Connie O'Brien and Osteoporosis: Client Highlight

Connie’s Osteoporosis Story:

Connie is a mother of three, marathon runner, full time worker, and wife who in the last few years found out that she has early onset Osteoporosis. Many instances could have contributed to this, including family history, Connie being a picky eater as a child, and her love for running.

Now, knowing that she has Osteoporosis, Connie has focussed her life on health, becoming stronger, and learning exactly what she can do to help strengthen her bones, while continuing to enjoy the life that she was given.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis occurs when the bones become fragile or brittle from loss of tissue, or from a deficiency of Calcium and Vitamin D. The bone density decreases, and there is a higher risk of bone fractures and brakes. Osteoporosis has become very common within the U.S, so it is important to continue to talk about bone health and tips to keep strong bones.

Connie’s Advice:

“As women, when we age we face issues like bone loss. While this is extremely common, it is a health issue that needs to be taken seriously. When I was diagnosed with osteoporosis I was devastated. It felt like overnight I went from young and active to afraid of every move, thinking I was going to break a bone.

I started researching what I could do to improve my bone health and discovered one of the most important things we can do outside of a healthy diet is weight bearing exercise!

So, I found the best vitamins for my bones and ordered a weight vest for walking. I found several options on-line and one female doctor, Dr. Lani Simpson, who specializes in bone health had a great video review of several vests.

I went back and forth on whether I should get the 20-pound vest or the 12-pound vest. Boy am I glad I went with the 12-pound version. I am a marathon runner, so my legs are very strong. At least the muscles are! That first walk with the vest was humbling, I made it ¼ mile out and had to turn around. It was far harder than I thought it would be. Now 2 years later, I am comfortable with two miles a few times a week and really believe this is helping my bones.

The diet has been much harder for me, even with two daughters in the nutrition field. But as my husband would say progress, not perfection. So, I show up to lift weights, walk with my awesome weight vest and take my vitamins. The vitamins I get are on-line at, I like the Sunny Citrus and tropical Punch. The vest brand is Empower.

I am still running, love being outside and refuse to stop living just because of bone loss!”

Two Daughters in School for Dietetics

With two daughters going to college for Nutrition and Dietetics, Connie has been able to learn through them, and through her own research, the best things she can do to help and heal her osteoporosis. For example, Connie has learned that her primary mineral focus is her intake of Calcium, but, Vitamins D and K are helpful in the absorption of Calcium within the body. So, Connie has found special Vitamin packets that contain an extra boost of Calcium, and she also has a Vitamin D and K spray that she uses to ensure that her intakes are high.

Things she has found helpful through her experience:

Make sure to check with your Doctor or Registered Dietitian before making drastic changes to your diet or lifestyle choices.

  • Weight Vest

weight vest.jpg

Weighted exercises can help increase bone density and muscle mass. Connie likes to walk one to two miles per day wearing her weight vest to strengthen her bones. In the beginning, using the weight vest can be very difficult. But Connie worked her way up to a few miles a day to help keep her bone density up

  • Mineral Water

Certain mineral waters, like the Gerolsteiner’s brand, have good sources of calcium and serve as an easy way to increase calcium intake throughout the day. Mineral waters should not be relied on for Calcium intake, but they are a simple way to continue increasing Calcium intake.

  • Lifting Weights

  • Vitamin Packets

Connie’s packets, Nutreince, have quickly become a part of her morning routine before work. They give Connie an extra source of Calcium very simply by just pouring the Vitamin powder into her water every morning. Again, she does not rely on these packets for her entire Calcium intake. They are simply an easy boost and ensure for her to add to her day.

  • Vitamin D and K2

Vitamin D and Vitamin K2 are known for aiding the absorption of Calcium in the body. Ensuring that your levels of these vitamins are adequate may help your body absorb the calcium you are consuming and give strength to your bones.


Below is an entire section about the benefits of pilates for someone with Osteoporosis. Overall, Pilates can help with posture, muscle mass, and bone density, which all in turn can aid in the bones of someone with Osteoporosis.

Pilates and Osteoporosis:

Pilates is an amazing way to help patients with osteo strengthen their bones and continue healthy activity. Pilates mat exercises can help with posture, bone density, muscle mass, and balance, which can all help decrease the chance of falls and make you stronger. There are specific mat exercises that are the best for those with Osteoporosis, such as single leg kicks, double leg kicks, and leg circles. Certain reformer exercises are also advised for Osteoporosis patients, but it is important to try these exercises with a certified instructor, or someone who is specialized in Osteo Pilates.

Helpful tips with Pilates and Osteoporosis (and prevention):

Pilates Exercises for Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis Prevention