San Diego, California (NAPSI) - If you are an older adult, exercise is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health. According to the Centers for Disease Control, older adults should exercise for 150 minutes a week, with a good mix of cardio and strength training.

Unfortunately, many people don’t get enough exercise to keep them healthy and strong as they age. Not only does exercise help individuals stay healthy and reduce the risk of disability and disease, it has been proven to reduce the cost of care for individuals and their families.

The benefits of exercise have been realized by SilverSneakers Fitness members for more than 20 years. SilverSneakers Fitness is the nation’s leading fitness program designed for older adults and has helped thousands of people reach their health goals. For Priscilla Farrell, it was to walk on the beach with her granddaughter and to rely less on an oxygen tank. For George Jacobs, it was to step foot in a gym for the first time to improve his physical and social well-being. For Cecil Daniels, it was to overcome his diabetes and high blood pressure.

“SilverSneakers Fitness members like Priscilla, George and Cecil are not only changing their lives through fitness, they are leading a senior fitness revolution resulting in health improvements, higher quality of life and fulfillment at every age,” said Joy Powell, president of the Senior Solutions Division for Healthways. “Today’s active older adults are extremely dedicated to physical health through fitness, and they are more passionate and dedicated than any previous generation.”

Bringing this to life, the 2013 SilverSneakers Fitness Annual Member Survey of more than 35,000 respondents in 50 states revealed that SilverSneakers participants are seeking personalized fitness options in record numbers, with nearly 46 percent joining a fitness center for the first time as a result of their SilverSneakers membership.

While many are stepping foot in the gym for the first time, they are not doing it alone. Nearly 60 percent of SilverSneakers members participate in classes with a friend and 41 percent attend class to socialize, which can have a great impact on a person’s mental health and well-being.

The annual member survey also showed that today’s older adults are more active than ever before, with four out of five participants doing aerobic activity three or more times per week. Physical fitness is vital to overall health, as 60 percent of SilverSneakers participants rate their health as “excellent” or “very good,” in comparison to only 47 percent of peer respondents to Medicare’s annual Health Outcomes Survey.

SilverSneakers Fitness was founded in 1992 and today serves more than 11 million eligible members in more than 11,000 participating fitness and wellness facilities nationwide. For more information, to see if you are eligible for SilverSneakers and to find a class in your area, call 877-210-1307 or visit www.SilverSneakers.com.