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Finding the Right Fit for Fitness in 2018

Losing weight and eating better are among the most popular New Year’s Resolutions made every year.

Unfortunately, many of us – up to 92 percent according to some polls – have forgotten about those good intentions by February. According to Fords resident Mary Anne Kirsch, Group Exercise Coordinator for the Northwest and West Park Village YMCAs, the best path to success will be different for every person.

One key, however, is true for many: if you find an activity that you enjoy, you are more likely to stick to it.

“If you hate gyms, don’t join a gym,” said Kirsch. “Try hiking or biking or join a run club. If you need someone to be accountable to, maybe joining a gym or hiring a trainer would work best. Find something you love do.”

Fortunately, plenty of options exist for all ages right here in the Westchase area. What are some exercise options that might prove a good fit?

Over the past few years the number of boutique workout studios in the area has blossomed. Now you can easily find a class that meets your interests, whether it’s yoga, Pilates, cycling, jazzercise, boot camp, boxing, barre or martial arts. Drive down Racetrack Road and you’ll see several studios devoted to personal or small group training. Most will allow you to take one free class so you can try it out. Sometimes you can find package discounts on Groupon or Social Living sites.

The Northwest and West Park Village YMCAs offer many different classes throughout the week as well as personal training and cardio and weight machines. Kirsch recommends that if you join any gym, you ask for an orientation. “Many people are intimidated when they walk into a gym. Ask for help and make sure you get an orientation for the equipment so you are not afraid.”

Some of the newer classes at the Y include Piyo, a combination of Pilates and yoga, Cize Live, a dance class, and Insanity, cardio and plyometric drills combined with strength, power, resistance and core training. They also have small TRX classes, developed by a former marine. The suspension training equipment used in the class allows you to use your body weight to create resistance and is good for your core, balance and stability. 

The Westchase Rec Center offers classes for all ages throughout the week. All are less than $10 and some are free. They have a walking club that meets daily, a small group fitness class just for women, adult open gym basketball, badminton, pickleball and zumba.

Additional the Rec Center has a very active senior program. One of the newest offerings for seniors is ballroom dancing. “Our seniors requested it and we found two volunteers who teach every Monday at 10 a.m.,” said Recreation Program Supervisor Dona Smith. “You don’t need a partner and you don’t have to have any experience.”

Smith said the program started in November and that they already have about 15 regular participants. In addition to ballroom dancing, the Rec Center offers stretch and tone and aerobics light classes for people 50 years and older. Smith says they will be adding chair yoga this year.

The local YMCAs also have popular senior programs. In addition to monthly social gatherings, they offer water aerobics, stretching and ab, intro to zumba and yoga classes geared specifically for seniors.

If the gym or rec center is not for you, you might want to try taking a hike or riding your bike. Both are exercises that all ages can enjoy. There are plenty of sidewalks and bike lanes around Westchase if you just want to start from your front door. If you’re willing to travel a bit, there are plenty of great hiking and biking trails around the Tampa area.

Bridges resident Monika Cassidy, who competes in and trains others for triathlons, says that the Suncoast, Upper Tampa Bay and Courtney Campbell trails are among her favorite area bike trails. “You can do a 100-mile ride on the Suncoast Trail, the Upper Tampa Bay is good for shorter rides and Courtney Campbell is 16 miles from Ben Davis Park to Clearwater,” she pointed out.

Many of the trails have stops along the way where you can use the restroom or refill your water bottle.

Hillsborough County has more than 100 recreational parks and hundreds of miles of hiking trails. For the second year in a row, the county is promoting its Hiking Spree program to encourage residents to go hiking. One of last year’s participants, Claire Brantley, credits the program with helping her to lose weight and finally introducing her to exercise she enjoys. “I needed to lose weight. I had been successful with the Weight Watchers program in the past but have never combined exercise with the program because I’ve never enjoyed exercise,” she said. “I am klutzy, have never found a sport I enjoyed playing and would rather be reading than working out. But a friend took me on my first hike last year and I loved it.”

Through March 31, people who register with the program and hike any eight of 19 designated trails will receive a medallion to put on their hiking stick or an Access Hiker patch.  All the hikes are ranked by level of difficulty, making it easy to choose one that works for you.

Once you’ve found an exercise you love, you may want to motivate your child to do so as well. If your teenager is not interested in sports, it might seem like an uphill battle to get them interested in working out, but Kirsch says the Y offers options for tweens and teens.  The age limit varies for each class but at the West Park Village Y children 8 years and older can walk on the treadmill after they’ve attended a youth fitness orientation, provided their parent is on the one next to them. Teens 15 and older can use free weights.

The Rec Center also offers clinics and classes for children of all ages who are interested in a specific sport as well as open gym time. Lori Goede, co-owner of Westchase Jazzercise says they have had children as young as 11 attend class with their moms. Green Locus Yoga offers a weekly yoga class for tweens.

Think creatively to get those kids moving. Davidsen Middle School now offers dance classes as part of the curriculum, no experience required. You can’t beat – or avoid – exercise built right into the school day.

Just find an activity you love.

That’s the key to finding your right fit for fitness in the New Year.

By Marcy Sanford

2018 Health and Wellness Guide Summaries

WOW thanks the following physicians and health/fitness businesses for helping to bring you the Health and Wellness Special. The listings on these pages represent paid advertisements in conjunction with the Health and Wellness Special. Look for their ads in our special section; page references are available in the business directory. Paid advertising is not an endorsement by WOW, Inc. Interested residents should contact the businesses and ask all relevant questions prior to engaging their services.

Advanced Chiropractic & Rehabilitation
(813) 925-1700
Excellence in family chiropractic treatment with on-site massage therapy and physiotherapy. In-network with most insurance companies. Auto accident treatment relief.

Centra Care - Florida Hospital Urgent Care
(813) 792-2550
As a hospital affiliated urgent care provider, operating over 30 locations, Centra Care provides patients with fast and convenient care for urgent, non-emergency medical needs.

Essentials Massage & Facials
(813) 475-6996
We currently have 28 locations throughout Florida and Essentials continuously has repeat business from clients due to our spa experience, service, ambience, and our incredible prices.

The Eye Institute of West Florida
(813) 518-6038
The Eye Institute of West Florida is a multi-specialty ophthalmic practice offering surgical and non-surgical vision care for every eye disease with six locations serving Tampa Bay.

Florida Hospital Carrollwood – Surgical Services
(813) 932-2222
Florida Hospital Carrollwood is nationally recognized for patient safety and offers comprehensive surgical services, including weight-loss, orthopedic, spine, general, women’s and urology surgery, in a state-of-the-art facility.

Florida Hospital Physician Group
(844) DOC-2DAY
With nearly 200 providers, in over 60 locations, representing more than 30 medical specialties, we provide a broad range of primary care, specialty and surgical expertise to help our patients live healthier and happier lives.

Internal Medicine & Pediatrics of Tampa Bay
(813) 961-2222
Offering acute care and preventative healthcare for all ages. Our doctors and nurse practitioner are all board certified or eligible.

The Oasis at Tampa Community Hospital
(Alcohol & Drug Recovery Center)
(813) 933-3869
Tampa Community Hospital is one of the few hospital-based, medically supervised detox units in the country. We treat addiction as a disease not as a weakness. Please call for more information.

Pam Velez – Yoga
(813) 362-6909
Curious about yoga?  No flexibility required.  Get stronger, reduce stress and gain flexibility with private yoga lessons customized to work with your injuries and limitations.

(813) 382-2363
Stretch Rx offers Therapeutic Stretching, Exercise and Massage. Customized sessions can help people decrease pain, increase flexibility, improve posture, tone muscles and lose weight.


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