Helping seniors stay strong -- and, by extension, stay independent -- is a goal of a new local business.
ActiveRx's Westborough Active Aging Center is "neither a gym nor are we an outpatient physical therapy clinic, but we have elements of both," says Paul Reilly, the facility's owner and managing director.
All activities at the aging center will be scheduled and supervised, he said.
ActiveRx seeks to help seniors "preserve and restore their functional strength, and ultimately to help them sustain and maintain their independence," said Reilly, a Westborough resident.
"It's fairly well understood that if you stay active as you get older, you'll have a better quality of life, and be able to continue to do more of the things that you like to do, and you'll stay more independent," Reilly told Patch this week.
"What's perhaps not as well understood is the role that strength plays in that. And ultimately, strength is the foundation that all of fitness is built on. There's volumes of clinical research to support this."
Reilly opened ActiveRx's Westborough Active Aging Center -- the company's first in the Northeast ("The next closest one is in Detroit," he said) -- about two weeks ago. The center is located at 24 Lyman St., Suite 140, in the Westborough Shopping Center.
The grand opening is Wednesday, Oct. 23.
The center will serve these communities: "Westborough, Southborough, Northborough, Hopkinton, Framingham. Upton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Boylston and Marlborough," Reilly has said.
"I believe we're on a pace to have another five open in Massachusetts in 2014, and those will be spread anywhere from Cape Cod to a loop around Boston," said Reilly, ActiveRx's regional developer for Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
ActiveRx is based in Arizona.
Reilly said he chose Westborough for its central location.
And, "opening up a small business in my hometown was something that I was interested in doing," he said.
"I've always had a pipe dream of being an employer," Reilly said.
Reilly said he worked in sales and marketing at Boston Scientific for about 20 years, but lost his job about a year ago.
"This gave me an opportunity to re-group, understand what I wanted to do with the other half of my life. I've always had more than a casual interest in fitness and strength training," said Reilly, a former strength coach (and 1989 graduate) at West Point.
Reilly said he heard about ActiveRx through his brother, Pat, whose lifelong best friend is the company's chief operating officer, Michael Hutta.
"He just happened to remember that Mike was looking to expand to the Northeast," Reilly said.
"As I learned more about ActiveRx, it was amazing how much of all the different aspects of the venture aligned with what was important to me, and where I felt I could contribute.
"I wanted to run a business that provided a measurable, tangible benefit to people."
All ActiveRx patients are evaluated for strength and function "so we have a baseline of where they're starting from," and are assessed monthly, Reilly said.
All activities are scheduled and supervised, he said. Most patients work in groups of five or six.
Some patients come referred from physicians. Others hear about the center and are interested in "regaining their strength or preserving their strength," and concerned about losing their independence, Reilly said.
And all work is based on research, he said.
"We're kind of swimming upstream a little bit against conventional wisdom, that seniors can be involved in resistance training, strengthening exercises. Many folks think they're too fragile, frail, that this could hurt them," Reilly said.
"The scientific evidence demonstrates that if somebody who's in their elderly years puts out the same amount of work as somebody that's in their middle-age years, they get the same benefit in terms of strength recovery," he added.
"That's one of the things that really screams out of the literature: you're never too old and probably never too frail. Now, it has to be done in a prescribed manner, with close consultation with physicians, with licensed and certified therapists."
The Westborough center is near both the Willows at Westborough retirement community, and the Westborough Senior Center.
"We are trying to create partnerships where I can contribute to what they're doing and collaborate," Reilly said.