Healthcare costs are rising more every day, and for many senior citizens, their healthcare costs and needs are increasing severely while their income is decreasing in retirement.
Enter SilverSneakers Fitness. It’s a program initiated by Healthways, Inc., which is a company devoted to improving the overall wellbeing of the United States population by “engaging individuals in sustained behavior change that helps them live longer, happier, more productive lives.” One in five adults over the age of 65 is eligible for the benefits under one of 10 health plans in the state of Georgia. The innovative movement is addressing an issue and a population that has long needed attention.
There are many advantages of SilverSneakers; it’s changing the norm and empowering seniors to take more control of their physical, mental, and emotional health. Showing people that doing so saves a ton of money in healthcare fees and provides a stronger generation that can play with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“SilverSneakers is a comprehensive program that improves overall well-being, strength, and social aspects,” their website explains. “Designed for all levels and abilities, this program is generally provided by your health plan at no additional cost. SilverSneakers provides access to fitness equipment, group exercise classes, social networking, online education, and a sense of community. With more than 13,000 locations nationwide, you can visit any one of our locations at any time.”
Amenities such as a swimming pool, tennis courts, indoor walking tracks, and more may be included. Classes will vary based on the fitness center offering them, but examples of available signature classes are SilverSneakers Classic, SilverSneakers Circuit, SilverSneakers CardioFit, SilverSneakers Yoga, and SilverSneakers Splash. Then there are the BOOM classes. As the name implies, “The BOOM series offers three distinct, 30-minute group exercise classes designed for Baby Boomers and active older adults looking to take their fitness to the next level.” So if you want to step it up, BOOM is a great choice.
Members of the program can access Healthways FIT through healthwaysfit.com, the member support website, which is an “Online Community for Today’s Active Adults”. There is a wealth of information on attaining better fitness and preparing nutritious meals, along with the opportunity to communicate with other program members and even access exclusive exercise videos from any internet-enabled device. There are over 20 free, downloadable PDFs on fitness tips, diet-specific eating guides, and recommended workout charts.
Fayette County has more than 15 fitness locations currently utilizing Silver Sneakers
For those who need something closer to home, there are SilverSneakers FLEX options for exercising with classes like yoga, walking groups, and tai chi. For the more adventurous, there are dancing and boot camp classes. They are usually offered at local community centers or recreation departments. SilverSneakers Steps is another branch of the program that allows members to work out wherever they are—it’s perfect for anyone who cannot easily go to the gym for physical reasons, location, or frequent travel. Members who select this option can choose from one of four types: general fitness, walking, yoga, and strength.
Because the program makes it easy for retirees to get in workouts at their own pace, participating in SilverSneakers gives many seniors motivation that would not exist otherwise. According to the 2014 Annual Participant Study conducted by Healthways, “66 percent said they would exercise less or not at all if it weren’t for SilverSneakers.” Additionally, “37 percent of members report they attend class to socialize, 68 percent of members participate in classes with a friend, and 34 percent participate with a spouse or significant other.” The program is drawing people closer to each other and changing lives.
As with any exercise program, members should speak to a physician before beginning to work out, especially if they have any health issues or are recovering from any sort of injury. With SilverSneakers, classes are catered to senior citizens with modifications given during instruction by certified fitness trainers. Of course, comfortable, loose fitting clothes and appropriate shoes should be worn for class. Additional information can be found at silversneakers.com, along with directions for checking eligibility and signing up.
SilverSneakers is an all-encompassing wellness program, and one in five adults over the age of 65 is eligible for the benefits under one of ten health plans in the state of Georgia. Health Plans in Georgia currently listed on the website as partnering with SilverSneakers include:
- AARP Medicare Supplement
- Insurance Plan
- Advantage by Peach State
- Health Plan
- Aetna Medicare
- Coventry Health Care
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia
- Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia