Tribune Print Share Text

Swing into action

Charlestown residents stay active on and off the tennis courts

Created date

June 5th, 2015
Charlestown tennis players
Charlestown tennis players

When Pat Brazzamano is not playing bocce or golf, she’s on the tennis courts twice a week practicing her backswing and perfecting her serve.

“I began playing tennis 20 years ago when my husband and I retired to Florida,” says Pat. “We lived in a community that had wonderful tennis facilities. We loved it! We spent three days a week golfing and the other two playing tennis.”

So in the spring of 2014, when Pat and her husband Joseph moved to

Living an active lifestyle

Gerald Martin is the team’s captain. 

“It’s a great group of people,” says Gerald. “I really enjoy playing. It’s good exercise, and we have a lot of fun. You can make tennis as easy or as hard as you want to.”

Gerald, a retired social worker, took up tennis after he met his late wife. “My wife’s family was very into tennis,” says Gerald. “It was the family sport and everyone played, so I didn’t really have a choice. Even in the winter, my wife and I would go outside and shovel the snow off the tennis courts and play.” 

Gerald moved to Charlestown four years ago and joined the tennis team soon after. He also plays table tennis and softball for the Charlestown Sluggers team. Living an active lifestyle is one of the things Gerald loves most about living at Charlestown.

“Without a doubt, moving to Charlestown was the best decision for me,” says Gerald. “I compare living here to when I went to college. They have so many activities; anything you want is here.”

Pat agrees. “I like to be busy and get involved in things,” she says. 

In addition to tennis, Pat is also on Charlestown’s entertainment committee and part of the Elderhostel Lifelong Learning Institute at Charlestown. “I think staying active is what keeps you feeling young,” says Pat. 

Healthy aging

According to experts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Pat may be onto something. A 2012 study found exercise from leisure-time activities can extend life expectancy as much as 4.5 years.

 A press release issued by the National Cancer Institute, part of NIH, recommends, “Adults ages 18 to 64 engage in regular aerobic physical activity for 2.5 hours at moderate intensity—or 1.25 hours at vigorous intensity—each week.” 

Moderate activities are defined as those during which a person could talk but not sing. Vigorous activities are those during which a person could say only a few words without stopping for breath.

The press release states, “After accounting for other factors that could affect life expectancy, such as socioeconomic status, the researchers found that life expectancy was 3.4 years longer for people who reported they got the recommended level of physical activity. People who reported leisure-time physical activity at twice the recommended level gained 4.2 years of life. In general, more physical activity corresponded to longer life expectancy.”

Even people who participate in low levels of activity reap benefits. According to researchers, those who only did half of the recommended amount of physical activity still added 1.8 years to their life.

“Finding something you love to do is the key to sticking with any exercise routine,” says Teresa Reymann, wellness manager at Charlestown. “One of the benefits of living at Charlestown compared to in your home is everything you need to stay active and healthy is right outside your door.”

This fall, Charlestown’s tennis team will compete against rivals from sister Erickson Living communities Riderwood, Greenspring, and Ashby Ponds in an annual tennis tournament.  Last year, the Charlestown team swept first place wins in the tournament in men’s, women’s, and mixed doubles.

As for Pat, she plans to keep on playing tennis. 

“It was the greatest thing to have my daughter and granddaughter in the stands cheering me on as I played, yelling, ‘Go, grandma!’ It was really thrilling.”