What is it? and How Can You Join?
It can get harder to stay in shape as you get older. A major barrier in the battle to stay active is access to resources for exercising. Many seniors are either unsure of where they can go to receive assistance with fitness activities or are unaware of existing resources. But if you’re enrolled in Medicare, you may have more options than you think.
If you are a Medicare beneficiary, you may qualify for the SilverSneakers fitness program, which enables seniors to engage in physical activity in order to stay in shape and to interact with other seniors in their communities. Many Medicare health plans include a SilverSneakers membership at no cost, so there’s no reason to not enroll.
Access to Gyms, Instructors and Classes
There are over 13,000 participating SilverSneakers locations across the country, and membership grants you unlimited access to every single one. You can even visit multiple locations on the same day.
Each location is outfitted with exercise equipment, and there are certified instructors on site to ensure you are able to exercise comfortably and safely while also challenging yourself. A SilverSneakers membership does not cover the costs of all gym services, however. Some amenities, such as refreshments and massages, must be paid for out of pocket.
SilverSneakers also offers a variety of classes at all levels of intensity and for specific types of workouts, such as cardio, balancing and muscle-toning. And if you’re looking to take things to the next level, a group of classes that fall under SilverSneakers’ BOOM program feature more challenging workouts for those who really want to push themselves. With so many options, you’re sure to find something that interests you.
Get to Know Other Seniors in Your Community
While having access to gyms, instructors and classes is a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle, one of the other benefits of having a SilverSneakers membership is being part the program’s community. In fact, nearly 50 percent of active SilverSneakers members said they were motivated to keep exercising because they had a friend in the program.
SilverSneakers FLEX group classes, which provide opportunities to exercise outside the gym, are available for those who want a more communal workout experience. FLEX is made up of more than 70 enrichment courses, including Latin dance, Tai chi, hiking, yoga and more. Classes may be held at local recreation centers, retirement communities, pools or parks, and they are all led by qualified instructors.
With millions of members nationwide, you’ll be able to connect with your peers both inside and outside the gym, especially in FLEX courses.
How to Find Out if You Qualify
Want to know if you’re qualified for a SilverSneakers membership? It’s easy to find out; simply contact your health insurance provider directly and ask if you are eligible. There are more than 60 health plans that provide memberships for their beneficiaries.
You also can visit the SilverSneakers’ website and use their eligibility checker tool to find out if you qualify for a membership. Once you’ve verified your eligibility, all you need to do is request a membership card on the SilverSneakers website and print it out.
The SilverSneakers’ website also has a locator tool to help you find participating SilverSneakers gyms in your area. You can even filter your search so that it includes only gyms that offer specific classes or have certain types of equipment. For example, if you want to maintain your weekly workout regiment or participate in classes while you’re traveling or on vacation, you can easily lookup the closest gym that has what you need.
The SilverSneakers program is great way to gain access to local gyms and physical fitness courses, and it may be included in your existing Medicare coverage. Take the next step toward joining a community of active seniors and find out if you’re available for a free membership.