Seniors wishing to maintain their health may wonder if gyms offer free access to their facilities. We begin with a little sad news, followed by a lot of good news. The sad news is that none of the national gyms offer seniors free, unlimited gym access.
However, that does not mean that you are necessarily stuck on an expensive contract to use a gym near you! There may be other free or discounted options near you. Even if no local in-person options exist, seniors with internet access have a wealth of fitness resources at their fingertips.
Free Gym Options for Seniors Near Me
Here are some options you should research to see if any of them are available in your community:
A popular option is available from some Medicare Advantage programs or a Medicare Supplement plan (Medigap). Availability varies, and some insurance carriers that offer SilverSneakers have reduced their options. Confirm availability before signing up for a program if this option is important.
Seniors are welcome at YMCA branches and some may have programs for older visitors. Discounts vary by location, so check with your local branch.
3. Military Gyms
Retired veterans -- along with some civilian and contractor employees in the US Department of Defense --who live near military bases may use their Common Access Card to work out at gym facilities on these bases. Check with the local base for details.
4. Local Recreation Centers
Some communities offer free or reduced-cost classes at the local recreation center. Additional fees may be assessed for non-residents. Check your community's parks and recreation offices. Often, they will publish a catalog of fitness classes on their website, along with other classes in art and other topics.
5. Other Community Venues
Localities with senior citizen centers may offer free or reduced-cost classes.You may want to check for locations on the Area Agencies on Aging website. Another possibility is the public library. More than just books, some libraries have added yoga and other workout classes in their community rooms.
6. HOAs and Apartment Complexes
Some communities with homeowners' associations (HOAs) and many apartments or condominiums include onsite gyms. Membership is usually included in the HOA fees or rent you pay.
Free Online Exercise Programs for Seniors
In addition to the programs listed above, there are some wonderful online workout and exercise programs available. Many are offered through YouTube and allow you to perform structured exercises and workouts at the convenience of your own home, at your own pace.
Access to the programs listed on the sites below is free, as long as you have access to an internet-capable device on the internet where you live. Some content on certain websites may include additional services or options with fees or subscriptions, so please review carefully if any webpages ask for subscriptions or mention extra costs.
Before scrolling down and getting started, here are a few things to remember before starting any workout regimen with online videos on the web:
- 1Choose a Workout that Fits Your Capabilities: If you have not exercised lately, do not try to climb 10 flights of stairs in the first few minutes of your first workout. Select exercises that offer a healthy foundation rather than those that may require a doctor's visit. Operate within your own set of capabilities.
- 2Challenge Your Capabilities without Overdoing It: Be careful not to cross the tipping point. Build resistance by increasing your physical capacities in a way that avoids injury or exhaustion. Move forward slowly and safely.
- 3Remember Any Chronic Conditions or Medications: If you are currently on any medications or feel discomfort during some physical activity, please take these situations into account as you perform workouts in an unstructured environment.
- 4Keep a Phone Handy: If you are performing at-home exercises that may be strenuous while alone, be sure to have a phone or other device handy in case you suffer any pain or injury during a workout.
Here are five top online options, along with a few additional suggestions:
1. Improved Health
A great YouTube channel for people who want to try safe chair and standing exercises. Jules is a Recreation Therapist who has worked with people of all ages for more than a quarter century and has extensive experience in personal training. In addition to her YouTube Channel, she has an Improved Health for Seniors website with a blog and resources.
2. More Life Health
The More Life Health channel includes exercise videos to motivate seniors to work on their strength, balance, and movement. Mike, an exercise scientist and physiotherapist for seniors, tailors exercise activities in a way that helps participants build confidence and gain flexibility. In addition to this YouTube page, his More Life Health website offers a blog and other information.
Lauren brings her expertise as a certified fitness instructor who specializes in senior fitness to you on her SeniorShape YouTube channel. Her videos often feature short 10-minute classes that require no special equipment, as well as lighter chair yoga or stretching exercises.
4. Bob and Brad
With a combined 60-plus years of physical therapy experience, Bob and Brad have videos on their very popular YouTube channel for those aged from "0 to 101." Mixing in a little humor along the way, Bob and Brad often focus on exercises for older adults and share their experience by discussing helpful resources and offering product reviews.
5. Senior Fitness with Meredith
Meredith invites you to begin your fitness journey with her as she guides you through various exercises that focus on developing a positive mindset on her popular YouTube channel. She also has a website packed with helpful information so you can avoid overexertion and injury while creating a home gym that works for you.
Even More Options!
Seniors into dance fitness programs should watch the GoldeyFit YouTube channel. In addition to the many other helpful resources AARP offers, it maintains a series of health-related videos on its information-packed website. The very popular BeFit YouTube channel includes content from top fitness trainers such as Billy Blanks and Jane Fonda for those of all fitness levels.
Other Options and Closing Thoughts
In addition to local facilities and online classes, check out the parks and recreation trails where you live. Some offer exercise stations, safe places to walk or bike, or other workout options. Your peers are another valuable resource. Talk with other seniors about places they exercise. They may have connections or know of a local venue that meets your needs.