Silver Sneakers is a popular fitness program for Medicare beneficiaries 65 and up to increase physical health, social well-being, and strong community bonds. It does this by providing a group, fitness classes for all abilities facilitated by trained instructors.
As a nationwide program, Silver Sneakers is available at 16,000 gyms and fitness centers across the United States.
Your physical health is a primary concern at any age, but it becomes especially important as you transition into your elderly years where health concerns, doctor’s visits, and prescriptions can pile up. All of these factors can inhibit your ability to stay active, but it’s as important as ever to remain physically active and engaged as you age.
In fact, your doctors will likely encourage you to be more active, because exercise and healthy eating can help as a part of the treatment plans for many of the most common conditions found in elderly people.
Silver Sneakers eligibility requirements
Silver Sneakers is available for people 65 and up who was part of a participating Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plan. Silver Sneakers eligibility is based in the following criteria:
You have to be 65 or older
You must be eligible for Medicare
You have to be enrolled in a Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan that includes the Silver Sneakers program membership
These conditions include:
-Cardiovascular disease: A 2009 studies stated that both genders can lower the risk for cardiovascular disease, “by engaging in regular physical activity.”
-Diabetes: The American Heart Association says physical activity, “helps lower your blood glucose, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides,” which are all contributing factors to diabetes.
-Rheumatoid arthritis: Working out can help improve range of motion, and increase strength in the bones affected by this autoimmune disease.
-Osteoporosis: Weight lifting, cardio, and yoga can help to build strong bones and improve posture and balance, which can then help prevent breaks, and emergency room visits from falls.
-Depression: While physical activity isn’t a cure for depression, it can certainly help by encouraging socialization, which can then improve overall mental health.
.Obesity: Being physically active can help you burn more energy than you consume, which helps to fight obesity.
As a way of encouraging physical activity in the elderly, the program called Silver Sneakers was created in the early 1990s. We’ll now discuss this free program and its benefits in addition to how you can qualify and enroll in it.
A sample of Silver Sneakers fitness classes
The Silver Sneakers Medicare program offers over 70 types of fitness classes for all fitness levels, and each one is taught by a certified instructor.
Silver Sneakers Classic
This is where it all started. With Silver Sneakers Classic, the class adapts to your fitness level, using a chair for support if you need it and exercises can be modified to your ability as well. Overall, Silver Sneakers Classic is a good way to help to increase range of motion, and muscle strength to make daily activities easier and improve overall well-being.
Silver Sneakers Circuit
The Silver Sneakers Circuit class is a choreographed routine set to music that incorporates movement with standing exercises that use rubber tubing and dumbbells. The class can be adapted to suit your fitness level, and chairs are available for support during the exercises.
Silver Sneakers Cardiofit
A more rigorous workout than Silver Sneakers Classic or Circuit, Silver Sneakers Cardio fit is an aerobics-type class to build core strength, upper body strength, and cardio health. However, all the exercises are low-impact.
Silver Sneakers Yoga
Need better flexibility, balance and range of motion? Silver Sneakers Yoga may be your answer. Certified instructor helps guide the class through a set of yoga poses friendly to almost all fitness level. Apart from the physical benefits, Silver Sneakers Yoga helps alleviate stress and increase relaxation.
Silver Sneakers Splash
A great, low-impact aerobic class, Silver Sneakers Splash is taught in a shallow pool—shallow enough to stand in. The certified instructor walks the class through a series of movements that can be varied in intensity depending on fitness level.
Silver Sneakers Stability
Silver Sneakers Stability is organized specifically to impact daily life, and make activities of daily living easier, hopefully preventing falls in the process. The class itself focuses on strengthening ankles, knees, and hips to help normal movement, and even has exercises to help improve reaction time. As with most classes in the Silver Sneakers program, Stability can be modified to your fitness level.
If you’re looking for more intensity out of your workouts in 30 minutes or less, Silver Sneakers has a series of classes for you. In the Boom series, there is a Boom Move class which is aerobic dance class to improve cardio health, Boom Muscle which strengthens the major muscle groups, and Boom Mind which blends Pilates and yoga to improve core strength.