If you are 65 or older and have not received your SilverSneakers “magic” card in the mail, then you are missing out on this nation’s leading fitness program for active older adults.

The SilverSneakers program has been around a while, but is really sweeping through Alabama as more insurance companies offer packages that include the program. If you receive a SilverSneakers card in the mail, hang on to it as it allows you a free full membership to the YMCA of Calhoun County as well as 11,000 other fitness facilities in the U.S. If you travel you can probably find a participating location to attend classes.

SilverSneakers offers not only free memberships to 11,000 gyms across America at no cost to you, but it also offers five types of fitness classes: Classic, Circuit, Cardio Fit, Yoga and Silver Splash. All the classes are geared toward active older adults and include range-of-motion exercises to help make daily activities easier, as well as agility, balance, coordination, strength and flexibility exercises.

Rubber tubing, small balls, hand-held weights and chairs are used in several of the classes while working on joint-friendly functional type movements. The participants in the land-based classes can sit in a chair for the whole workout if needed. Each class lasts 45 minutes to an hour.

The YMCA of Calhoun County is the only facility in our area to offer SilverSneakers classes. The classes are mixed with men and women, from the very fit to those who have never done any type of formal exercise in their life. The YMCA classes also host speakers every month as well as bingo games and coffee socials with more to come. All levels can participate and once you attend you will see the great benefit for the body and the mind.

For more information, call the YMCA at 256-238-9622 (Anniston) or 256-832-9622 (Oxford).

Healthy insurance        

We’ve known for years that regular exercise can decrease health care costs and insurance companies are jumping on board. In Alabama, the insurance companies that offer SilverSneakers as a benefit are:

• AARP Medicare Complete by United Healthcare

• AARP Medicare Supplement

• Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Advantage PPO and BC/BS C Plus Medicare Select

• Humana Medicare Advantage and Medical Supplement.

These companies are subject to change, so contact your insurance company to find out if you have the SilverSneakers benefit.