Silver Sneakers coming to Prairie Township


By Amanda Amsel
Staff Writer

Silver Sneakers is officially coming to the area, according to Prairie Township Community Center Director James Gant.

At a recent board meeting, the trustees approved the contract allowing the township’s new community center to be a Silver Sneakers approved fitness center location.

“It has been a long process, but we’re finally here,” Gant said. “We should be able to accept Silver Sneakers memberships in the next two months.”

Silver Sneakers is a program within select insurance companies that provides free gym memberships to senior citizens. According to Silver Sneakers’ website, more than 65 Medicare health plans offer this program as part of their insurance plans.

“If the insurance company has this program, they will give you a free membership to any gym on their preapproved list,” said Keith Farrell, director for the Prairie Township Senior Center.

“Some of the insurance companies who currently offer this include MediGold and Humana.”

At each trustees meeting since construction on the new center began, Gant has been asked about when the center will become a Silver Sneakers approved location. After several contract negotiations, Gant was finally able to deliver the news to inquiring seniors.

According to Gant, Silver Sneakers pays the township for its membership to the center. However, in order for Silver Sneakers to fork over the cash, the center had to go through an approval process. The final step in this approval process will be an inspection of the center by Silver Sneakers staff and the development of fitness classes that target those 65 and older.

“We have to offer age appropriate classes and train our fitness instructors on working with adults 65 and over,” Gant said. “We’re hoping some of the classes we currently have will count toward Silver Sneakers classes, but we may have to develop a few new classes too.”

Some of the classes other Silver Sneakers locations currently offer members are chair exercise, strength training and bicycling classes.

According to Gant, there is a large population of seniors in the area, many of which would enjoy traveling a shorter distance to workout.

“Silver Sneakers said that within a five mile radius of the center, there are 8,000 people in a Silver Sneakers Program,” he said. “Silver Sneakers will reach out to these members and tell them about this new location.”

Silver Sneakers members can attend as many gyms as they would like, according to Gant.

“Currently I have several members that use this program to get free memberships to area gyms like the YMCA and Victory Fitness Center,” Farrell said. “However, I think it would be easier for them to have a free membership at the new center because it will be a lot closer to them. Plus it is brand new, so seniors will be more inclined to go there.”

Gant said it is really a winning situation for area seniors.

“This is a great opportunity to get a free membership to a state-of-the-art center,” Gant said. “They can come workout, learn new skills, take some classes and get fit.”

To learn more about Silver Sneakers and the Prairie Township Community Center, visit

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