Friday, Feb. 08, 2013
Silver Sneakers draws new crowd to community center
Harrisonville P&R partners with national fitness program for older adults
By Bethany Bashioum
Older adults, put on your warm-ups and lace up your sneakers.
Many senior-aged residents are taking advantage of a new fitness and membership program at the Harrisonville Community Center being offered at no cost.
The community center recently partnered with Healthways, a national provider of specialized comprehensive health and care support to help people maintain or improve their health and reduce overall healthcare costs, to offer local residents the opportunity to use gym facilities as part of a nationwide “Silver Sneakers” program.
John Forbis, the Business and Fitness Services Manager for Harrisonville Parks and Recreation, said 292 older adults have already signed up for the program through the Harrisonville Community Center since its launch Jan. 2.
Healthways’ programs, such as Silver Sneakers, are designed to help individuals maintain good health, reduce risk factors for certain diseases and conditions and promote the best possible health for those already affected by disease.
In communication with the facilities’ Healthways’ representative, Forbis was recently told that Harrisonville experienced the highest initial sign-up participation rate across the United States.
“292 people in 31 days is pretty awesome,” Forbis said.
Forbis credited the center’s partnership with the Cass County Council on Aging as part of the reason for the large draw of new participants.
There is no cost to sign up for Silver Sneakers, but interested individuals must be Medicare-eligible and be covered under a participating health care insurance provider. After verifying coverage with their insurance, qualified individuals will need to fill out paperwork, including a membership application, at the community center.
In return, Silver Sneakers participants receive a full membership to the community center, and the option to participate in group muscular strength and range of motion exercise class, at no costs.
The Harrisonville Community Center’s participation in the program isn’t limited to Harrisonville residents, and is also assisting eligible Silver Sneaker participants who are already existing patrons to the facility to receive a prorated refund for their gym memberships.
The strength and range of motion courses are offered during the gym’s rotating six-week class schedule. The current class, which meets 8:30-9:15 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, has 16 individuals enrolled.
The class is designed to increase muscular strength, endurance, range of movement, flexibility, balance, agility and coordination.
“The feedback that we’ve gotten is that ‘I feel better when I’m done,’” said Forbis, of the new Silver Sneaker members.
Once an individual becomes a Silver Sneakers participant, he or she can also use any gym or community recreation center that also participates in the program without any cost.
“If you’re a Silver Sneaker member here, you can actually travel to Florida and if you find a facility that participates in the Silver Sneaker program, you can use that facility free of charge, too,” Forbis said.
Within Cass County, Anytime Fitness in Pleasant Hill, Southside Fitness and Anytime Fitness in Raymore, and High Blue Wellness Center in Belton also participate in the Silver Sneaker program.
“It’s been said, the more active that you are in your life, the longer and healthier you will live,” Forbis said. “What we really strive to do here is get everyone involved - seniors, the younger generation, and middle of the road people. We try to provide a wide variety of services to participate in.”
For more information about Silver Sneakers program in Harrisonville, individuals should contact Forbis at 816-380-8986.