Staying physically active and strong can be a game changer as we age. The American Heart Association reports that just thirty minutes a day, five days a week of moderate exercise can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Working out regularly can build muscle strength, improve flexibility, and increase stability and balance, which can help prevent dangerous falls. A well-rounded fitness routine can ultimately affect your quality of life.
What types of exercise benefits seniors?
There is a wide range of fitness activities that can be beneficial as we get older. Based on your personal preferences and recommendations made by your physician, try exploring some of these options:
- Weight training
- Tai chi
- Resistance band training
If you enjoy group activities, you may want to try a fitness class or group fitness training. Schedule a visit with your physician before starting any workout routine or activity to assess any personal needs and determine any necessary restrictions or limitations due to your current health.
How can Medicare help?
Many people are concerned about the cost of joining a gym or paying for fitness classes, especially if you are retired and living on a limited income. If you are eligible for Medicare due to age or disability, your health insurance coverage may help cover the costs of exercise programs in your area. Even though Original Medicare does not help pay for membership in fitness centers, you may have additional benefits through a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan.
Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies that contract with Medicare to provide your Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance) benefits. MA plans are required to provide at least the same coverage as Parts A and B, but many offer additional benefits such as prescription drug coverage, vision care, dental services, and even gym memberships.
One in four Medicare plans have partnered with SilverSneakers, a free fitness benefit that gives Medicare recipients access to more than 15,000 locations across the country. This national network of fitness centers offers a variety of services for a wide range of fitness levels. In addition to gyms, SilverSneakers FLEX takes fitness outdoors with certified instructors leading classes and activities in parks or recreation areas within your community.
If you are just reaching eligibility for Medicare, or are considering your options during Medicare’s Annual Election Period (AEP), explore the Medicare Advantage plans that may include SilverSneakers. Online comparison sites can help you narrow down the plan choices in your area based on your specific preferences. When you find the Medicare Advantage plan with SilverSneakers benefits that meets your needs, you can start enjoying a healthier and more active lifestyle.