06/13/2017

SilverSneakers program offers seniors a fun, safe environment to work out

Five reasons why seniors should get regular exercise

Pam Clinard didn’t always have time to exercise. Work and raising her children left little time to hit the gym.

Now at age 67, Clinard exercises at least four times a week – and for free thanks to the SilverSneakers program.

SilverSneakers offers seniors 65 and older an opportunity to exercise in a wellness environment, says Kathy Carlson, MA, ACSM-HFS, Wellcoach and St. Joseph’s/Candler Wellness Center and Health Promotion Manager. SilverSneakers is a nationwide program. The SJ/C Wellness Center – located at Candler Hospital – is a contracted SilverSneakers site, Carlson says, and all fitness instructors are SilverSneakers certified.

The program is for those 65 and older with Medicare and a secondary insurance, such as AARP, Blue Cross and Blue Shield and others. SilverSneakers participants are allowed full membership to the Wellness Center, which includes access to all the equipment in the center and attendance to any of the fitness classes and lectures.

Clinard enjoys the classes in particular. She currently attends a Monday, Wednesday circuit class (taught by Carlson) and a Tuesday, Thursday core class. In the past, she attended the water aerobics classes, which are very popular among SilverSneakers participants.

“I really like the classes the best,” Clinard says. “The instructors make the routine for you. They are rigorous, and it’s nice to be with other people.”

Currently, there are 1,700 active SilverSneakers members who frequent the SJ/C Wellness Center, Carlson says. Nationwide, millions of SilverSneakers have access to more than 13,000 fitness and wellness centers. The goal of the program is to provide Baby Boomers and others a fun and safe environment to be active and socialize.

It’s important for senior adults to get regular exercise for a variety of reasons, Carlson says, including:

  • Better quality of life
  • Less health complications
  • Socializing opportunities to meet new people
  • Physical activity helps reduce depression and loneliness
  • A program like SilverSneakers allows seniors a safe, fun place to exercise

According to a recent SilverSneakers participant study, 84 percent of members complete moderate to vigorous aerobic activity three or more times per week. Among those surveyed, 94 percent of participants state they are in good or excellent health, and 90 percent report more energy to accomplish daily activities.

Clinard is grateful for a program that encourages her to workout. She says she experiences very little aches and pains and has no trouble with arthritis.

“From a woman’s standpoint, exercising keeps bones healthy, especially the impact exercises,” Clinard says. “It makes you stronger. I feel it makes you look better, and honestly, it’s a good feeling. When I haven’t been working out for a while due to a vacation or whatever, I start to crave exercise.”

To find out if you are eligible for the SilverSneakers program, call the Wellness Center at 912-819-8800. You can learn more about SilverSneakers on their website.

If you are not eligible for the program, the Wellness Center offers a senior membership for 65 and older for $27 a month with a $35 joining fee. 

  • St. Joseph's Hospital Campus: 11705 Mercy Blvd., Savannah, GA 31419, (p) 912-819-4100
  • Candler Hospital Campus: 5353 Reynolds St., Savannah, GA 31405, (p) 912-819-6000
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St.Joseph's Hospital Campus: 912-819-4100

Candler Hospital Campus: 912-819-6000