11 Burning Questions About SilverSneakers—Answered!

By Mandy Walker |

Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about the program but didn’t have time to ask.

If you’re new to SilverSneakers, it seems almost too good to be true: unlimited gym access and fitness classes, plus a built-in community of support to ensure your golden years are filled with health and happiness. All at no cost to you!

It’s all good and all true. And there are no strings attached. We put together this handy guide to the questions we hear most often from people who may be newly eligible for SilverSneakers or who are considering a health plan that includes SilverSneakers if they’re turning 65.

Have a question that’s not answered here? Please contact us.

Question #1: What Does SilverSneakers Include?

SilverSneakers is a health and fitness program designed for adults 65+ that’s included with many Medicare Advantage plans. It provides access to:

  • 15,000+ gyms and fitness locations across the nation
  • Fun exercise classes for all fitness levels led by trained instructors
  • SilverSneakers GO, our app to help you discover, plan, and track workouts (free, iOS and Android)
  • On-demand exercise videos so you can take the classes you love anytime, anywhere

As we all know, regular physical activity helps promote health, prevent disease, and improve quality of life. In addition, research shows that staying socially connected and having a good support system keeps people happy throughout their lives. A Harvard study, for example, found that those bonds are a better predictor of a long life than social class, IQ, or even your genes.

SilverSneakers members also have access to events designed to keep them informed about the latest wellness news while providing social opportunities. And our blog and Facebook page provide easy-to-follow exercise videos, fitness tips, and useful health information.

According to SilverSneakers members, the program works: 94 percent of members rate their health as excellent, very good, or good. And 91 percent of members say the program has improved their quality of life.

Question #2: How Do I Find Out If I’m Eligible for SilverSneakers—or Find a Plan That Includes It?

To see if your health plan includes SilverSneakers, use our online tool to check your eligibility.

If you’re new to Medicare or looking for plans that include SilverSneakers, click here.

Question #3: How Long Has SilverSneakers Been Around?

SilverSneakers was founded in 1992. It was the brainchild of Mary Swanson, who found inspiration within her own family. After her father survived a heart attack at age 51, he pledged to improve his quality of life with regular physical activity.

He became an active participant at a local gym, which greatly improved his health and longevity. His commitment, coupled with Mary’s determination to see him succeed, laid the foundation for today’s SilverSneakers program.

What began as a first-of-its-kind fitness class for older adults has now grown to a program with classes for all fitness levels and interests.

Question #4: Do You Sell Shoes?

No.

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Question #5: How Do I Find Out Which Gyms and Fitness Locations Participate in SilverSneakers in My Area?

The program is available nationwide, and membership provides access to any of the more than 15,000 participating locations—including all the amenities they offer. Typically, you can take advantage of fitness classes, weight equipment, exercise machines like treadmills and ellipticals, pools, and more.

Find your nearest SilverSneakers location by entering your zip code in our locator tool or on the SilverSneakers GO app. If you’d rather speak to one of our representatives, call our customer service line at 866-584-7389, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m EST (TTY: 711).

Question #6: Do I Have to Go to a Gym?

Nope. If a gym is not your scene, a SilverSneakers membership includes our FLEX network, a variety of exercise classes available at recreation centers, churches, senior communities, and other convenient community locations.

Our FLEX classes are taught by enthusiastic, certified instructors. More than 70 types of classes are offered, including yoga, tai chi, and boot camp. Classes tend to be small, welcoming, and open to all fitness levels. You can find classes near you by using our FLEX locator tool.

Question #7: Can I Go to More Than One Location?

Yes! You can go to any participating location or class you like in the SilverSneakers network. For example, if there are three fitness centers participating in the program in your neighborhood, you can use weights or exercise machines at one location, swim in the pool at another location, and take a SilverSneakers or FLEX class at the third location.

Likewise, if you go on vacation anywhere in the United States—or you’re a snowbird—you can visit any participating location, SilverSneakers class, or FLEX class in that area.

Question #8: Did You Ever Sell Shoes?

Nope, never.

Question #9: What Kind of Support Does SilverSneakers Provide?

Every SilverSneakers class is led by a certified instructor who will introduce you to the program and help you get started. Instructors can also help you modify exercises to fit your needs. For example, if you have balance issues, your instructor may suggest using a chair for support—or trying the exercise from a seated position.

You’ll also meet new people and build a support network. In fact, a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab found that SilverSneakers members are 20 percent less likely to experience isolation and 25 percent less likely to experience loneliness than non-members. Many SilverSneakers friends even plan social events outside of class, like potlucks or outings around town.

Plus, you can stay connected with other SilverSneakers members and fans on our Facebook page. You’ll find amazing, helpful tips in our community: how to discover your perfect workout, relieve back pain, and lose 65 pounds through healthy eating. You’ll also find inspirational member stories, like how 72-year-old Syd Bowersox rode her bike 3,200 miles.

Question #10: How Can I Become a SilverSneakers Instructor?

To teach SilverSneakers or FLEX classes, you must:

  • Have a current CPR certification
  • Have a two- or four-year degree in health, exercise science, recreation, or physical activity–related field or maintain a nationally recognized certification, like ACE, AFAA, or YMCA
  • Participate in SilverSneakers training

You can find more information and additional requirements here.

Question #11: Do You Plan to Ever Sell Shoes?

No shoes—but we do offer SilverSneakers shirts, fitness balls, and exercise bands at the online SilverSneakers Store.

Check Your SilverSneakers Eligibility Instantly

SilverSneakers gives you free, unlimited access to more than 15,000 gyms and fitness centers across the nation, plus classes and tools designed to keep older adults strong and independent. Check your eligibility instantly here.

Find out if your health plan already includes the SilverSneakers benefit. CHECK YOUR ELIGIBILITY