National Senior Citizens Day is this Sunday, August 21st, and If you’re over 65 and looking for a way to stay young, the answer may be right in your own backyard, and it’s free, if you have the benefit on your insurance or Medicare health plan. According to a recent study on aging published in The New York Times, exercise holds the key to staying young, both mentally and physically.
“Almost any amount and type of physical activity may slow aging deep within our cells, a new study finds,” reports New York Times Health reporter Gretchen Reynolds. “And middle age may be a critical time to get the process rolling . . .”
But you don’t need to run out and buy an expensive gym membership. The “Healthways SilverSneakers Fitness” program, offered at Halo Studios in New Canaan and some other area fitness centers, is a program specifically designed for the over 65 set, and if your insurance plan participates, the program is free to you.
“The SilverSneakers program is designed to enable members to take control of their own health,” says Suzanne Vinings, who heads up the SilverSneakers program at Halo Studios. “The program I teach at Halo helps members stay young, fit and healthy with lots of options for varying abilities, fitness levels and exercise styles.”
“We have 50 - 60 active older adults participating in SilverSneakers at Halo every week,” says Cindy Ziegler, Halo’s Director. “It has become not only a way to stay fit, but also a way to get together with your peers. It’s a fun, friendly way to socialize that is also providing a great benefit.”
The class is drop-in, with no need to sign up in advance. According to Ziegler, that makes it easier for people to participate.
“We’ve made it drop-in because that makes it less stressful, and easier to just say ‘yes’ to becoming more active,” says Ziegler. “SilverSneakers tells us that more than half of the people who participate in the program nationwide have never set foot in a fitness center before! We needed to keep it simple if people were going to come.”
“SilverSneakers is designed for active adults over 65 to get fit when, where and how they want,” according to Jill Ayres, from Healthways/SilverSneakers. Healthways strives to make the SilverSneakers program available in as many locations as possible nationwide, and more than 12 million people in the country are eligible. Currently, SilverSneakers is offered in 13,000 locations across the country, including Halo Studios in New Canaan.
Halo Studios in New Canaan offers SilverSneakers classes five times a week. Free classes for those who are eligible (check your insurance) are offered every Tuesday and Thursday morning from 10:30 AM - 11:15 AM, and again from 11:15 AM - 12 PM, and Wednesday from 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM. Classes are 45-minutes or one hour in length.