woman wearing black tank top performing bicep curls. weight rack behind her

Bennie Mann is at the Spurlino Family YMCA at least five times a week. 

When Bennie Mann retired, making her health a priority was her number one goal.

“When I started at the Spurlino Family YMCA almost two years ago, all my medical test results were high. Now through exercise and wellness classes at the Y, I have brought all my numbers down! I have lost weight, come off two medications and I am about to move out of Pre-Diabetes status! I am healthier than I have ever been,” Bennie exclaims! 

The Tampa Y’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) is a 12-month, evidence-based and CDC-approved lifestyle modification program proven to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes for those who are at risk.

At the suggestion of her doctor, Bennie signed up for the DPP program right before COVID-19 hit, but that didn’t stop her. “So, between Zoom classes and Y-360 (online classes), I kept going. I was so thankful when things lifted and I could come back.” 

Bennie recommends not waiting until you have so many health issues and have no choice but to make it your priority. 

“Do something that would, not just motivate you, but keep you wanting to come back. That’s what it’s done for me,” she says. “I didn’t want to be pushed in a wheelchair. I didn’t want to be a burden to my children. So, whatever I have to do to take care of myself, I don’t want to be a burden. To anybody.” 

Bennie calls the Y a “health saver.”

“In the Pre-Diabetes class, I learned that all I needed to do was lose seven percent of my body weight and at least do 30 minuets of aerobics a day. Well, I was well past that, so I believe when I go back for my next check-up, because usually I do about 120 to 180 minutes of aerobics everyday now and 10,000 to 15,000 steps a day, I’m going to definitely beat it.”

But she says it’s never too late to get healthier.

“Now that I have rode into senior citizen status and maybe because most of my classes have been with senior citizens I think that they’re some of the most committed dedicated people that I meet here,” she says. “When I first got into the water aerobics I was so amazed at how many came in on wheelchairs, walkers, canes, braces and they get in that water and they will work out. I’ve seen too many of them go from that to needed little to no aid whatsoever. I may have my health challenges but I also have so much to be to be thankful for and so to be able to look around and to see that dedication, to see that commitment has always been so encouraging.”