Older Adults are Turning to Fitness for Optimal Health

Joy Powell, Chief Operating Officer Network Solutions

A headshot of COO of Network Solutions at Healthways, Joy Powell Researchers have long determined significant health benefits for older adults who remain active, and even some studies have shown improved mental health among active seniors. For millions of older adults, the path to well-being starts with SilverSneakers® Fitness. SilverSneakers Fitness is an innovative program guiding people through their fitness journey to help them achieve their health goals – physically, mentally and even emotionally.  

 

Designed specifically for active older Americans, SilverSneakers offers a variety of fitness options that accommodate all fitness levels and preferences, as well as invaluable social interactions. Whether a yogi, marathon runner, tennis player or someone stepping into the gym for the first time, SilverSneakers helps people live their best life.

 

The results of the program can be seen in the SilverSneakers 2015 Annual Participation Survey, exploring member activity levels, fitness attitudes, and health outcomes. In short, SilverSneakers members are faring better than their non-member peers. Ninety-four percent of SilverSneakers members reported their health as good, very good or excellent, compared to 66 percent of the general older adult population, as reported by the Medicare Health Outcomes Survey (HOS).

Additional feedback from the more than 27,000 respondents, aged 65 and older across 50 states, revealed an active generation of older adults that are turning to fitness to maintain health, energy and mental balance during their retirement years:

  • 96% stating they have felt calm and peaceful some, most or all of the time
  • 90% say they have a lot of energy some to all of the time
  • 84% do aerobic activity three or more times a week
  • 72% of members have received or provided encouragement to a fellow member while participating in a SilverSneakers class
  • 64% complete muscle strengthening exercises three or more times per week
  • 49% state the desire to spend time with other SilverSneakers members motivated them to exercise

More than 13 million people are eligible for the SilverSneakers Fitness benefit at no cost through leading Medicare Advantage health plans as well as Medicare Supplement carriers and group retiree plans. Designed for all fitness levels, the program offers a variety of specialized group exercise classes ranging from SilverSneakers Classic to BOOM and provides members with access to more than 13,000 fitness and wellness facilities nationwide. Members can also enjoy the SilverSneakers FLEX™ network, which includes classes and activities at parks, recreation centers and other local venues. 

No other fitness program has such a rich history with more than 25 years in older adult fitness, changing thousands of lives, and that mission is even stronger today with record numbers of Baby Boomers aging into Medicare.