Do you want to swim laps today at one fitness center, then join friends later for a stretch class at a different exercise facility? And all at no charge? You can if you are one of millions of senior Americans who are staying active and improving their health through SilverSneakers®.
SilverSneakers, founded in 1992, is a health and fitness program designed for adults age 65 and older. As part of many health plans and Medicare Advantage plans, SilverSneakers allows qualifying seniors to work out for free at more than 16,000 gym and fitness centers nationwide. Many of these facilities also feature certified fitness professionals who lead SilverSneakers classes created to match the varying abilities of aging members.
Classes Outside the Gym
SilverSneakers provides unlimited gym access and fitness classes, plus social connections — all at no additional charge to seniors who are eligible for SilverSneakers through their health or Medicare plan. Every instructor-led SilverSneakers class allows for some individual guidance in modifying the exercises to your specific needs and fitness level.
For older adults who prefer a different exercise environment than a gym or fitness center, the SilverSneakers membership includes a FLEX network of fitness classes offered at recreation centers, senior communities, churches and other local sites. Certified instructors for these smaller FLEX classes offer a wide variety of workouts including tai chi, zumba, strength and balance, water aerobics and more.
Building a Support System
Social interaction with other health-minded seniors is another benefit of SilverSneakers. Members meet new people and build a network of supportive friends who often plan social events outside of class. A study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab reports that SilverSneakers members are 25% less likely to experience loneliness than nonmembers.
The SilverSneakers blog and Facebook page also connect members and fans with helpful workout tips, health advice, exercise videos and inspiring stories from members nationwide. Plus, the SilverSneakers GO app (iOS and Android) invites members to plan and track their workouts.
Connecting With SilverSneakers in Your Area
You can check to see if your health plan includes SilverSneakers by clicking here. To determine your eligibility with Medicare, click here. If you enter your ZIP code in the SilverSneakers locator tool or the SilverSneakers GO app, you can find the nearest SilverSneakers location. For direct contact with a SilverSneakers customer service representative, just call (866) 584-7389, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET (TTY: 711).
About the Author
An award-winning journalist who has documented stories in nearly 20 countries, Beth Lueders is an author, writer and speaker who frequently reports on diverse topics, including aging and health issues for both U.S. and international corporations.