Chelsea couple get healthy, lower government debt

Published 2:19 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Larry and Nita McCrory excercise free with SilverSneakers. (Contributed)

By SHELBA NIVENS / Community Columnist

Nita McCrory said she didn’t realize she was so “out of balance” until she started taking an exercise class at the gym. “I thought I was more coordinated than I was, too,” she laughed.

Nita and husband, Larry, recently joined the SilverSneakers program at the YMCA Greystone Family Branch, which is free under their Medicare health plan.

Many Medicare health plans offer free SilverSneakers membership to their plans’ participants.

“And we can go to any gym in the country that has a SilverSneakers program,” Nita said.

Among the program’s benefits are conditioning classes, exercise equipment, pool, walking track, sauna and hot tub. All gym locations do not have all of these amenities, but those who do include them in the SilverSneakers program.

When the McCrorys first joined the program, a certified trainer worked with them to decide which exercise machines were best suited to their particular needs.

Since Larry has back and knee problems, his workouts include exercises designed specifically for these areas.

“Computers on the machines are programmed to keep up with everything you do,” he said, “and tell you what to do or where to go next.”

Another benefit for Larry — which Nita was quick to mention — he is losing weight through the program.

Nita said her legs were pretty strong, but she needed strength in her upper body, so this is one of the main things the trainer worked on with her.

Nita also attends the SilverSneakers exercise class three days a week. Many of these exercises are performed while sitting in a chair.

Some she finds especially helpful are those designed to improve hand and eye coordination, build stamina and improve balance, she said.

And her favorite part of the class? The last few minutes where the music changes to something soothing while participants sit in a uniform, relaxing position and Jan, class instructor, recites a scripture as the “thought to live by today.”

According to the SilverSneakers website, SilverSneakers is a fun, energizing program that helps older adults take greater control of their health by encouraging physical activity and offering social events.

The Greystone group recently shared a carry-in lunch and are planning a Christmas party.

Nita said she read somewhere that older healthy adults help lower the government debt by lowering Medicare bills.

She likes this idea, Nita said. She’d much rather spend three days in the gym than three days in a doctor’s office.

Shelba Nivens can be reached by email at