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Keepin' Busy

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Activities abound for seniors in Oviedo. Here’s a handy breakdown.

Oviedo has built a reputation as a thriving community of young families, with a wealth of sports and other activities for kids and their parents. But for the past year or so, the City’s Recreation & Parks Department has turned its focus to another group of constituents – an active and engaged population of older residents.

“We started to notice a large number of retirees coming to our area,” says Jack Whittaker, Oviedo’s senior recreation manager. “They want to be closer to their families, their grandkids. We’re trying to really hone in and see what we can do for our senior population.”

About half of those seniors are very active and want challenging physical recreation opportunities, says Jesse Conigliaro, Oviedo’s recreation program coordinator. The other half is content with more relaxed activities – such as board games, Bingo, and the like – that provide a chance to get out and socialize.

Oviedo may not have a formal senior center, as some cities do, but that doesn’t mean the area isn’t bustling with activities for older residents. Here’s a handful of examples:

Pickleball – This game, which combines badminton, tennis, and table tennis, continues to soar in popularity.

“Seniors are obsessed with it,” Jack says. “They can stay in a confined area, but they are very active in that area.”

Starting in mid-August, Pickleball competition will take place from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays at the Oviedo Gym & Aquatic Facility, 148 Oviedo Boulevard. Meanwhile, five tennis courts capable of being converted to 10 pickleball courts are also available at Round Lake Park, 891 East Broadway Street. They are open to the public when tennis leagues are not in play.

Water Aerobics – Water aerobics are available from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Monday through Friday at Riverside Park, 1600 Lockwood Boulevard, through August 2. Then, the sessions move to the Gym & Aquatic Facility as of August 5, under the same schedule.

The pools at both locations are heated to a comfy 82 degrees. The aerobics take place in the deep end, with buoyancy belts and hand buoys provided free of charge.

Line Dancing – These lessons are for all ages, but seniors make up a large part of the crowd, Jesse says. The schedule for this summer is Tuesdays, 11:00 a.m. to noon. Anyone wanting more details can visit the City’s website, CityOfOviedo.net.

Line dancing is choreographed dance with a repeated sequence of steps that builds muscle tone, burns calories, and increases oxygen intake.

Yoga – As with line dancing, these lessons are open to all but are especially popular with seniors, even those with mobility limitations. Lessons take place from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays at the Cultural Center at Center Lake Park, 357 Center Lake Lane. Yoga classes include gentle stretches, proper breathing, and meditation. Participants are asked to bring their own mats.

Friday 

Game Time – One of the more informal programs aimed at seniors is a regular gathering from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. every Friday at an office owned by Oviedo City Church. Those who attend can play board games, listen to music, and socialize in a relaxed setting. The gathering takes place at the Northland Oviedo office at 1205 City View Center, Suite #1005.

Lunch-N-Learn – Seniors can attend educational classes on a variety of topics, such as finances, volunteering, healthcare, and scam protection. Starting in August, these will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of the month at the Cultural Center.
The City plans to develop even more programs for seniors in the future. The ideal situation would be to host all the activities in a dedicated senior center, and Oviedo officials are in the early stages of talking about how to make that a reality.

“Further down the line,” Jesse says, “I would love for that to happen.”


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