Fitness, Fun And Friends – Silver Sneakers Fitness Program

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The importance of physical activity for older adults is being studied more frequently, with many conclusions showing that the more active older adults are, the more likely they are able to prevent the onset of diseases. Exercise has proven beneficial in preventing heart disease and to control other conditions such as arthritis and diabetes.

In order for older adults to maintain a healthy lifestyle and help them get the exercise they need, there’s a fun solution older adults are raving about in Utah, called the Healthways SilverSneakers Fitness Program. SilverSneakers is the nation’s leading fitness program designed exclusively for older adults, and is available at no additional cost to eligible Medicare members. In Utah, this program is offered to eligible members of Humana and SecureHorizons by UnitedHealthcare.

This unique program allows older adults to take charge of their health and maintain an active, independent lifestyle. “The long-term health benefits of regular exercise for older adults are compelling,” says Steve Lindstrom, Healthways senior vice president of Active Living. “In addition to helping seniors stay physically healthy, SilverSneakers also offers a great way for them to socialize, meet new friends and have fun.”

Every enrolled member of SilverSneakers receives a membership at any participating fitness center, where members can take advantage of conditioning classes, exercise equipment, pool, sauna and other amenities. At each fitness center, there is a specially trained senior advisor to introduce the member to the program and acquaint the member with the site.

Every site offers customized SilverSneakers classes which allow the member to improve their strength, flexibility, balance and endurance. Additionally, health education seminars and other events that promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle are available.

“It’s those important extras such as social events, health education seminars and health screening for such conditions as high blood pressure, cholesterol and flu shot availability that play such an important role in the overall success of the program,” said Mr. Lindstrom. Members also have the opportunity to take advantage of the national reciprocity feature of the program, which allows access to any of the certified 2,600 plus participating locations across the nation while traveling.

SilverSneakers was designed specifically to encourage Medicareeligible individuals to increase their levels of physical activity and motivate them to continue to be active. As of September 2007, the SilverSneakers program is offered in 49 states at no additional cost to more than 3 million Medicareeligible individuals through its national network.