Using Your Silver&Fit Medicare Benefits to Stay Active
- Your Medicare plan may offer gym memberships and other fitness benefits through the Silver&Fit program. Learn how this initiative helps seniors stay active.
One of the keys to vibrant aging is regular physical activity. If you’re over the age of 65 and enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Supplement plan, you may have a Silver&Fit membership as part of your benefits, giving you a cost-effective way to reach your fitness goals.
What Is Silver&Fit?
Silver&Fit is a program that provides access to organized fitness classes, training equipment at gyms and DVDs to help seniors stay active and meet physical activity guidelines. It's similar in concept to Silver Sneakers.
The program is offered by some health insurance companies to eligible Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement beneficiaries.
If your health plan provides this benefit, you can register in the Silver&Fit program online and choose between one of two fitness options:
- A free or low-cost gym membership to a participating fitness center, or
- Exercise kits so you can work out in the comfort and privacy of your home
More than 14,000 gyms and fitness centers across the United States are Silver&Fit partners. These include:
- Full co-ed fitness centers offering group exercise classes specifically for older adults and equipment, such as treadmills, stationary bikes and weight or resistance training
- Basic co-ed fitness centers providing exercise equipment, such as treadmills, stationary bikes and weight or resistance training
- Gender-specific fitness centers so you can exercise in a gym with others of the same gender
- Exercise centers, such as community pools, yoga and Pilates studios and recreation centers
You can search for participating gyms and fitness centers on the Silver&Fit website. The amenities and classes available to members vary at each center and depend on what your particular health insurance plan covers. Some fees may apply.
Home Exercise Kits
Some older adults may be unable to get to a gym or prefer to exercise at home. Silver&Fit members who choose home exercise instead of a fitness club membership can order up to two home exercise kits each year.
These kits focus on different types of exercises such as tai chi, yoga, Pilates, dance and strength training. You can choose the activity that most appeals to you. The kits include a DVD, booklet and guide to help get you started and are usually shipped 10 days after you enroll in the program.
Activity Tracking, Online Classes and Other Features
Silver&Fit offers a range of other features to help make exercising fun and convenient.
- A mobile app to stream group exercise videos
- Online access to classes on healthy aging
- Activity tracking on your wearable fitness device (not included) to monitor your progress and motivate you to reach your goals
- Quarterly newsletter providing health and fitness tips and information
There are also free videos available on the Silver&Fit YouTube channel with instructor-led classes focused on low-impact cardio, yoga, body weight exercises, flexibility and balance.
How to Get Started
To take advantage of your Silver&Fit membership, register on the Silver&Fit website.
Once you've enrolled in the program, you can see which features are included as part of your health plan. You can browse participating fitness centers and decide between a gym membership and home exercise kit, and kickstart your journey towards healthy aging.
Why Physical Activity is Important for Older Adults
Exercise helps you remain healthy and independent. In fact, functional decline in seniors is more often caused by a sedentary lifestyle than growing old, according to the National Institute on Aging.
Staying active has many benefits. It strengthens your bones and muscles, helps you maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk of conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Adults over the age of 65 should aim to participate in:
- At least 150 minutes a week of moderate activity, such as a brisk walk
- At least 2 days a week of muscle-strengthening activities
- Balancing exercises, such as standing on one foot
While these are recommended physical activity guidelines, be as active as you’re able.