Feeling fit as you age? Join the crowd - The Buffalo News
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Feeling fit as you age? Join the crowd

“Let’s move,” first lady Michelle Obama’s message to kids, doesn’t seem to be lost on older adults, either.

They are more active than ever and seeking fitness options in record numbers.

Nearly 46 percent of adults over 65 joined a fitness center for the first time, and 82 percent participate in aerobic activity – including cardio, circuit, yoga, step and spin – three or more times per week, according to recently released results of the 2013 survey of members of SilverSneakers, an exercise program founded in 1992 exclusively for older adults.

More than 35,000 people between the ages of 65 and 114 in all 50 states responded to the survey that measures participants’ fitness activities, health outcomes and health attitudes.

Results revealed a growing trend in fitness-conscious active adults achieving positive health outcomes, higher quality of life and fulfillment at every age. The survey also found a significant link between fitness and socialization, with nearly 41 percent of participants saying they attend class to socialize. In fact, nearly 60 percent of members participate in classes with a friend, suggesting the value of complete emotional and physical well-being to older adults.

But the exercise isn’t just making them feel good. About half said they saw an improvement in chronic disease conditions, ranging from high blood pressure and heart disease to stroke and diabetes. Participants noted a 59 percent improvement in arthritis pain, a 49 percent improvement in limb numbness and a 59 percent improvement in lower back pain.

More than 11 million people participate in SilverSneakers. If you are 65 or older and want to know if your health plan offers the program, go to silversneakers.com.

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