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Physical activity can add years to your life, even if you do not start exercising until you reach your senior years. Exercise can also add years to your life by boosting your energy, improving your mood, reducing pain and other symptoms, and by helping maintain your independence. Regular activity is also good for your mind, mood and memory.
We all tend to slow down with age – health problems, pain, weight issues or concerns about falling keep many older adults from leading an active life. Everyone can increase his or her activity levels, though, as there is no downside to being physically active. Whether you can walk independently, or using a wheelchair, you can always move around just a little more.
Set fitness goals that are appropriate for your age and health. As you age, you experience changes in hormones, metabolism, bone density and muscle mass that cause a decline in strength and performance levels. Don’t worry, though – these changes will not detract from the health benefits of exercise, nor will they prevent you from enjoying all of the fun of physical activity.
Walking requires no special equipment aside from a pair of comfortable walking shoes. You can walk anywhere, of course, but there are several beautiful places to go for a walk in Tampa. Stroll along Tampa’s Riverwalk, for example. A placid river shimmers along one side of the Riverwalk and museums, restaurants and parks offer entertainment on the other side of the path.
While Florida is the Sunshine State, it does occasionally rain in Tampa. Walk indoors on rainy days. Amble around the Florida Aquarium in downtown Tampa, for example, or wander around one of Tampa’s many shopping malls that offer “mall walking.”
Don’t feel like going out? Hit a treadmill! Treadmills offer a safe, convenient and comfortable way to walk when it rains in Tampa.
Using hand weights, also known as dumbbells, can help you build muscle mass in your upper body and arms. Weight training with hand weights can also help prevent age-related health problems affecting your upper body, such as arthritis, osteoporosis and balance issues. Holding onto a pair of hand weights can also optimize the benefits you get from other exercise, such as walking.
SilverSneakers is a national fitness program designed for older adults. Several locations throughout Tampa participate in SilverSneakers, including various YMCA locations, Gold’s Gym and Flava Fitness Studio. Shapes Fitness is for women who want to participate in a female-only SilverSneakers program.
Tampa is made for swimming! Swimming and water exercises can burn calories, alleviate arthritis and joint pain, build muscle mass and improve bone density. The buoyancy of water puts less strain on arthritic joints as you move; the resistance of water helps you perform strength-building exercises without using heavy weights.
Several YMCAs offer senior swimming and water aerobics, which is a great cardiovascular workout that is fun and easy on your joints. Water aerobics is an umbrella term for a group of exercises you can do in the water. Specific water aerobic exercises include aqua jogging where you simply jog through the water, flutter kicking your legs to propel yourself around the pool, and leg lifts.
Make the most out of your time at the gym by joining group exercise classes or spending time with a one-on-one personal trainer. Learn how to use all the equipment properly for an effective, safe and well-rounded workout.
Wear a fitness tracker to measure the number of steps you take, your heart rate, blood pressure and other information. Try HUR strength-building equipment, which uses customizable and automated SmartTouch technology to build muscles, increase your stamina and optimize your overall well-being.
The American College of Sports Medicine says that group exercise “provides us with an opportunity to feel young again and be physically active with others.” Many people quit exercising because, frankly, working out can be boring. Engaging with friends as you exercise makes physical activity more fun. The group also adds camaraderie and accountability that help keep you motivated and on track for meeting your goals. Group exercise classes are also excellent places to make new friends.
The warm, sunny climate of Tampa makes it the perfect location to stay active all year long. Invite your friends and family to exercise with you, and explore new places to workout – some state-of-the-art fitness gyms may be closer than you think!
Tessera of Brandon is committed to helping seniors pursue an active and engaging lifestyle in Tampa, Florida. We make this possible by offering engaging amenities, programs and healthy dining options. Our community features various walking paths you can enjoy with family and friends, as well as an onsite gym. Contact us today to learn more about our Tampa assisted living and memory care community.