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|Amber Brooks • 12/20/16|
The Short Version: SilverSneakers is a dynamic exercise program where senior adults come together and create social connections. Many baby boomers join these exercise classes to get fit in the company of people with common life experiences. Over 13 million people qualify for a SilverSneakers membership for no additional charge, which includes access to more than 13,000 participating fitness and wellness facilities. From yoga to muscle training, their specialized exercise regimens vary in intensity and are open to people of all fitness levels. By joining, daters essentially kill two birds with one stone: improving their health and their social life all in one place. With regular gym amenities and exclusive programs, SilverSneakers supports an active community of older adults across the country.
Nelson Walter, a distinguished 87-year-old gentlemen living in Pennsylvania, had been an active member of SilverSneakers for nearly a decade when Mary Swenk walked into his fitness class and caught his eye. They got to chatting during the session and began seeing one another socially. Both had lost their spouses and found comfort in the company of someone who understood the loss. Two months later, they announced their engagement to the rest of the class.
“After we realized we were leaning toward each other and sort of falling in love,” Mary recalled, “it was like we were kids again.”
Some baby boomers may find it tough to meet new people as they grow older, but Nelson discovered love awaits anyone, at any age — it’s just a matter of putting yourself out there.
Established in 1992, SilverSneakers Fitness brings together a community of mature adults who want to stay healthy and active. Men and women ages 65+ come for Latin dance, yoga, strength, and aerobic classes modified to their needs. As people get older, it becomes increasingly important to stay fit, strong, and active day-to-day. Exercising in groups can help you get your social life in shape by forging meaningful relationships with your peers.
Whether it’s a date or on your own, these instructor-led sessions help engage members of all fitness levels. By regularly working out via the SilverSneakers program, you can improve your health and build bonds based on common interests. Friendships often form among SilverSneakers members, according to Caroline Khalil, the Vice President of Strategy & Program Management at SilverSneakers.
“Social connection is one of the most amazing byproducts of SilverSneakers,” she said. “Really what drives the program are the heartfelt connections that result from it.”
With SilverSneakers, members enjoy unlimited gym access and exclusive classes taught by credentialed instructors in more than 13,000 participating locations. Whether you want an aerobic workout to pump you up or a relaxing yoga class to chill you out, you can find a program that engages your interests and builds your physicality in a number of ways.
“People get involved in things like Latin dance and muscle strength,” Caroline said. “Our most popular program is called BOOM: three half-hour courses focused on different areas of the body. It’s fast-paced and empowering.”
Seniors can come together to show support and get healthy through in-person communities at fitness sessions and online communities on the Silversneakers blog. The organization engages people on many levels.
Joining a fitness class with a significant other can be a romantic way to spice up your relationship. Or you can surprise your love interest by getting into shape on your own. There are so many fun activities to support your health goals. You don’t have to be a swimmer to enjoy SilverSneakers Splash, a class involving weights and a splash board in the shallow end of a pool.
Seniors can work on their flexibility, balance, strength, stamina, and overall fitness so their body is in prime condition, which I’m sure any potential date will appreciate.
The typical SilverSneakers member is a baby boomer who enjoys an active lifestyle and desires a modified exercise routine. “We’ve designed programming specifically for boomers,” Caroline noted. “They were the generation who created group exercise, actually.”
Over 13 million people in the U.S. are eligible to get all the premium services of SilverSneakers at no cost through Medicare Advantage health plans, Medicare Supplement carriers, and group retiree plans.
Under the watchful eye of caring instructors, mature men and women (ages 65+) engage with one another in a friendly atmosphere. The workouts provide plenty of conversation starters.
Thanks to the pleasurable release of endorphins after exercise, class participants tend to be in an upbeat mood during fitness sessions.
Many members end up forming long-lasting friendships and attending multiple classes together. SilverSneakers adds social value to your workout with well-attended sessions that foster close connections.
The social atmosphere is a strong draw for many SilverSneakers members. According to their internal survey, 38% of members say the reason they joined the program was to meet people and make new friends. The sessions are an open and inviting place to turn strangers into old friends. “This group really does support each other so well,” Caroline commented.
The members of SilverSneakers often find enjoyment and value beyond the physical. Of course, maintaining your good health should be a priority as you get older — but what truly adds meaning to life is the one-on-one bonds and relationships you cultivate over the years.
SilverSneakers excels at facilitating those bonds. A majority of their members, approximately 74%, say they have friends in the program or made friends because of the program.
You can bring your partner to share the fun. Husbands and wives join to lose weight together, friends go to motivate one another, and people of all backgrounds come together through exercise.
“This program touches so many lives,” Caroline said. “It really changes people’s lives physically and socially.”
SilverSneakers offers a low-pressure environment for baby boomers to engage with people in their age group. Attending a class gives you the opportunity to get fit and meet new friends at the same time. Like Nelson and Mary, you just might find a love connection, too.
With practiced attention, SilverSneakers dedicates their programs to reinvigorating the lives of older adults. The classes vary to suit any comfort level, from heavy cardio to relaxing yoga.
The goal of the fitness programs is to make healthier living more affordable, accessible, and social for people of a certain age. If you’d like to meet new people in your area, you can sign up for a session in any of thousands of locations across the United States.
“We’re so passionate about helping people live a better, healthier life,” Caroline said. “If you want to meet people, just take that first step and get out there.”