Optimus Physical Therapy accepts SilverSneakers members

Optimus Physical Therapy Center of Jefferson City has been serving Jefferson County and the Lakeway Area for more than 30 years with the latest technology in physical therapy. Optimus Health Center is an outpatient physical therapy clinic, as well as a fitness center, that is open to the public.

The center provides patient centered, evidence based and various therapy techniques applied through many years of practice, providing the best possible results.

A big part of Optimus’ clientele are members of the “SilverSneakers” program.

Certified Instructor Johnny Carmichael serves between 24 and 26 senior citizens whose insurance coverage pays for “Silver Sneakers” benefits.

“We offer a yoga program, which is a class of total body strengthening, core and balance,” he said.

Yoga is offered Tuesdays at 1:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., and on Thursdays at 1:15 p.m.

An aquatics program is also offered on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Three classes are available at 8:15 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.

“A lot uses the aquatics program after they have had a knee replacement,” Carmichael said.

Carmichael has been with Optimus for 15 years and teaches each class.

“We usually have at least 12 to 15 people in each class, 24-36 people overall each week,” Carmichael said. “They must be on an insurance that can pay for silver sneakers services. Most of my crowd is ages 60 and above, who also use the gym.”

What is

SilverSneakers?

SilverSneakers is a fitness program that focuses on getting elderly people out of their homes, into the gym and into their community in order to improve “overall well-being, strength and social aspects” in seniors.

The program was started in the early 1990s by Mary Swanson, who dedicated her career and life to help elderly people address their health and get in shape. Now, millions of seniors are enrolled in the program.

By enrolling in Silver Sneakers, seniors get free access to the following:

• More than 15,000 gym locations across the country

• All the equipment in the gym

• Amenities like pools and courts at the center

• More than 70 styles of classes offered by SilverSneakers with certified instructors

• Online resources that include diet and fitness tips

In addition to fitness, SilverSneakers prides itself on creating a social environment for elderly people. According to a member survey, 88 percent felt they have a “better quality of life” since joining, more than 90 percent said their health was “good, very good, or excellent” at the time of the survey, and 75 percent said they’ve made friends because of the program.

SilverSneakers offers classes involving a range of amenities and activities with the goal of getting the elderly physically and mentally engaged. These classes include the following:

The Classic: This class aims to help seniors with routine activities of daily living, like getting in and out of chairs, and overall range of movement. It’s a low-intensity class.

Circuit: The circuit class focuses on seniors building upper body strength with weights and elastic bands. While the class is largely done standing up the whole time, chairs are available for support. This is a medium-intensity class.

CardioFit: This is like an aerobics class for seniors, and it focuses on intense cardio workouts for about an hour. The class also works on building upper body and core strength.

Yoga: This is a beginner’s level yoga class centered on standing and seated poses becoming the core of the class’s workouts.

This helps with your range of motion, stability, and balance. It’s a lower intensity class, but participants will still break a sweat.

Splash: Water aerobics. Classes are done in shallow water so people who can’t swim can take part in it. Splash class features cardio and light weightlifting exercises. The water can help take pressure off joints when maneuvering one’s legs, which can help build overall range of motion.

Stability Improvement: The class features workouts meant to build strength around knee and hip joints, arms, ankles, and the core, all of which help with stability. This is a lower intensity workout with many of the workouts being completed on or near a chair.

All of these classes last about 45 minutes to an hour.

SilverSneakers also has a round of classes called BOOM that focus on improving “strength, flexibility and endurance in convenient 30-minute workouts.”

While they’re shorter classes, they’re high intensity and are meant to get a lot of muscle-building and cardio done in a short amount of time.

The last type of class SilverSneakers offers is called a FLEX course. In these classes, seniors get out of the gym and head out into the community to perform workouts and activities.

SilverSneakers offers more 70 different types of FLEX classes, from yoga to leisure walks to boot camp. Classes are completed in parks, neighborhoods, beaches and other places.

Optimus Health Center is located at 102 East Commerce Court in Jefferson City, behind Bojangle’s and Pals.

Hours of operation are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Physical therapy hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, call 865-475-3101.