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The Department of Health and Human Services says only one in three adults participate in the recommended amount of weekly physical activity. And while there have always been resources for younger adults to become and stay active, older adults face a separate set of hurdles to achieve an active lifestyle.

Transportation or lack thereof, is an important factor according to Allan Tavss, the Active Older Adults Program coordinator for Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces.

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“Sometimes they’re able to get some of the community service transportation, but in most cases they can’t,” Tavss said, adding that a lack of knowledge that programs exist and laziness are other contributing factors.

The Active Older Adults Program encourages those 55 and older to improve their health by being both physically and mentally active.

“If you’re not active, what is that going to do for you?” Tavss said. “There are plenty of 55-plus adults who are still working. Even if they’re able to attend some of our classes, it’s still good for them to participate in something that will keep them physically happy and mentally alert.”

There are tangible health benefits for older adults who stay physically active and mentally stimulated. Tavss said physical activity can control high blood pressure and reduce balance issues, which lead to falls and injuries.

“You’ll be happier, you’ll be healthier and you’ll leave longer,” he added.

All that said, there’s no need to go and sign up for a marathon race. The important part is choosing an activity that’s fitting to your body type and activity level. Miami-Dade Parks’ Active Older Adults Program makes it easy for residents to stay active in a variety of ways. Not only are there exercise classes at eight hubs around the region, but the groups also go on field trips (including visits to the zoo, restaurants and attending events around town) as well as taking educational classes hosted by volunteers and through The Great Courses.

The community partnerships, the program also provides valuable health resources to older residents. Healthy Choice Clinics are hosted at Walgreens and offer blood pressure screenings, flu shots and an on-site pharmacist who is able to answer questions about medications and other issues of concern.

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The program has also brought in the University of Miami to conduct memory Screenings.

“We’re trying to be as effective as possible,” Tavss said. “We give them the opportunity to learn things they wouldn’t learn on their own.”

Tavss said results are also important. The program conducts biometric testing four times a year to make sure the program is beneficial.

“We’ve seen dramatic reductions in high blood pressure, people have been able to change their medications, and we get testimonials,” Tavss said.

To get a class schedule for the hub closest to you, visit the Active Older Adult Program information Page or contact 786-372-9701.

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Above content provided by Parks-Foundation of Miami-Dade and Miami-Dade Parks & Recreation

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