Silver Sneakers program helps seniors stay active

Various types of water aerobic classes are taught six days a week at Fitness First.

Fitness First is DeKalb Regional Medical Center’s full-service fitness club. The fitness center is located on the campus of the hospital.

Silver Sneakers is a fitness program honored by Fitness First and is a plan offered by some insurance companies. The plan is set up where the insurance company pays for the visits of those who qualify at no cost to the individual.

“This program allows some seniors to join who otherwise would not be able to afford to,” said Beverly Keel, director of Fitness First.

Potential users of Silver Sneakers should personally check with their insurance company to see if they offer Silver Sneakers. It is Medicare replacement plan that generally honors this program. “Once a person contacts their insurance company, the insurance companies who honor the program will give the individual a 16-digit number to bring to Fitness First,” Keel said. More information may be found at

For those who do not quality for the Silver Sneakers plan, a Healthy Circle membership is available through the hospital allowing for a reduced rate. Contact the number listed below for more information about Healthy Circle.

The club offers arthritis water classes three days per week, which allows for low impact stretching and a senior dance fitness class is offered twice weekly. All water aerobic and indoor aerobic and exercise classes are available to seniors as well.

The facility offers all of the usual exercise equipment like cardio equipment such as treadmills, elliptical, and stair-climbers. Also, recumbent, stationary, and spin bikes. Free weights and resistance machines. The Olympic-sized pool is open-air though the warmer months and enclosed in the cooler ones. All of the fitness instructors are Nationally Certified.

Also, for members who are looking for a more advanced workout, spin, body sculpting and strength classes are offered.

“The benefits are of course the physical ones of achieving better balance and improving physical health,” Keel said. “ Everyday chores can become challenging as we age. Something as simple as picking up a laundry basket full of clothes. These exercises help seniors to be independent for as long as possible. There are also the mental health benefits as the seniors interact with other members. Velma Brown is one of our instructors and she has always gone above and beyond by arranging activities outside the gym for even more socializing to benefit the members.”

The facility is open six days a week. Monday through Thursday from 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Friday from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00p.m.

Anyone may visit for a $10 daily fee. For more information contact Fitness First at 256-997-2800.

— Marla Ballard’s Spotlight on Business appears each Saturday.

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