Silver Sneakers Eligibility & Medicare

Calendar Icon Updated May 24, 2019

What is the SilverSneakers Fitness program?  What is the SilverSneakers age?

The SilverSneakers Fitness program was founded in 1992 by Mary Swanson with the goals of improving the physical, mental and emotional health of older Americans.  Since that time, SilverSneakers has become a nationwide network with more than 13,000 participating fitness and wellness facilities that serve more than 12 million eligible members.

At what age are you eligible for Silver Sneakers?  The SilverSneakers age is for Baby Boomers age 65 and older. SilverSneakers offers a diverse range of classes from low impact to high intensity, tailored to meet the individual fitness goals of participants.  Classes include yoga, weight training, Latin dance, aqua-aerobics and dozens of others, each uniquely designed and taught by certified instructors.

Not only does it offer a variety of fitness and social benefits to participants, in many cases a SilverSneakers membership may be free as one of the benefits of several Medicare Advantage programs.

How does SilverSneakers work?

SilverSneakers Fitness has a multi-faceted approach to providing senior fitness services.

Access – Through partnerships with healthcare providers, nationally recognized fitness centers, locally owned gyms and community locations across the nation, participants can access classes in more than 13,000 locations.  This level of convenience removes one of the major barriers that seniors can often face trying to achieve their fitness goals.

Silver Sneakers Classes – Because every participant has a unique fitness goal coupled with their own physical limitations and challenges, SilverSneakers offers a wide variety of classes.  Participants can focus on mobility with yoga and flex classes, low impact movement classes to improve cardio fitness, or stability classes that strengthen ankle, knee and hip joints, lessening the chances that a person might suffer a devastating fall.

Resources – Education and motivation are big parts of any fitness routine, and SilverSneakers meets those goals through extensive outreach that includes a well designed website that is rich with content, a blog, a newsletter, Twitter posts, FaceBook posts and more.

Added Value – SilverSneakers creates even more value for participants by offering social events and an ongoing commitment to providing health education resources.  This includes access to, an online resource for members to monitor fitness progression, track health-related current events, obtain nutritious recipes, watch exercise videos, and more.

Prospective students can get more information on specific benefits or join through the SilverSneakers website.  When you join, you’ll be issued a SilverSneakers card that can be used at all participating locations.

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What types of classes are offered with a SilverSneakers membership?

SilverSneakers free exercise classes are designed by certified instructors to provide optimal support for participants.  Each type of class meets a specific fitness goal to help achieve the best possible results.  Each location is also outfitted with an advisor who will introduce you to the program and help get you started.

  1. SilverSneakers Classic encourages students to have fun and move to the music through exercises that are designed to increase muscle strength and a range of movement to enhance daily living activities.  The class is easily adaptable by students to support their own level of current abilities, including the use of a chair to seating exercises and standing support.
  2. SilverSneakers Circuit is a workout that offers standing, low-impact choreography that is alternated with upper-body strength work with weights, elastic tubing and a ball.  The class is suitable for all fitness levels and can be adapted depending on an individuals skill and tolerance level.
  3. SilverSneakers Cardiofit is an aerobics class that energizes students using low-impact movements that focus on building upper-body and core strength as well as cardio endurance.  This is considered one of the more higher intensity SilverSneakers workouts.
  4. SilverSneakers Yoga enhances movement through a series of seated and standing yoga poses.  Chair support allows students to perform seated and standing postures that will increase flexibility, balance and a range of movement.  Restorative breathing exercises and final relaxation promote stress reduction and mental clarity.
  5.  SilverSneakers Splash offers students a fun shallow-water exercise class using splash-board to increase movement and intensity options.  It is suitable for all levels of swimmers and safe for non-swimmers.
  6. SilverSneakers Stability focuses on specific exercises to improve strength and power around the ankle, knee and hip joints.  This class is specifically designed for fall prevention and is suitable for all fitness levels.  Chairs are often used for balance and support.

The Boom series of classes are designed to be fast-paced 30 minute workouts to improve strength, flexibility and endurance.  They include:

  • SilverSneakers Boom Muscle which incorporates athletic-based exercises to improve upper body conditioning.  Students move through several blocks of exercises that focus on different muscle groups with the goal of toning and building overall strength.
  • SilverSneakers Boom Mind combines the best of yoga and pilates and fuses them in a class designed to relax the body and mind with peaceful music and invigorating movements.  The focus is on core muscles, lower body strength and balance.
  • SilverSneakers Boom Move It is a higher intensity dance workout class that improves cardio endurance and burns calories.

SilverSneakers is more than just a fitness program

As you get older, maintaining an active and healthy circle of friends can become a challenge.  If you’re a Baby Boomer couple whose children have grown up and moved away, that empty nest can be a difficult void to fill.  Deperession in older adults is also common when they are not active and socially connected.

That’s why, while staying physically fit offers its own rewards, many people join SilverSneakers for the social value as well.  Many members end up forming long lasting friendships and end up attending multiple classes together.  Exercising in groups not only helps you get your physical body in shape, it can also help you get your social life in shape, too.

In a recent survey…

…75% of SilverSneakers members said they have friends in the program or that they have made friends through it.

…Almost 50% of active members said they were motivated to keep exercising because they had one or more friends in the program.  It’s no secret that having a workout buddy adds to your level of accountability, no matter what your age is.

…And even before joining, almost 40% of people who did join said the reason they did join was to meet people and make new friends.

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SilverSneakers is free through many Medicare Advantage plans

Here may be the best part about SilverSneakers…through several strategic partnerships with private healthcare providers such as Humana and United Healthcare among others, memberships in the SilverSneakers Fitness program may be free.

SilverSneakers is considered a basic fitness service and Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, does not cover this benefit.  However, Medicare Advantage providers (Part C) may offer this as a benefit.

The best way to find out if your Medicare Advantage provider, Medicare Supplement, or other private healthcare provider offers free membership in the SilverSneakers program is contact your provider or check your eligibility here.

If you want to enroll into a Medicare Advantage plan that includes SilverSneakers coverage, you can access a comparison tool that helps to review Medicare Advantage plans that are available in your area.

Where can I find the participating SilverSneakers program locations nearest to me?

With 13,000 participating locations nationwide, there’s a good chance that several SilverSneaker gyms or fitness centers are located near you.

To get a complete list of locations, go to the convenient locator tool on the SilverSneakers website located here.

In those areas where SilverSneakers has not partnered with a gym or a fitness center, FLEX classes may be held in parks, senior centers, recreation centers or other similar facilities.

For more information on the SilverSneakers Fitness program

For more information, visit the SilverSneakers website or call the SilverSneakers Customer Service number at 1-8880423-4632, Monday through Friday from 8 am to 8 pm ET.

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Bret Colson

For more than a decade, he managed the city government public information and marketing activities for Anaheim, California, including an active role in the build-out of more than $5 billion in community and infrastructure improvements.  He also spent several years managing the public information function for an Orange County, California special district that served the needs of more than 1.6 million people, and has consulted for several local governments and private sector companies throughout the course of his career.

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