement tool (such as calipers or an electrical impedance device) or simply just measure your waist size. The general rule of thumb is that your waist size should be no more than half your height. So, a woman who’s 5′ 4″ (or 64 inches) should have a waist size no larger than 32 inches; a man who’s 5′ 9″ (or 69 inches) should have a waist no larger than 34.5 inches.

Tip No. 2: Drink plenty of water.
Of course, this is a tip for anyone trying to lose weight and boost her overall health, but it’s especially important as we get older. That’s because as we age, the hypothalamus (which controls our hunger and thirst) becomes desensitized, dulling our thirst signals, says Matt Essex, founder of ActiveRx Aging Centers in Arizona. “Plus, many older people avoid drinking water so they can avoid running to the bathroom constantly,” adds Christen Cooper, RD, a dietitian in Pleasantville, NY. “This is especially true for men with prostate issues and women with bladder limitations.” (If you’re dealing with bladder issues, here’s help.) Since water is key for digestion and metabolism—and our bodies can easily mistake thirst for hunger, which causes us to eat more than we actually need—it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough. You might set an alarm on your phone at regular intervals so you’re reminded to keep sipping throughout the day.

Tip No. 3: Add strength training to your routine.
You know that muscle mass decreases with age. (At age 50, you’ve got about 20% less muscle mass than you did when you were 20, and unfortunately it only goes downhill from there.) You also know that muscle loss equals a slower metabolism, which explains why you’re more likely to put on (and hold on to) those extra pounds that seem to creep up with every birthday. But there is something you can do about it: lift weights. Of course, if you don’t have a consistent weight training regimen, you’ll want to start slowly and lift light weights; this will give your body time to adapt without placing too much strain on your muscles or joints and help you avoid injury, says Huizenga. However, don’t get too comfortable with an easy resistance-training program. It is important to aim to gradually increase the amount of weight you lift. “It’s critical that significant resistance exercise be incorporated into any fat loss plan over age 60.” Once you can do 10 to 12 reps with, say, a 5-pound dumbbell and feel like you could keep going, it’s time to upgrade to an 8-pound weight, and so forth. “You know you’re lifting the right amount of weight if you can just barely make it to the end of your repetitions before needing to rest,” he says.

Tip No. 4: Load up on protein.
If ever there was a time to focus on getting enough lean protein, it’s now. “There is some evidence that older adults need more protein,” says Susan Bowerman, RD, a dietitian in Los Angeles. A study at the University of Arkansas found that increasing protein intake could help older adults build muscle. That can help counteract age-related muscle loss, says Bowerman. Aim for roughly 30 grams at each meal, and more if you tend to crave carb-rich foods. “In my practice, I notice that dietary patterns tend to shift somewhat with age, and as people get older, the calories that were once spent on lean protein might now be spent on carbohydrates or fats.” Not only does adequate protein help support muscle growth and repair (which, when coupled with resistance training, will help increase metabolic rate and overall calorie burn), but it’s also more satiating than carbs and fats, meaning you’ll be less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks, says Bowerman. (You can drink your protein with these 20 protein-packed smoothie recipes.)

Tip No. 5: Be patient.
While it’s just as possible to reach your healthy weight at 60-something as it is when you were 20-something, it might take a little longer. You might not be able to push yourself as hard as you’d like to during workouts, leading to a lower calorie-burn than you used to hit. Or, you may not be as strong as you once were, prompting you to lift lighter weights (also lowering that calorie-burn number you see on your heart rate monitor). “Keep your focus on the healthy behaviors you’re adopting in order to achieve your goal, rather than your frustration if it’s not happening right away,” says Bowerman. If you stick to a healthy diet and exercise plan, “your weight will take care of itself over time.”

Tip No. 6: Stretch yourself.
Literally. The more flexible you are, the more you will enjoy any physical activity you do and the less chance you’ll have of hurting yourself, says Rami Aboumahadi, a nationally certified personal trainer. And at 60+, a less active lifestyle and an increase in aches and pains can make your flexibility plummet. Consider taking a yoga class or even simply adding a few stretches to your day, particularly after you’ve taken a walk or warmed up your muscles in some other way. Get started with these 6 feel-good yoga stretches.

Tip No. 7: Change your attitude.
If you’ve got phrases like “Gaining weight is part of the aging process” or “Everybody my age is overweight” on repeat, it’s time for new mantras, says Cooper. “It’s important to avoid slipping into a mindset that will prevent you from losing weight,” he says. Find a crowd of like-minded peers who want to get fit and stay that way so that you surround yourself with as much support as possible. Perhaps you can find (or form!) a walking group (here are 5 easy ways to start your own walking group), or talk a few friends into joining you for water aerobics at the local pool. “Too often, what limits us from achieving our weight loss goals is all psychological.”

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ActiveRx Announces Partnership with Rick Gawenda, PT

WESTBOROUGH, Massachusetts – ActiveRx, a Westborough, Mass-based franchise with locations in eight states, announces that it is partnering with Rick Gawenda, PT. A media release from ActiveRx notes that Gawenda, a physical therapist with 24 years of experience, is founder and president of Gawenda Seminars & Consulting Inc. He consults nationwide on ICD-10 Training and Education, CPT Coding & Billing, Documentation, PQRS, Functional Limitation Reporting and other therapy-related issues.

Gawenda’s role with ActiveRx will be to provide paid consulting to both corporate and individual franchisees, the release adds. Paul Reilly, CEO of ActiveRx, states in the release that he is excited about the new partnership. “Rick Gawenda has a deep understanding of the type of services that we provide, and we look forward to gaining another level of expertise from him in order to continue aiding our seniors in their ability to live an active and independent lifestyle,” he adds. “The unique opportunity for rehab patients to regenerate core strength during physical therapy, and then to continue strengthening long after therapy has ended, is a real differentiator in the therapy world,” Gawenda says in the release.

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ActiveRx, a neighborhood Strengtherapy Center, held a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

SUGAR LAND, Texas – ActiveRx, a neighborhood Strengtherapy Center, held a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce last month at its location, 2415 Town Center Drive in Sugar Land. Each location is custom-designed and tailored to each patient’s pace and comfort. We provide personalized care and all the time you need to make the progress you desire. The staff’s recommendation is working out three times per week.

The Sugar Land location is the first one in the Houston area, but ActiveRx is hoping to build 25 more in Greater Houston over the next five years. In Fort Bend County, they’re considering adding one in Rosenberg. Among the attendees were Managing Director Gavin Reichman and Paul Reilly, ActiveRx’s CEO, who traveled to Sugar Land from the company’s Massachusetts headquarters. “We can all make a choice about how we age,” Reilly said. “We don’t know if our program can add years to their life, but we do know it can add life to their years.”

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Q&A with Paul Reilly, CEO, ActiveRx

WESTBOROUGH, Massachusetts  – Paul Reilly is a firm believer in fitness. After all, when you’re training to be a military officer, you have no other choice. Over the last few years, following 17 years in sales and management with Boston Scientific, he has taken that yen for fitness to ActiveRx, first as owner of the national firm’s Westborough franchise, then adding the role of CEO. ActiveRx helps seniors stay in shape, chiefly through its Strengtherapy program, which helps older people prevent and manage symptoms that can lead to major health issues. With 11 locations nationwide, it plans to expand as the number of senior citizens also grows in the U.S.

We live in an age when senior citizens or soon-to-be senior citizens have no intention of slowing down. Is that what you see in many ActiveRx clients?

Quite so. It’s particularly true of the baby boom generation, of which (about) 16,000 a day become seniors. If we look at the characteristics of that generation, they kind of rebelled against a lot of things in their youth. It’s interesting to see the demographic difference — that attitudinal difference — between that generation and some of the preceding generations.

The health care industry is shifting its focus from prevention of illnesses to keeping people well. Is that a bigger challenge with your company’s target customers?

No, I think it actually aligned really well with our approach and philosophy. Too often, what we do see is some of the older seniors who come to us who have, unfortunately, lost a lot of those abilities and capacity to do things they enjoy. These younger, aging boomers, or the folks in their early senior periods, are perfect targets for what we do because we know (it) will help them … preserve a great deal of that functional strength.

It seems as if ActiveRx has hit the right market at the right time. But does the company see its mission as being sustainable well after the baby boom generation has left the stage?

I think so. The younger generation (has) such a tradition of athletics, in both genders. What we do see a lot of in these older generations is that the women, in particular, traditionally weren’t all that active with sports in their youth. The younger generation behind the boomers has an understanding of fitness and health and activity and lifestyle that’s much more pronounced.

What’s the advantage of the Strengtherapy system in helping improve the quality of life for senior citizens?

It’s founded on rigorous scientific research. We know what we can do in terms of scientifically preserving functional strength. So, Strengtherapy is not something like a fad, it’s not something that’s going to be here for a year or two and then fade away. A lot of it can be done in a group setting, so there’s a socialization aspect of it that is profound. And this is particularly true in this older population, many of whom don’t have a whole lot of social interaction with other folks.

How did your military background prepare you for this role?

Certainly the emphasis on physical fitness is well established. And at West Point, it was an order of magnitude higher than that. Then in running the company, the attributes and qualities that the typical military officer exhibits or possesses are really well matched with the challenges of leading a company.

You had 17 years in sales and management at Boston Scientific. How did that experience prepare you for this one?

Remarkably well. Boston Scientific is a phenomenal company. It’s a shining example of a company that really is interested in developing their people. They invested in me and in my total development as a businessman, and it was amazing how seamless the transition was.

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Fast-growing senior health franchise to expand in Charleston

ActiveRx targets South Carolina for major expansion

SOUTH CAROLINA – On a mission to redefine aging, and the way people think about aging, ActiveRx, a national franchise brand of innovative strength and wellness centers known as Strengtherapy Centers, has identified South Carolina as a major expansion hub. Company executives recently unveiled plans to bring three to five units to the area by the end of this year and add an additional six to eight units in 2016.

The rapidly expanding brand known for its focus on strength regeneration has put a strong emphasis on expansion in the South Carolina region, with a total of eight territories identified for development. These territories include Greenville, Columbia, Hilton Head, Rock Hill, Myrtle Beach, Charleston, as well as Savannah and Augusta, Georgia. The brand has one established location successfully operating in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

“South Carolina has experienced a significant growth of older adults over the last few decades. In fact, the state’s senior population is expected to double in the next 15 years,” said Mark Osborn, Regional Developer for the South Carolina Region. “These statistics coupled with our brand’s dedication to enhancing the quality of life for those 60 and older, positions us for perfectly for long term growth in the state.”

Each ActiveRx location offers a scientifically proven system called Strengtherapy, which regenerates years of functional strength with a minimal time investment. By giving members access to this system, which provides powerful, life-altering improvements in function, fall prevention, disease prevention and quality of life, the brand is forging a science- and research-based path to strength regeneration.

This recent development announcement closely follows an initiative the Massachusetts-based company launched that includes a franchise ownership program aimed at attracting professional physical therapists that will extend the company’s footprint nationally. In addition to goal of attracting physical therapists who are looking to own their own business, the brand is searching for other qualified candidates including experienced multi-unit franchise operators and senior care franchise owners who are looking to broaden their portfolios.

With 11 locations now open across the U.S. including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, South Carolina and Texas, ActiveRx is providing a comprehensive culture of care which enabling its members to feel secure in an atmosphere where they can concentrate on improving their lives, and continue to change the way they think and feel about aging. Looking to further expand its mission, ActiveRx has signed agreements for a total of 20 locations in the U.S. and anticipates selling another 15 units prior to year-end 2015.

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W. John  Oliver

W. John Oliver Named Chief Financial Officer of ActiveRx

CHANDLER, ARIZ. – W. John Oliver has been named chief financial officer of ActiveRx, a Chandler, Ariz.-based company that owns and operates a rapidly growing network of Active Aging Centers that provide preventative healthcare services to thousands of mature adults throughout the country, according to Paul Reilly, chief executive officer.

In his new position, Oliver will be responsible for overall financial operations for ActiveRx, focusing on capital strategy, treasury and investor relations as ActiveRx continues to expand.

ActiveRx to Open Second Active Aging Center in Pinnacle Peak Area

“Recognizing a growing need to serve northeast Valley residents, ActiveRx management announces the opening of a second Active Aging Center in northeast Scottsdale.

The new location – at 7679 E. Pinnacle Peak Road, Suite 100 – is scheduled to begin taking patient appointments on Friday, Nov. 15. It joins the company’s first ActiveRx Active Aging Center in 7331 E. Osborn Drive, Suite 410 in downtown Scottsdale and other Arizona locations in Sun Lakes and Surprise/Sun City West.

ActiveRx is a Chandler, Ariz.-based company that is redefining aging through its new Lifestyle Strengtherapy™ System for the treatment of frailty (high risk for falls), loss of muscle mass, loss of bone density, depression and management of chronic disease. The regimen is designed specifically for seniors wishing to optimize their aging experience by staying strong, vital, and independent.

ActiveRx has been expanding its network of Active Aging Centers rapidly over the past two years throughout Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

“Our first center in Scottsdale has been very well received,” [ActiveRx CEO Matt] Essex stated. “Now, it is apparent that we needed a center serving the Pinnacle Peak area, and the region’s large number of master-planned communities, including Grayhawk, DC Ranch, McDowell Mountain Ranch and Desert Mountain. Our new location also affords us an opportunity to serve the residents of a number of senior communities located in the area.

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