Silver Sneakers is a specially formatted exercise class designed for older adults, members who have never participated in activity or members in physical recovery. This program is all about improving our members’ quality of life while offering them the opportunity to work together in improving their strength, stamina and flexibility. It truly is “Happy Hour” as participants also use the time to meet people and get to know one another. We celebrate birthdays, holidays and special events and bring the groups from various clubs together.
On the East Coast, Silver Sneakers began with only a few participants. The program steadily grew and expanded to other clubs. A chair-based class in which participants use weights, tubes and rubber balls, members can stand or sit for any or all parts of the class. One of our members at Gold’s Gym Annandale, Clem, had double knee replacement surgery while involved in Silver Sneakers. Because of his fitness level, he left the hospital and “graduated” from physical therapy sooner than expected! He credits his quick recovery to Silver Sneakers.
Merle Shannon is 65 years old and has been a member of Gold’s Gym Merrifield since March of 2012. She discovered Silver Sneakers at her pulmonary rehab, when a participant recommended it for continuation of her recovery. Merle has had health issues, including a kidney transplant and back surgery, and found that Silver Sneakers is key in helping her recover faster and feel stronger. Merle says, “It has become so important to me that it is a priority in my schedule. I set all of my doctor and other appointments around my Silver Sneakers classes. It has helped me to be stronger. I do things I couldn't do before, such as standing in our first few warm-up tracks and standing strength tracks. I find that if I’m not active, I become tired, a little depressed and not in the best frame of mind. Sure, I can exercise at home, but I can’t do or get what I do when I’m here.”
Carolyn Kearney is 82 years old and has been a member of Gold’s Gym Merrifield for 12 years. “When I got to a place where I could no longer take BodyPump, I found a perfect combination to help keep me healthy – Silver Sneakers and BodyFlow. I was in the first class that was offered and was the only participant. I loved what the class had to offer. The next week, I recruited a member sitting on a bench in the club and then the class became bigger each week. This program keeps you stronger and doesn't fall short of keeping you challenged. Most senior classes stay at one level, but Silver Sneakers at Merrifield challenges you and gives you room to grow in your fitness. Even though I wear an oxygen tank and am tethered by a 5-foot oxygen tube, Silver Sneakers challenges me and improves my strength and stamina. It also allowed me to recover faster from my most recent surgery. When I visited my pulmonary doctors, my cardio readings and oxygen consumption were improved. Thank you, Gold’s Gym Merrifield and Silver Sneakers!”
Ask any Silver Sneakers participant at our Leesburg, VA location how they feel and you get an earful of positive responses! For example, Silver Sneakers is great because you get “the joy of companionship of like-minded people,” said Mary Barratt, a six-year participant in the program. She’s been coming 2 to 3 times each week to help keep her strength up for everyday living. Larry Patt, a 1 1/2-year participant, has lost 30 pounds and continues to arrive for his daily dose of fun and variety. Finding friends was a frequent comment from the Leesburg group, which has been going strong for over 10 years. The program is offered five days a week and serves 15-25 seniors in each class. “The instructors provide the greatest motivation,” added Miguel, a two-year attendee who says he is well over 80. He and his wife have made Silver Sneakers a part of their daily schedule. Carol Daigneau comes regularly and says the program has increased her flexibility and muscle tone, and she also has less joint pain.
What motivates these strong seniors? They all know that movement and strength are key to enjoying their retirement and living happier, fuller lives. Claire Mattmueller, a 10-year participant, sums it up by saying, “I feel GREAT, what a super program!” Each week, our inspirational members tell us how wonderful they feel because of Silver Sneakers. We are grateful and excited to be changing these members’ lives each day, one class at a time!