By Kaki Zell
As they grow older and retire, many seniors find themselves living on a more limited income, and they cut costs by eliminating “extra” items such as gym memberships. However, if you’re a senior who has health insurance (whether that’s through Medicaid or another program), the chances are good that you’ll qualify for one of these two free fitness programs: SilverSneakers and Silver&Fit.
Below, we explain how these programs work and the benefits they offer seniors and then cover fitness tips for exercising safely as an aging adult.
SilverSneakers is the premier free fitness program for older adults and has been helping seniors stay fit and healthy for 27 years. The program partners with more than 60 Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement insurance (Medigap) plans to provide unlimited access to more than 14,000 fitness locations nationwide, at no cost to its senior members.
The gym access is free to those with the specified insurance plans and covers everything included in a regular gym membership: treadmills, ellipticals, weight machines, classes, pools, saunas, etc. The location may even offer exclusive classes specific to the program, such as SilverSneakers Yoga or SilverSneakers Splash. However, extras that you would pay for on top of the memberships—such as massages or personal training sessions—aren’t covered by SilverSneakers.
You’re not confined to the gym with SilverSneakers. The program also includes SilverSneakers FLEX® classes, which are taught by certified instructors and take place in locations such as parks and community centers. More than 70 types of classes, ranging from tai chi to boot camp to yoga, are offered.
Once you sign up, you’ll also get access to social events in your community and online resources with nutrition and fitness tips. SilverSneakers also offers an at-home kit for seniors who want to start working out at home or who can’t get to a fitness location due to injury, illness or being homebound. If this describes you, you’ll need to call customer service to get the at-home kit.
News updates, tips, and guides on senior care, senior health, stress relief and a host of other caregiving related topics from the professionals at Ella Stewart Care.