Gym rats, yoga mats, and downward-facing dogs

Over the last 45 years I’ve joined 20 gyms and hired half-a-dozen personal trainers. I’ve even attempted yoga and Pilates. My home scale and waistline tell a story that my ambitions don’t.

Gyms and trainers start with a slight variation of the same lecture: “Follow our advice, change your lifestyle, eat better, stop drinking, workout three times a week, and you’ll lose weight and have a buff physique.” Insert all the laughs here! But, as a boomster my needs are different and simple: I want flexibility and better muscle tone.

On most vacations I will vainly announce to my wife that I’m looking to find a nearby gym for an hour of cardio, or if I’m really ambitious, a yoga session. Of course, that assumes I packed my workout clothes and running shoes.

Happily, this activity is easily accomplished while visiting Florida’s Space Coast. Here’s your guide to senior-demo vacation exercises no matter what your exercise habits are:

But first: hotel gyms, fitness center daily passes and SilverSneakers™

  • At a hotel: If you’re staying at a hotel on Florida’s Space Coast, odds are that there’s a gym and a pool at their location (and it’s included in your nightly rate).
     
  • Daily passes: Various fitness centers throughout the Space Coast offer a daily or weekly pass.
     
  • SilverSneakers™: This sounds a little too much like the highway ‘Silver Alert’ notifications with the silver Camrys and silver Impalas, but you’ll save the daily and weekly fees if the fitness center near you – and your Medicare Advantage plan – is part of the SilverSneakers network. Apparently original Medicare, Part A and Part B, does not cover this benefit. You can go here and find out if your plan is accepted. You’ll take your SilverSneakers card or 16-digit member ID to any location. You can get this member ID online, too.

Gyms and fitness places are everywhere

With all the outdoor activities available here on the Space Coast, this is a vibrant place to be for indoor vacation exercise. If you prefer indoor exercise, there are multiple fitness centers to choose from. I’m listing larger fitness centers below, but there are smaller fitness centers available, too. Most of these honor SilverSneakers or have a daily rate. Do a Google search for a complete list.

  • Health First: one of the hospital systems here has four Pro-Health & Fitness Health Centers throughout the area:
    • Melbourne: 611 East Sheridan Road, Melbourne – (321) 434-7149. Minutes from Downtown Melbourne and just a quick drive from beachside.
    • Merritt Island: 255 Borman Drive, Merritt Island – (321) 434-5801. Located about 10 minutes from Cocoa Beach.
    • Viera: 8705 North Wickham Road, Melbourne – (321) 434-9149. Located next to USSSA Space Coast Complex, so when the grands are on break during their sporting tournament, head over there for some exercise.
    • West Melbourne: 1218 Sarno Road, Melbourne – (321) 425-5838. This is a Melbourne Athletic Club location and is close to the business corridor in Melbourne.
       
  • Planet Fitness:  This ‘No Judgement Zone’ themed gym has four locations along the 72 miles stretch that makes up Florida’s Space Coast.
    • Port St. John: 6221 N. U.S. 1, Cocoa – (321) 806-1626.
    • Rockledge: 1802 U.S. 1, Rockledge – (321) 433-1331.
    • Melbourne: 840 N. Apollo Blvd., Melbourne – (321) 242-7900.
    • Palm Bay West: 160 Malabar Road, Palm Bay – (321) 307-4600.
       
  • LA Fitness: With three locations in the Melbourne area, this makes it convenient for you to continue to work out when visiting Melbourne & the Beaches.
    • Melbourne: 2447 N. Wickham Road #102, Melbourne – (321) 216-2280.
    • West Melbourne: 4454 Hollywood Blvd., West Melbourne – (321) 373-0049.
    • Melbourne Square: 1700 West New Haven, #201-D, Melbourne – (321) 373-0038.

Yoga & Pilates

Don’t think for a minute that yoga and Pilates don’t qualify as exercise. Yoga is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. My terrible flexibility in combination with near impossible yoga poses [ex: downward-facing dog], makes yoga hard for me. The hour ends with a nice, relaxing nap, so the experience ends on a high note, but there is no question that yoga and Pilates are substantial workouts.

When my sister-in-law visits the Space Coast, her first Google search is for yoga classes. Pilates is popular here, too. She advises that you look to Yelp or TripAdvisor for a user curated list of places near you.

CrossFit

I have friends that are passionate about CrossFit. I visited a CrossFit gym located in a warehouse bay and can only say that CrossFit isn’t for the faint of heart. There are currently 11 CrossFit locations on the Space Coast, and they are spread out throughout the area. They Google up nicely with a “Crossfit Brevard County” search.

And finally, walking on the beach

Here’s an exercise that requires no signup, no fancy sneakers, no equipment, no mats or downward facing dogs. The beaches here are the perfect location for a simple walk. Best early or late in the day. And, there are plenty of places to park before or after the throngs appear. Or, just walk out the backdoor of your beachside hotel or motel.

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