Yuma, Arizona (NAPSI) - For optimal health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that older adults get a minimum of two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every week.

In addition, muscle-strengthening activities should be conducted two or more days a week.

Why Exercise

Exercise can help prevent many physical problems and chronic conditions that come with aging, including weight gain, back pain and heart disease. Plus, it keeps the mind sharp and can help you feel happier, improving symptoms of depression and even dementia.

To gain these benefits, however, you need to find a fitness program that provides the physical results desired and is enjoyable, too, so you’ll stick to it. That’s where the nation’s leading exercise program for older adults comes in. Healthways SilverSneakers Fitness Program offers physical and group activities in a comprehensive program that provides full access to a health club, senior fitness classes, online resources, and social experiences.

“SilverSneakers incorporates a number of interactive and educational events into our programs because improving overall well-being includes focusing on both physical and emotional well-being,” said certified personal trainer Sims McMahon. “These events help to create a sense of community and increase the feeling of belonging many of our members hoped to find when joining the program.”

Research shows that participants enrolled in SilverSneakers for two years have fewer hospital admissions and significantly lower overall health care costs.

How To Exercise

Before you begin any exercise program, McMahon has the following tips:

1. See your doctor, especially if you have a chronic condition.

2. Start slowly. Begin by walking, say, for 10 minutes or so a day. As you gain energy and your body builds stamina, increase your activity levels and make it more challenging.

3. Stay motivated. Have realistic short-term goals you can easily meet.

4. Don’t be intimidated. Remember that everyone had to walk in the door for the first time. Don’t let the thought of starting hold you back. You can do it.

Where To Exercise

To make it all easier, Healthways SilverSneakers Fitness Program is available in 11,000 fitness centers nationwide. It’s free in most cases because it’s covered through many Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement and group retiree plans.

The classes are taught by credentialed instructors and focus on older adult-specific programming. An online program provides a number of resources, including healthy-living articles and recipes.

Members can also get exercise and nutrition plans and expert advice.

How To Learn More

To find out more information, including nearby locations, visit www.silversneakers.com/info or call (888) 423-4632.