(BPT) - Do you struggle with starting or maintaining a fitness routine? Don't worry, you're not alone. While most of us know that exercise is beneficial, fitness can be daunting, especially if you're over 65 and want to be sure that you work out in a way that is safe and effective. The good news? Physical activity is key to maintaining health and mobility as you age, and if you are 65 or older, the right Medicare Advantage Plan can provide tools and resources to help you get off the couch. If you just need a little motivation to reengage in your fitness and social routines or would like to start a new one, there are more choices than ever in exercise and wellness options.
Meeting seniors where they are
No matter your age, the ongoing pandemic has caused tremendous changes in our lives, including an increase in physical and mental health issues because of social isolation. Many seniors were understandably cautious due to a heightened health risk and experienced a greater disruption of trusted routines. More good news? We continue to see a return to our lifestyles and activities.
A recent nationwide poll by Tivity Health®, a leading provider of healthy lifestyle solutions, including SilverSneakers®, the nation's leading community fitness program designed for older adults, shows that seniors no longer just work out at the gym or home, but enjoy the freedom to exercise how and where they please: indoors, outdoors, at the gym or community center, together or alone, in-person or virtual.
The poll also found that over the last few months, 78% of seniors have engaged in some type of physical activity, the highest proportion in months. More seniors are engaging in activities that bring them joy and can include a variety of movements - walking, household chores, gardening, hiking, etc. By identifying how the past few years have unsettled these daily routines, we can take steps to help older adults re-energize and re-engage in healthy activities that are enjoyable and encourage valuable social connections.
All you need is an iPhone
By joining forces with Apple Fitness+, the award-winning fitness and wellness service designed to be welcoming to all, SilverSneakers members in participating health plans will soon have access to Apple Fitness+, with workout types from Strength to Yoga, guided mediations, and more at no additional cost. Programming allows members to exercise where they want, when they want with world-class workouts and fitness programming curated for a range of skill levels and interests.
'We know that fitness isn't one size fits all, especially with today's dynamic senior population,' said Richard Ashworth, president and CEO of Tivity Health. 'Seniors need a variety of options for physical activity that fit their lifestyles. Our partnership with Apple Fitness+ offers fitness for all skill levels, interests and goals including a wide array of content presented by expert instructors and celebrity guests.'
Seniors can change the fitness industry
The fitness industry is changing. According to the International Council on Active Aging, a large and growing number of products and services are being developed to allow people to fully enjoy the gift of a longer life, which requires a foundation of good health. Exercise remains critical for seniors to maintain a healthy immune system that's able to fight off disease and consistent exercise can improve balance and strength and help prevent falls. One trend the pandemic saw was the rise of digital and virtual care, and it's here to stay. About one in four seniors are currently using a device to monitor their health and well-being, and the use of video calls to socially connect with friends and family has steadily increased in the past few months.
Fitness is more than a workout
'As a fitness instructor, I see firsthand how exercise can change a person's life. But fitness is more than just a workout,' said Jen Burgmeier, 2022 SilverSneakers Instructor of the Year. 'I have SilverSneakers members who attend classes both in-person and virtually, and I love that they have a choice to work out when and where they want. One of my members recently said that 'the laughter and camaraderie coming through her computer screen makes you feel like you could conquer anything!' I get so much joy out of seeing them take meaningful steps to improve their health and watch them fall in love with SilverSneakers.'
Don't wait until January to jump-start your fitness journey. The Medicare annual enrollment period runs until December 7, so you still have time to review and choose a plan that includes SilverSneakers. For more information on how seniors can check their eligibility, visit silversneakers.com.