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Fitness Enthusiast Shares Her Passion with Residents

May 27, 2016 | News

Suzana Delgado

Suzana Delgado

Sports are Suzana Delgado’s passion and as the Wellness Center Coordinator at East Ridge, she shares this love with residents.

She is part of the team of specialists provided to residents living at the life plan community who focus on positive aging for residents.

Suzana grew up in Miami and has lived in the United States since her family moved from Brazil when she was five. She married her high school sweetheart nine years ago and the couple has a two year old son.

Sports have always been her main interest. She claims it’s her Brazilian roots that accounts for her love of soccer. She played soccer in school and has always been committed to exercise and fitness.

Her studies at Miami-Dade College were focused on exercise science and physiology, and sports management. She graduated from FIU in exercise and sports science as an exercise physiologist and interned at Baptist Health in cardiac rehabilitation where she especially enjoyed working with the older population.

“I love making people feel better and developing a protocol geared to each person’s body,” she said.

When she first joined East Ridge, many existing residents needed to be convinced that they could begin a fitness program. It was gradual but word of mouth quickly spread about what people were doing at the Wellness Center.

The Wellness Center is her domain and she monitors everyone’s work out as well as teaches fitness classes for independent and assisted living.

There is a standardized senior fitness test that people take to help assess their abilities. Suzana builds a schedule around each person’s level.

“You can be the best instructor in the world but you have to build a relationship with each person,” she said. “A level of trust develops between an instructor and individual. I know I can make a difference in someone’s life; they have to believe that too.”

She advises that although there is a lot going on East Ridge, residents need to make exercise their first priority.  They should work their schedule around a fitness class.

“The secret is consistency,” she said. “I try to give residents something new to pursue to maintain interest.Suzana Delgado
East Ridge now offers Zumba classes on Mondays in addition to acquatics, balance and flexibility classes.  She has introduced disc golf as well as bocce. The most popular class at East Ridge is Sittercise, a strength building workout geared to all ages.

Suzana works hand in hand with the rehabilitation staff at East Ridge. Someone may need to go to therapy before they begin a workout program or return to her as the next step after therapy.

“The East Ridge residents have become an extension of my family,” she says. “I have 300 grandparents!”

After she finishes a day at East Ridge, she heads to the soccer field where she coaches the girls at Pinecrest Premier Soccer Club.