SilverSneakers helps seniors stay on top of everyday tasks

August 22, 2013 Denise Pinkney

As you age, it's easy to lose flexibility and balance. Sometimes those aching joints can make it hard to move. That is where SilverSneakers, an exercise program geared to help older adults be active and healthy, comes in.

LoAnn Dybing, Arlyce Widmer and Ethel Wischer take the 9 a.m. SilverSneakers class at Family Wellness in Fargo, thanks to their Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota Medicare supplement plan.  And they are reaping benefits from the class.


Ethel Wischer (magenta T-shirt) LoAnn Dybing (green T-shirt)
and Arlyce Widmer (blue T-shirt) stay on top of everyday
activities through the Silver Sneakers class.

The National Institute on Aging says getting physical activity can prevent or delay disease, help manage stress and improve mood.

SilverSneakers targets the muscles and joints involved in daily activities, LoAnn says. For example, performing squats can strengthen the muscles you use to get in and out of a car. And certain stretches can improve flexibility to enable you to turn your head more freely to look for traffic when you're driving.

"You do what you are comfortable with (in the class)," Arlyce says. "After you are there for awhile, you can challenge yourself. I'm not a person who has a lot of flexibility. The class motivates you do to things you might not have thought you could do."

Arlyce adds that it's very important for seniors to work on balance. "When you try some of the things in class you might be kind of wobbly and with practice you get better." Having a good sense of balance can help prevent falls, which could lead to broken hips and other injuries.

"For my age, I think I'm capable of doing a lot of things other people can't do," says Ethel. And despite feeling that she doesn't have the world's best balance, Ethel still enjoys riding a bike.

Find out what Ethel, Arlyce and LoAnn have to say about how Silver Sneakers improves physical and mental health .

What is SilverSneakers?
With SilverSneakers, seniors who have a Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota Medicare supplement plan receive a "free" membership at a fitness center that participates in the program. You can use the equipment and take classes, including SilverSneakers. You can look for the nearest SilverSneakers location.

If you can't find a nearby SilverSneakers location, you can enroll in SilverSneakers Steps, a home fitness program.  You'll receive a fitness kit geared to general fitness, strength, walking or yoga. What's more, you can create online exercise and nutrition plans, track your fitness progress and find health articles and recipes.