Using the Silver Sneakers Program and Your Health Insurance Incentives to Improve Your Physical and Mental Health
How I became involved in the Silver Sneakers program
If you have read my previous Hubs, you know that I am a female in my late 70s and a retired teacher. I have really missed working in general and working with 'children' in particular. After retiring at 74, I began 'subbing' at a nearby school district in the areas of writing, language, special education, and computer technology. Like others, this school district usually contacted guest teachers via computer calling. We could also call the substitute line or use their website to learn about available assignments.
It was difficult and frustrating for me to wait for a morning call or to repeatedly initiate a phone call or computer inquiry myself. Early in September one year, I remembered seeing a blurb in a newsletter that our health insurance company participated in the Silver Sneakers program. On that particular morning, I was determined not to let others keep me off-balance. I started attending a nearby Curves facility in the early morning four or five days a week. I did call the 'sub line' before and after each session, however.
Opportunities and options are also available for all ages
- While the Silver Sneaker program is only available to seniors, many health insurance companies offer rewards and incentives to those managing their weight and/or involved in a health improvement program. These rewards and incentives can be in the form of reduced premiums, prepaid credit cards, gift cards, and others.
- Check the website of your health insurance provider to learn what is offered. If your provider has nothing listed, you can also call the toll-free number. Sometimes, the website has not 'caught up' with new promotions and services. Also, if the company has nothing at the time, mark on your calendar to check again in six months. Health insurance companies are competitive too.
- Companies sometimes change their group health insurance providers. Communicate with your employer's benefit representative in a respectful way that you and some of your co-workers (if they agree) that a health insurance company offering incentives and rewards would be welcomed.
Understanding your body
I became interested in a Health Rider when one was set up in the aisle of a mall near where I worked. I had knee issues when using our stationary bicycle and thought that the Health Rider would work for me so stopped by fairly often to try it out. I did purchase one and have had it for a number of years and use it five or six times each week. Watching an interesting episode of "The Closer" or other DVDs help relieve boredom. The one listed on eBay looks like mine.
Fitness centers and Curves
- Snap Fitness has a facility near where we live and the company participates in Silver Sneakers. The advantage to a program like this is that the facility is open 24/7, although during certain times no staff member is present. If there are health or safety concerns, consider taking a buddy or go when the center is supervised. Silver Sneakers does require an attendance commitment, however, which makes sense.
- Curves is a facility for women and also participates in Silver Sneakers. Their hours vary with the site and there always is a staff member present. The Silver Sneakers program at Curves also requires an attendance commitment.
- I am NOT recommending any specific facility. It just happens that there is a Curves and a Snap Fitness not far from my home. Check out programs near you. You will be more likely to attend regularly if you don't have to drive or walk far.
Physical disabilities can prevent or interfere with some exercises
I am no longer able to hike or take long walks but have found that walking on a treadmill is doable, resting my hands lightly on the sidebars. At both Curves and Snap Fitness, people with a variety of disabilities use the facilities ... not all of the stations, of course, but those they can use safely while, at the same time, providing exercise, strengthening of muscles, and even some social interaction.
Housework and outside chores are also a way to exercise and burn calories. Examples are shown below:
Calories burned in 30 minutes:
Doing laundry - 73
Bed making - 68
Cooking - 85
Washing the dishes - 78 (assume this is washing by hand)
Ironing - 78 (I love to iron!)
Dusting - 85 (I hate to dust as nothing remains dust free)
Sweeping - 112
Vacuuming - 119 (reading this one made me realize why vacuuming was tiring)
Scrubbing the floors - 129
Rearranging furniture - 204
Yard work - 170
Washing windows - 102
Gardening - 136
Mowing the lawn - 187
Raking - 146
Source of the above information: Wiki.answers.com
- The treadmill at the fitness center shows that I burn less than 90 calories in 20 minutes. Using the figures above, I burn more calories vacuuming or raking than walking 2.2 mph on the treadmill.
Calorie, fat, and carb intake
When my knees became an issue, I knew that gaining weight would not be wise. I purchased the 2008 edition of The Calorie King for reference purposes only as pouring over the information daily was not my plan. The information in the book was easy to refer to and find. I would recommend it for those wanting to maintain good eating habits.
I've written a couple of hubs about solving puzzles and playing board games to keep our hands busy in order to limit drinking and snacking too much. Board and card games also provide social interaction and help with memory and mind functions.
Just remember that each activity helps maintain a healthier life!!