March 8, 2019

Walking Into a Healthier Lifestyle with SilverSneakers

Joyce Elrod

Joyce Elrod

After losing her husband of 47 years, Joyce Elrod felt a little lost herself. She had spent countless hours at the hospital with him before he passed away, and she was his constant caregiver for several years prior to his death. After his death, she gained some weight and became depressed.

Months after her husband’s death, Joyce started talking to some friends at church about the SilverSneakers program. She had received some notices in the mail about the UAMS program but had discarded the information. Then one of her friends advised Joyce that UAMS has wonderful water wellness and fitness center programs. After talking to UAMS staff members to learn more, Joyce decided to come to UAMS and check it out.

SilverSneakers is a program that helps older adults become more proactive about their health by encouraging physical activity. This program offers classes and fitness center memberships to help senior citizens have a healthier lifestyle.

The first class Joyce got involved in was a seated exercise class, and Joyce soon discovered that she wanted a greater challenge. So she started taking a standing exercise class and then moved on to more intense workouts, including Zumba and a cardio class. “The more I went to exercise classes, the more I wanted to go,” Joyce said. “I got the exercise bug.”

When Joyce started the program, she had a torn rotator cuff in her shoulder. Joyce was able to use therapy and exercise to regain full use in her shoulder. Using specific exercises and moves that zeroed in on her rotator cuff, Joyce regained arm movement. “It really has been a blessing that I found SilverSneakers,” she said.

Each class that she attends and each time she works out, Joyce checks in with the SilverSneakers program. She said that the staff has really helped her in the classes. “They are very informative. When we exercise, they tell us what muscle group we are working and how it benefits us. They also tell us what not to do. And if you don’t show up, they’ll call you.” She goes to the gym three times a week, works out on all the weight machines and walks a mile on the treadmill.

The SilverSneakers program not only helped Joyce’s shoulder but also helped her overall health, physically and emotionally. She was able to exercise and work her anxiety and depression out. She also lost the weight that she had gained. “I have improved my balance, strength and endurance. I lost 16 pounds and am keeping it off.”

The next time she went for a check-up, her doctor was extremely pleased and was able to lower her dosage for her blood pressure medicine.

The SilverSneakers program has helped Joyce change her life for the better. “I am a lot more outgoing than I used to be. I was a very shy and inward person. I now do volunteer work at the gift shop and volunteer in the gym and greet people,” she said. With all that the SilverSneakers gave to her, she is now able to give back. “Thanks to UAMS, I had SilverSneakers to pull me back into the land of the living.”