Healthy, Happy, and Fit – Fulfilling Retirement in and Around Tampa  - Guide to Greater Tampa Bay
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Healthy, Happy, and Fit – Fulfilling Retirement in and Around Tampa 

Healthy, Happy, and Fit – Fulfilling Retirement in and Around Tampa 

The golden years are where it is at, and nothing says gold like Greater Tampa Bay’s generous daily dose of sunshine, warmth and comfort for retirees that have earned some R & R.  

Equal parts natural beauty and thriving city, golden years in GTB are among the most rewarding available for active seniors with a lust for life half their age. What can seniors do in GTB? Well, there are the top-ranked beaches; guided hikes in the woods; clubs for every hobby or passion; year-round food and cultural festivities, music and art; museums; aquariums and zoos and enough senior-friendly (and even senior-specific) attractions to defy the most astute list-maker.  

GTB seniors will be hard-pressed to run out of new restaurants to dine at, shopping centers to peruse or exciting new districts to explore. There are always more ferries to ride, wines to taste and senior-focused athletics to keep the body moving. GTB is a hotspot for the young and old alike, but few places in the U.S. can boast such a thriving and engaged population of seniors and retirees. Here, age is just a number. 

The Spur of Competition 

Participants 50 years or older are encouraged to join the Florida Senior Games for athletic action, social events and volunteer opportunities. From 2022 to 2024, the Games will be held in Pasco County, with the Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus hosting most of the nine-day competition. For seniors, the FSG presents a thorough body of activities, including powerlifting, bowling, shuffleboard, dominos, horseshoes, badminton, ping pong, swimming, softball and more. Anyone who competes here can potentially advance to state- or even national-level competitions.  

Nonetheless, the emphasis is on fun and participation. Socializing, fitness and healthy competition are the primary focus of GTB’s retiree athletics. Game leagues for local Florida seniors include 

  • Tampa Bay Active Life Games — Hillsborough County 
  • Good Life Games — Pinellas County 
  • Gulf Coast Games for Life — Manatee County 
  • Polk Senior Games — Polk County 

One sport currently sweeping senior communities is none other than pickleball. Nationwide, retired demographics are picking this game up like nobody’s business, and the trend is going strong in GTB. In particular, the Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus is a major promoter of the sport with 16 pickleball courts to its name. In Pinellas County, indoor and outdoor courts number in the dozens. 

Intellectual Pursuits 

Healthy retirement is about more than consistent athletics. The mind must also engage itself with meaningful, interesting work.  

When retirees spring out of the workforce phase of life, there are a ton of new opportunities for stimulating and rewarding social endeavors. Nonprofit “Seniors in Service” connects seniors 55 and older with in-need veterans, children and at-risk seniors in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Polk counties. This is but one of the many available volunteer opportunities for GTB retirees, and a rewarding investment of time and energy. 

At specific Florida universities, seniors over age 60 can attend free classes. Since 2010, Florida statute permits seniors to enroll in various classes at a series of public colleges. Participating institutions include: 

  • St. Petersburg College 
  • University of South Florida 
  • Hillsborough Community College  
  • Pasco-Hernando State College 

Why enter, or re-enter, the education game now? Research reveals that lifelong learning reliably stimulates superior neuron generation, and connection formation, in the brain. This positively impacts mental functions like memory, reasoning skills and attention. 

It is crucial to build cognitive resilience by working those neurons in a deliberate way — and doing so on a regular basis. Tampa organization Fit Minds specializes in providing scientifically backed mental stimulation programs for seniors. They offer both one-on-one and group programs for seniors from all walks of life.  

In the Rankings: Best Retirement Spots 

Best Places to Retire 
  • No. 4 Tampa 
  • No. 15 St. Petersburg 

— WalletHub, 2022 

Best Places to Retire in Florida 
  • No. 1 Tampa 
  • No. 5 St. Petersburg 

— Maps of the World, 2022 

See Also

Best Places to Retire  
  • No. 4 Tampa 
  • No. 13 Lakeland 

— U.S. News & World Report, 2022-2023 

Best Cities to Retire In Florida 
  • No. 7 St. Petersburg 
  • No. 8 Tampa 
  • No. 15 Clearwater 

– Retireable, 2023 

Best Places to Retire in Florida on a Budget  
  • No.3 Lakeland 
  • No. 7 New Port Richey 
  • No. 9 St. Petersburg 
  • No. 20 Dunedin 

— Education Planet, 2022 

Best Places to Retire in Florida  
  • No. 1 Tampa 
  • No. 9 St. Petersburg   

— Travel + Leisure, 2022 

Best Cities to Retire in 2022  
  • No. 3 Largo 
  • No. 6 Lakeland 
  • No. 12 Clearwater 
  • No. 21 St. Petersburg 

— Retirement Living, 2022 

By Drew Mortier.

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