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  1. Hillsborough

YMCAs of Tampa Bay to offer free fitness course for seniors to help with fall prevention

Participants work out during an EnhanceFitness class at the South Tampa Family YMCA. [Photo courtesy of Tampa YMCA]
Published Aug. 7

TAMPA - The YMCAs across Tampa Bay are now offering their 16-week EnhanceFitness course for free. The course is designed for seniors and will be free to any YMCA member or nonmember, after a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living.

The course, said Summer Cruff, director of Community Integrated Health Programs at YMCA of the Suncoast, is particularly valuable in an area historically known for its older population.

"Since we have a large number of aging seniors in our area, this program is so important," Cruff said. "We want people to be strong and confident and steady and live independently for as long as they can."

The course meets three times a week for 16 weeks, and features 20 minutes of cardio followed by 40 minutes of strength and flexibility exercises. There are specific exercises designed for people with arthritis that focus on strength, stamina and balance, Cruff said. All of the components can be done standing or from a chair. The course mainly benefits adults ages 55 and older.

The YMCAs will be partnering with Bay Care Hospital to refer patients in their fall prevention programs. They expect to reach 4,000 seniors over the next two years through the program.

"Getting active is such a great opportunity for people and to reduce the risk (of falling) in such a structured environment is so important," Cruff said.

Those interested can contact EnhanceFitness@tampaymca.org for information and class times. For a complete list of participating locations, visit www.ymcatampabay.org.

Contact Divya Kumar at dkumar@tampabay.com. Follow @divyadivyadivya.

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