KINGMAN - Finding the motivation to get off the sofa and hit the gym for a daily dose of exercise can be hard, but for some area seniors hitting the gym is not only good for the body but also easy on the wallet.
Silver Sneakers is a national program that partners with Medicare-linked health insurance companies to provide free gym memberships and exercise classes specifically tailored to older adults.
There are many gyms in Kingman that offer free gym memberships through the Silver Sneakers program, such as Kingman Regional Medical Center's Del E. Webb Wellness Center and Anytime Fitness. The Kingman Fitness and Racquet Club is the only gym that offers the Silver Sneakers exercise classes.
The classes provide seniors with a way to improve their health by using cardio, light weights and resistance bands to improve flexibility, endurance and strength.
"The objective is to just move," said Fay Pope, a two-time breast cancer survivor who has been coming to the classes at Kingman Fitness and Racquet Club for three-and-a-half years with her husband.
Pope started taking the classes after receiving a letter from her insurance company saying she qualified for the program.
"It really helped me recover after my treatments," she said.
The club offers classes at 7:30, 9 and 11 a.m. on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays and one class at 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The early morning classes offer a gentle pace that improves balance and flexibility. The 11 a.m. classes have a faster pace that includes more cardio and strength building exercises.
Each of the three instructors are certified and trained by the Silver Sneakers program in the exercises and CPR. They also have to take a recertification class once a year.
"My wife got a hold of me," said Ken Olson, another Silver Sneaker. "She started going to them and then she dragged me along and I got hooked."
The program has made it easier to manage his leukemia, he said.
"I still have those days when I wake up and think, 'do I really want to do this today?' But then I go and I end up feeling much better than I did when I woke up that morning," Olson said.
The program also supports the mental health of seniors by giving them the chance to socialize with others, especially those who live alone, said Janet Malin, one of three instructors at the club.
"For them it's the only social outlet they have," she said.
"We have fun. This is my social hour. I come in at 8:30 a.m. and stay until after noon some days," Pope said.
For more information on the Silver Sneaker program, visit, www.silversneakers.com or call Malin at (928) 757-1111.
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