TAMPA - While in her early 70s, Alice Daly fell off the first step of a ladder and broke her hip. Daly, a regular at the Northwest Hillsborough YMCA, went down hard. The hip broke but her spirit didn't.
After a week, she was back at the YMCA using a walker. A couple of weeks later, she had a "four-legged" cane. She kept coming. Soon she was down to a regular cane, and she kept coming.
"Now all I bring with me is a limp," said Daly, who is a member of the Silver Sneakers, a group of seniors who show up at the YMCA on a regular basis.
There is no age requirement to be part of the Silver Sneakers. Age, Daly said, is all in a person's mind. She is active, does a lot of exercising, and also helps out at the YMCA in various ways.
Daly has always been active and ignores her actual age, saying she feels like she is no older than 50. She has always walked four miles a day and still works out at the YMCA doing chair exercises in which both feet stay on the floor.
In addition to working out, she does a lot more at the YMCA. She helps out with senior orientations, volunteers for the YMCA "Night on the Town" nights, participates in regular pot-luck dinners, and helps decorate whenever she is needed.
She also helps out when a friend is in need. Dawn Kita, senior program director at the YMCA, recently gave birth with the help of Daly, who stayed with her at the hospital. Of course she didn't have to be there, but it was a labor of love.
"You are never too old to do anything or to be there for anyone," Daly said. "Age is just a number and I don't plan to slow down."
Daly is determined to never let age get to her.
"You know, so many people reach a certain age and think that it's all over for them," Daly said. "I have walked and ridden my bike for years and I can't give that up. A lot of people get to the point where they just want to sit down and watch television, but I can't do that. We have a lot of people here like that. We have people here I know who are 88 years old and I can't keep up with them. I am never going to stop being active."