SilverSneakers: Gym Access, Online Fitness Classes and More

SilverSneakers is included in many Medicare Advantage plans and some Medical Supplement plans.

Kate AshfordOctober 2, 2020

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SilverSneakers is a program that gives Medicare-eligible adults access to gyms, community centers, online fitness classes, healthy living discounts and a fitness app and more. SilverSneakers is included in many Medicare Advantage plans and some Medical Supplement plans.

What is SilverSneakers?

Exercise is a crucial part of staying healthy for people of all ages, including older adults. Federal health guidelines recommend that adults participate in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity — or a combination of the two.

The SilverSneakers program is designed to help older Americans reach those goals by providing access to fitness facilities, online fitness classes and online workouts. Members get a basic membership to participating gyms and other locations, which typically includes access to cardio and strength equipment and amenities like pools and walking tracks.

Exercise classes may include cardio and strength classes, water aerobics and yoga. And if the gym isn’t your preference, SilverSneakers FLEX classes are taught at recreation centers and local parks, among other locations.

The program’s on-demand videos offer programs to help improve flexibility and mobility, balance, cardio or strength. There are videos on yoga, tai chi, fall prevention and nutrition information.

Although the membership is geared toward those 65 or older, there is no age requirement for participation if your Medicare plan offers this option. You simply must be eligible for Medicare.

Where is it available?

SilverSneakers gives older adults access to over 17,000 fitness locations nationwide, as well as live fitness classes designed for seniors and a library of online video workouts. To find a gym or class near you, you can use the online location tool or download the SilverSneakers GO app for iOS or Android.

Additionally, you can visit any SilverSneakers member location in the network. (You’re not limited to those in your area or only one location.)

How much does it cost?

There is no cost for SilverSneakers — it’s included with some Medicare Advantage plans and some Medicare Supplement (MediGap) plans. If you’re not sure if you’re covered, check with your plan provider.

Which Medicare Advantage plans cover SilverSneakers?

SilverSneakers is offered by some Medicare Advantage plans and a few MediGap plans. To find out what health plans in your area offer SilverSneakers as a benefit, use the plan’s online tool to locate participating health plans.

What’s happening now

COVID-19 is still a major concern for many older Americans since they’re at higher risk, and they’re more likely to have a preexisting condition that could lead to complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends avoiding crowds of all sizes, including the mall, the gym and community centers. There may be more specific limitations in your area if case numbers are high.

If your local SilverSneakers facility isn’t open for business or you aren’t comfortable going there, consider using SilverSneakers on-demand workout videos from home.

Additionally, even if you aren’t a SilverSneakers member, classes are currently available on its Facebook page for everyone. You can do them live or watch them later at your convenience. Recent classes included a yoga flow, 10-minute total-body cardio and exercises for those with knee pain.

Is it available outside of Medicare Advantage?

The SilverSneakers program is available with some Medicare Advantage plans and a few Medicare Supplement (MediGap) plans only. You must be eligible for Medicare and you must be enrolled in a participating plan.

Are actual sneakers involved?

Although members sometimes mistakenly think a membership comes with a pair of silver sneakers, this program doesn’t give out footwear. But there is an online store that sells water bottles, exercise bands, dumbbells and T-shirts.

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