The importance of exercise for seniors is abundantly evident. Whether it’s 15 minutes a day or 30 minutes per weekday, a good workout can keep you fit and healthy.
A good place to start is at a local gym, which sometimes have programs geared toward seniors. Your options may include a national program, often sponsored by a larger organization. Today, we’ll introduce you to three fitness programs focused on helping seniors get healthier, even beginners. Many also offer group classes, giving you access to specialized experts and like-minded students, making it a great way to meet new friends.
SilverSneakers is one of the most prominent fitness programs in the country. With more than 14,000 locations nationwide, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find one near you. Founded in 1992, SilverSneakers has grown to become a leading program for older Americans. One of its prime benefits is affordability since SilverSneakers is covered by many Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Check what plans near you cover SilverSneakers.
As a program member, you’ll have unlimited access to any of the participating gyms and classes, as well as community fitness groups.
So, what does SilverSneakers do? As a program member, you’ll have unlimited access to any of the participating gyms. If the gym isn’t for you, FLEX classes are community-based fitness groups that embrace group ethics to encourage healthy workout habits. There are also a handful of specialized classes for seniors of different fitness levels or interests (like yoga or water workouts).
If you’re looking for an alternative to SilverSneakers, or there doesn’t happen to be a location near you, check out Silver&Fit. Much like SilverSneakers, Silver&Fit is covered by many Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. You can also get a membership to gyms or fitness facilities near you through the program. If you’re unable to make it to a gym, Silver&Fit can send you two home fitness kits each year. These include everything you need to do the themed-exercise of the box. Some of the boxes include yoga, dance, stress management, and cardio strength.
If you’re unable to make it to a gym, Silver&Fit can send you two themed home fitness kits each year.
Silver&Fit also sends a quarterly newsletter to keep subscribers informed. This newsletter is available in both print and online. This online presence is one of the notable differences between Silver&Fit and SilverSneakers. While SilverSneakers has a blog, Silver&Fit has embraced the power of the internet. First, there’s Silver&Fit Connected!, which tracks your activity through a wearable fitness device or app. Activity is converted into points which can be redeemed for prizes. To keep you engaged, Silver&Fit also publishes fitness challenges on its website that drive seniors to push themselves and connect with others.
National Council on Aging Programs
If neither of the previous entries interests you, the National Council on Aging has endorsed a slate of evidence-based programs. They vary in both style, focus, and substance, so you can find one that works best for you. The one downside is some of these programs have smaller ranges than the previous two. That said, they all share a strong focus on using science and evidence-based methods to deliver results for seniors.
These programs vary in both style, focus, and substance, so you can find one that works best for you.
Some, like the Active Choices program, runs for a six-month period that focuses on working exercise into your regular schedule. It’s an individualized program that utilizes your smartphone to provide guidance and support from the program’s experts. EnhanceFitness is a low-cost program that’s perfect for seniors just starting out or that are frail. These classes focus on flexibility, balance, and low-impact exercise that greatly improve quality of life. You can see a sample class layout on the EnhanceFitness website.
These are only two of the many programs that the National Council on Aging promotes for seniors. In the list above, you’ll find programs that specialize in all sorts conditions or fitness levels.
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It can be difficult to get into shape when you don’t know where to start. Any of these programs can offer proven, specialized roadmaps toward getting to a healthier, happier fitness level. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s worth exploring each and seeing which works best for you!