A large and growing number of older adults are taking advantage of free YMCA memberships through their insurance plans.
Many health insurance companies are offering YMCA memberships as incentives to get healthy and stay healthy. Insurance companies are finding these partnerships to be truly beneficial and members are leading healthier lives with less medications and limitations.
People age 65 and older may be eligible for the SilverSneakers® program through a Highmark or Medicare plan or supplement. SilverSneakers® is a nationwide health program for senior citizens and it provides a free gym membership and wellness counseling at participating locations.
The Oil City YMCA has been offering SilverSneakers memberships for several years. Today over 300 community residents are considered SilverSneakers® members. They enjoy all the same privileges as a regular member of the YMCA, plus they are able to take advantage of free SilverSneakers® programming offered Monday through Friday.
Similar programs like Silver and Fit and Active and Fit have been developed with other insurance companies and offer similar benefits, including free memberships to the YMCA.
Michelle Murray, Oil City YMCA Membership Director, is excited about the growing number of health and wellness programs that offer free memberships.
“The Y is thrilled to be able to help area residents feel healthier and stronger. We encourage anyone who has wanted to begin a new routine to stop by the YMCA for a tour. We’ll check your insurance cards and let you know right away if you qualify for a free membership through your insurance.”
Current senior classes available at no charge to SilverSneakers and Silver & Fit Members include:
SilverSneakers® Classic—Have fun and move to the music through a variety of exercises designed to increase muscular strength, range of movement and activity for daily living skills. Hand-held weights, elastic tubing with handles and a SilverSneakers ball are offered for resistance. A chair is available if needed for seated or standing support. Please wear athletic shoes, comfortable clothes and bring a bottle of water. Tuesdays and Thursdays 8:15-9:00am.
SilverSneakers® Circuit—Combine fun with fitness to increase your cardiovascular and muscular endurance power with a standing circuit workout. Upper body strength work with hand-held weights, elastic tubing with handles and a SilverSneakers ball are alternated with low-impact aerobic choreography. A chair is used for standing support, stretching and relaxation exercises. Please wear athletic shoes, comfortable clothes and bring a bottle of water. Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8:30-9:15am.
SilverSneakers® Splash—Activate your urge for variety. Splash offers fun, shallow-water movement to improve agility and flexibility while addressing cardiovascular, strength and endurance conditioning. No swimming ability is required and a special SilverSneakers® kickboard or other aquatic equipment is used to improve strength, balance and coordination. Please wear water shoes and bring water in a plastic bottle. Monday, Wednesday and Friday 11:45 am-12:45 pm.
The YMCA has plenty of other programs that appeal to older adults.
Pickleball is the newest activity that is loved by all ages, including seniors. Classes are available to learn how to play. Regular pickleball games are held every week.
Monthly luncheons are held with fun themes.
The coffee room is very popular after a workout. Free coffee, cookies and newspapers are available on weekdays.
Aquatics classes for older adults are extremely popular.
Social activities are held regularly
The YMCA is currently developing an Intro to Fitness for Older Adults class to help those who want to learn some additional exercises and routines in the wellness center.
Katie Port, the Oil City YMCA Wellness Director, develops most of the programs with seniors and enjoys seeing so much interaction at the YMCA.
“We’re here for the mind, body and spirit,” said Port. “Often we think of people using the Y for the body, but it is very evident that the social and spiritual aspect is so important to older adults.”
For More Information
The Oil City YMCA hours are Monday through Friday 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Saturdays 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m, and Sundays 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (through the end of March)
(Article submitted by Michelle Murray, Marketing & Membership Director, Clarion County YMCA, Oil City YMCA, and YMCA Camp Coffman)
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