Lace ‘Em Up
BlueCross/BlueShield Minnesota’s SilverSneakers program provides exercise and socialization for seniors.
For seniors, it can be difficult to get outside and be active at any time of the year, much less when the streets and sidewalks are solid sheets of ice covered in feet of snow. Being active is especially important for seniors who might otherwise live a relatively sedentary life, but going out for a walk around the block becomes increasingly difficult during Minnesota’s winter months. BlueCross/BlueShield Minnesota understands the struggles seniors face with inactivity, which is why it offers a community fitness program designed for seniors: SilverSneakers.
SilverSneakers is available for anyone over the age of 65 who is on Medicare and enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan with a SilverSneakers benefit.
“As the nation’s leading community fitness program designed for seniors, SilverSneakers helps seniors explore fitness, socialization, and nutrition programs to help live their best lives,” says Julie Logue, a national trainer of Tivity Health, the parent company of SilverSneakers.
Not only does the SilverSneakers fitness program offer seniors the opportunity to explore various types of exercise, but it also gives them the chance to meet others and socialize more than they might be able to at home or in their living communities.
“The physical benefits of regular exercise are undeniable. It helps to prevent and/or control chronic conditions, strengthens muscles to prevent falls, improves flexibility to maintain activities of daily living, improves quality of sleep, boosts mood, and improves overall sense of wellbeing,” Logue explains. “In addition to the physical benefits, SilverSneakers is also about seniors capturing opportunities for socialization to help live their best life. Through signature group fitness classes, participation in SilverSneakers can help seniors forge lasting bonds that help combat social isolation and loneliness.”
SilverSneakers offers strength training, aerobics, and flexibility exercise to ensure seniors are getting the most out of their workouts. With more than 16,000 participating locations nationwide, SilverSneakers is a convenient option for seniors looking to be more active, and it doesn’t cost them anything.
SilverSneakers takes an annual participant survey of its more than 26,000 members, and its survey has revealed that older Americans are increasingly interested in exercise and socialization to improve and maintain their health to lead an active lifestyle as they age. Additionally, it has found that more than 91 percent of members have seen improvements in their quality of life since beginning the program, 90 percent feel healthier overall, and 94 percent say their health is good, very good, or excellent.
As nice as it is to have a reason to get out during the winter, SilverSneakers can be utilized even when getting to the gym isn’t in the cards.
“In addition to in-person experiences, members are able to enjoy a library of online exercise classes and personalized programming through the SilverSneakers GO app,” says Logue.
For those who simply prefer exercising at home, the SilverSneakers GO app offers a variety of how-to videos and workouts, so seniors can have their very own personal trainers without even leaving their homes. Seniors can also use the app to track their activity, schedule classes and other activities, find SilverSneakers locations near them, and store their member ID for easy access.
For more information about SilverSneakers, to check your eligibility, or to enroll, visit tools.silversneakers.com or call 866-584-7389.