What Is the SilverSneakers Program?
SilverSneakers is a fitness program included in many Medicare plans. It is specifically designed to improve and maintain health and fitness for people ages 65 and older. SilverSneakers includes more than 70 different types of fitness classes available at more than 17,000 locations.
What Are SilverSneakers Medicare Advantage Programs
The program was founded in 1992 by Mary Swanson to help her father recover from a heart attack. Her goal was to develop a program that improves health and well-being, according to the SilverSneakers website.
Original Medicare — Medicare Part A and Part B do not participate in SilverSneakers. But Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans that participate in the SilverSneakers program provide access to gyms, instructors and other program resources at no extra cost to you.
SilverSneakers Eligibility Requirements
Though SilverSneakers is designed for people ages 65 and older, there is no age requirement. You simply have to have a Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan that participates in the program.
The only eligibility requirement beyond that is that you have a Medicare plan that participates in SilverSneakers.
If you are not yet enrolled in Medicare, but looking for Medicare Advantage or Medigap coverage, you should ask if a plan includes SilverSneakers membership before buying a plan.
What Fitness Plans Do SilverSneakers Programs Offer?
The SilverSneakers program has agreements with thousands of gyms and trained fitness and exercise instructors at more than 17,000 locations. The trained instructors provide fitness programs designed specifically for seniors.
The program also has an on-demand video library for people who prefer exercising at home and a program that holds fitness classes outside of gyms in parks, community centers and churches.
- Boom Mind program
- Mind classes combine yoga and Pilates to build strength, flexibility and confidence. The classes are designed to relax your body and mind while focusing on your core, lower body strength and balance.
- Boom MOVE program
- This is a high-intensity dance workout designed to improve cardio endurance while burning calories. It starts with simple dance moves and you advance to more complex exercises.
- Boom Muscle program
- This program relies on blocks — or different combinations of exercises — to build and condition your upper body. It focuses on toning muscles and building strength.
- Circuit training
- These exercises focus on standing and low-impact movements alternating with upper-body strength. It uses free-weights, elastic tubing with handles and a SilverSneakers exercise ball.
- EnerChi classes
- EnerChi classes use modified tai chi forms. You practice low-impact movements in slow sequences to build balance, strength and focus. You are allowed to use a chair to help with balance and seated exercises.
- FLEX program
- FLEX programs are set up outside of traditional gyms and involve fitness programs in parks, community centers and houses of worship — particularly for people who don’t want to work out in a gym environment.
- Live virtual fitness classes
- These are real-time exercise programs you can join in the comfort of your own home. Live classes and workshops featuring fitness instructors are delivered via Zoom conferencing.
- On-demand classes
- On-demand classes include a large library of exercise and wellness videos that you can access at your convenience and use in your fitness and wellness efforts in your home or on the go.
- SilverSneaker Classic
- The SilverSneaker Classic program is designed to increase your muscular strength and improve your range of movement with a focus on improving your daily life and activities.
- Splash program
- This is a shallow-water exercise program using a “splash-board” to give you more options for movement and intensity in your exercises. SilverSneakers bills it as safe for non-swimmers and suitable regardless of your skill level.
- Stability classes
- Stability classes are designed to improve your strength and balance. It aims to build strength around hip, knee and ankle joints and improve your reaction time. Its goal is to reduce your risk of falls.
- This class involves a full range of standing and seated yoga postures coupled with breathing exercises. You are allowed to use a chair to support you. It is designed to reduce stress and increase balance, range of movement and flexibility.
Where You Can Find a SilverSneakers Program
The SilverSneakers website suggests there are programs near most Americans. You can check at the SilverSneakers website or on the program’s app for locations near you. And you’ll be able to find programs nearby when you travel.
The SilverSneakers smartphone app allows you to access fitness programs, track and schedule workouts and find participating SilverSneaker locations near you or where you plan to travel.
If your plan covers SilverSneakers, you can download a digital membership card on the app. It works on both iOS and Android phones and tablets and gives you access to your membership card at any time.
4 Cited Research Articles
- Walker, M. (2019, December 31). 11 Burning Questions About SilverSneakers – Answered. Retrieved from https://www.silversneakers.com/blog/silversneakers-questions-answered/
- Nguyen, H.Q. (2008, January). Managed-Medicare Health Club Benefit and Reduced Health Care Costs Among Older Adults. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2008/jan/07_0148.htm
- SilverSneakers. (n.d.). Silver Sneakers. Retrieved from https://tools.silversneakers.com/
- Humana. (n.d.). SilverSneakers Fitness Program. Retrieved from https://www.humana.com/manage-your-health/achieving-health-goals/silversneakers