The Medicare SilverSneakers program helps keep older adults healthy and cut by offering gym memberships and exercise classes. Find out if you qualify.

By Serah Gallo
Updated June 19, 2020

Key Takeaways:

  • The SilverSneakers programs offer a variety of benefits, including weight training, gym memberships, group exercise classes and aerobics.

  • SilverSneakers is offered through select Medicare Advantage plans as well as a limited number of Medigap Supplement plans.

  • To be eligible for the SilverSneakers Medicare program, you must (1) be Medicare-eligible, (2) be 65 years or older or (3) have enrolled in a Medigap or Medicare Advantage program that offers a SilverSneakers membership.

What is the Medicare SilverSneakers Program?

SilverSneakers is a program covered by many Medicare Advantage plans for those who are 65 and older. If you're looking to maintain health or reach a new level of fitness, this program is right for you. SilverSneakers is an excellent way for seniors to cut medical costs by staying active and healthy.

An extra exciting benefit to the program membership is that it includes SilverSneakers instructor-led group fitness classes. Some of these classes that include:

  • Cardio and strength classes, which often offer a chair for support

  • Water aerobics classes

  • Chair and standing yoga classes

  • Tai Chi

  • Boot camp classes

How Does the Silver Sneakers Program Work?

SilverSneakers is offered through select Medicare Advantage plans as well as a limited number of Medigap Supplement plans. You will need to review your specific plan's offerings to see if the program is included in your benefits. If it is included, you can immediately enroll in the SilverSneakers program at no additional cost.

When you sign up for a plan that offers SilverSneakers, you will receive a card with a SilverSneakers membership number. This number will grant immediate access to classes and programs available through the Medicare SilverSneakers program.

With over 16,000 locations throughout the nation, the SilverSneakers program works in partnership with participating locations, including the following:

  • Gyms

  • Community centers

  • Healthcare providers

  • Fitness centers

What are the Eligibility Requirements for SilverSneakers?

A few requirements to be eligible for the SilverSneakers Medicare Program include:

  • You are Medicare-eligible

  • You are 65 years or older

  • You have enrolled in a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage program that offers a SilverSneakers membership

You can check your eligibility by visiting the SilverSneakers website.

What are the Health Benefits of the SilverSneakers Program?

The SilverSneakers program provides a fun, safe environment for older adults to work out and meet new people. The program is specifically structured to help you keep your heart, brain, bones, muscles and joints healthy as you age. It is also designed to improve your overall quality of life and help with pain management, especially if you suffer from a chronic condition such as arthritis, diabetes, or osteoporosis.

What Classes Does the Medicare SilverSneakers Membership Cover?

The SilverSneakers program has many classes available at every level of physical activity.

SilverSneakers Classic

  • A low-intensity class

  • Run between 45–60 minutes

  • For building muscle strength and range of motion

  • During the class, a chair may be used to do seated exercises or for support during standing exercises.

SilverSneakers Circuit

  • Medium-intensity class

  • Run between 45–60 minutes

  • A low-impact choreography class combined with upper-body strength building using handheld weights, SilverSneakers ball and elastic stretch tubing

  • A chair can be used during this class for support while standing

SilverSneakers Cardio Fit

  • High-intensity class

  • Run between 45–60 minutes

  • Aerobics class meant for those with a more active lifestyle

  • Low-impact for building core strength, upper-body strength and cardio endurance

SilverSneakers Yoga

  • Low-intensity class

  • Runs between 45–60 minutes

  • Uses yoga poses to improve flexibility, range of motion and balance

  • Includes breathing techniques to reduce stress and improve relaxation

  • Chairs may be used during this class for seated yoga poses and for standing support

SilverSneakers EnerChi

  • Low-intensity class

  • Runs between 45–60 minutes

  • Slow-paced

  • Aimed at improving well-being through tai chi movements that are modified to be easy to learn

  • Great for focus, balance and strength

SilverSneakers Splash

  • Low-medium intensity class

  • Runs between 45–60 minutes

  • Exercises are done in shallow water using a splashboard

  • Great for resistance training and aerobic exercise

  • Easy on joints

WaterinMotion

  • SilverSneakers-approved class

  • Low-medium intensity class

  • Classes are around 55 minutes long

  • A high-calorie burning class with low joint impact

SilverSneakers Stability

  • Low-medium intensity classes

  • Runs between 45–60 minutes

  • Power and strength exercises that focus on knee, ankle and hip joints

  • Great for fall prevention

  • A chair can be used for support and balance

Boom Mind

  • SilverSneakers-approved class

  • Medium intensity

  • 30-minute class

  • Combination of pilates and yoga

  • This class improves confidence, strength and relaxation through the use of tranquil music and movements

  • Focuses on balance, lower-body strength and core-muscle building

Boom Move

  • SilverSneakers-approved class

  • High intensity

  • 30-minute class

  • A workout dance class to burn calories and build cardio endurance

Boom Muscle

  • SilverSneakers-approved class

  • High intensity

  • 30-minute class

  • Utilizes exercise blocks to focus on numerous groups of muscle

  • Great for building strength and toning muscle

SilverSneakers Go

  • App for at-home workouts

  • Provides exercise videos at varying intensity levels

SilverSneakers Flex

  • Community classes without the gym environment

  • Classes can be taken at community centers, churches and recreation centers, as well as outside

  • Typically smaller than a typical gym class

  • Offers a more personal experience with instructors

Some participating locations offer members even more class options than those listed. Just keep in mind that amenities vary by location and establishment.

Serah Gallo is a healthcare and finance writer with almost 10 years of professional writing experience.