Life Time Fitness
But with so many fitness facilities to choose from, you might be wondering how to find the best gym for your needs.
The good news? We’ve done some of the research for you. To help you get started, we’ve included gyms with multiple locations across the country.
However, you may find a local fitness facility with excellent senior programs worth checking out. In that case, read through the section on choosing a gym for seniors and tips for visiting a gym before making a decision.
With that being said, here are our top picks for the best gym for seniors.
Best Gyms for Seniors
- Comprehensive programs
- Many amenities
Best Overall: YMCA
Why we chose it: The YMCA has something for everyone, especially older adults. From fitness classes and exercise equipment to community programs and social hours, the YMCA is our pick for the best gym for seniors.
Standout features: Comprehensive senior fitness programs, friendly atmosphere, nationwide locations, multiple staff members during operating hours
Starting price for single membership: $45/month and up, varies by location; $75 and up joining fee
- Many locations have a pool, sauna, basketball court, pickleball, and more
- Comprehensive senior exercise programs and classes
- Friendly atmosphere and helpful staff
- Senior-only areas and hours in some facilities
- Family-oriented facility may not be the right fit for seniors who want an adult-only gym
- Senior discounts and pricing varies by location
- May be too large for seniors looking for a smaller facility
Whether you want to walk the indoor track, take a few laps in the pool, or participate in a senior-friendly exercise program, the YMCA has all your fitness needs covered. The YMCA provides a friendly atmosphere with a focus on healthy living. In addition to cardio machines like treadmills, ellipticals, and recumbent bikes, the YMCA also has an extensive lineup of strength training equipment, free weights, and functional fitness tools.
For older adults, the YMCA offers exercise classes such as yoga for seniors, chair aerobics, blood pressure monitoring, engaging social activities, water aerobics, and balance activities. Signature activities include EnhanceFitness, an arthritis management program that incorporates simple moves to help you stay active, and Moving For Better Balance, a 12-week program based on the principles of Tai Chi designed especially for fall prevention.
Another reason the YMCA is so great for seniors is the number of staff in the facility. All locations have multiple staff members present throughout the gym during operating hours, including the front desk, cardio and weight equipment areas, pool, custodial, court sports areas, and general staff who are accessible for any member questions.
In addition, several YMCA locations offer senior pricing or partner with health insurance plans, or offer Medicare-eligible members senior discounts. You need to contact your local facility to find out if you qualify. Finally, the YMCA does not require you to sign a long-term contract. You can cancel your membership at any time.
Best for Budget
- Very inclusive
- Variety of classes
- 400+ locations in US
Best for Budget: Crunch Fitness
Why we chose it: Crunch Fitness has different membership levels to accommodate any budget. Take advantage of the budget-priced base membership or upgrade to a Peak or Peak Results plan for added amenities.
Standout features: Three membership levels, low monthly fee, group fitness classes, user-friendly app
Starting price for single membership: $9.99-$29.99/month and up, $49 joining fee, $49 annual fee
- Multiple membership levels to accommodate budget and needs
- Multiple locations nationwide
- Free Crunch App included with membership
- Signature locations offer more amenities
- Most locations have basic amenities only
- Charges an annual fee
- Not all facilities offer senior exercise classes
How does $10 per month sound for a gym membership? Crunch Fitness offers a tiered membership system with prices starting at $9.99 per month, making it affordable for almost everyone. And you can upgrade anytime to take advantage of the benefits of a Peak Results membership.
The entry-level monthly membership gives you access to cardio equipment, weight machines, free weights, and training areas. But if you want to take classes and use extras like tanning, massage table, or bringing a guest for free, you’ll need to bump up to a more expensive membership. That said, the top level is still very affordable, starting at $29.99 per month. Plus, you can choose from a month-to-month payment plan or sign a contract to qualify for the lowest monthly rate.
Crunch Fitness does not have a designated senior program, but individual locations may offer classes and personal training sessions designed for older adults. Plus, if you live near one of the 34 Signature locations, you will have access to all of the essentials like cardio and strength machines, plus classes, dedicated group fitness studios, saunas, steam rooms, and more.
Life Time Fitness
Best Premium Amenities
- Premium amenities
- On-demand classes
- Kids classes
Best Premium Amenities: Life Time Fitness
Why we chose it: Life Time is a high-end fitness facility with premium amenities like swimming pools, spas, restaurants, steam rooms, saunas, whirlpools, and more.
Standout features: Premium cardio and strength equipment, functional training areas, swimming pool, spa, rockwall, tennis, pickleball, squash
Starting price for single membership: $79-$200+/month varies by location and amenities; joining fee varies by location
- Extensive amenities, features, and programming
- 65+ discounted membership options
- Features ARORA, a commodity for older adults within Life Time
- Memberships are pricier than other gyms
- Locations are not nationwide
- Signature membership required to access all amenities
When it comes to luxury and amenities, it doesn't get much better than Life Time. Designed as an athletic country club, Life Time offers members large-scale fasciitis packed full of premium cardio machines, strength training equipment, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, basketball courts, racquetball, pickleball, squash, spas, indoor tracks, and a wide range of fitness classes. That said, you will pay a premium price for this gym. However, if it fits your budget, Life Time is worth considering.
In addition to senior-specific fitness classes, workouts, and sports, Life Time has a specially-designed senior program called ARORA, which features workshops, social hours, coffee club, and other ways for older adults to connect with other members. Plus, they have discounted membership options for older adults ages 65 and over.
More specifically, they accept many different Medicare fitness benefit plans such as Renew Active, One Pass, Silver&Fit, SilverSneakers, and Peerfit Move. Membership levels, types, amenities, services, programs, and their associated dues, pricing, fees, and/or charges may vary by location.
Best to Bring a Guest
- Great guest pass program
- Many open 24/7
Best to Bring a Guest: Planet Fitness
Why we chose it: Planet Fitness offers a free guest pass with each visit for members with a PF Black Card plan.
Standout features: Free guest pass with participating plan, budget-friendly monthly fees, extensive cardio equipment, many locations open 24/7, may accept SilverSneakers benefits
Starting price for single membership: $10-$24.99/month +$1-$49 joining fee (varies by location and special offers); $39 annual fee
- PF Black Card membership comes with free guest pass with each visit
- Affordable memberships
- Multiple locations nationwide
- Many facilities open 24/7
- No group exercise classes
- Lacks senior-only areas and programming
- Charges an annual fee
Want to get fit with a friend, family member, or partner, then consider Planet Fitness. While many gyms have couples pricing, Planet Fitness takes this perk one step further with a complimentary guest pass. The PF Black Card membership allows you to bring one guest each time you visit the gym. What’s more, this membership is still very affordable, with an average cost of $25 per month. But if the guest pass is not a priority, consider the Classic membership, which starts at around $10 per month. In addition to budget prices and free guest passes, we also like the company’s Judgement Free Zone mission which strives to provide a comfortable, relaxed, and inclusive environment for all members.
Overall, Planet Fitness is a better fit for seniors who have some experience with gyms and require minimal help from staff. There is a variety of high-quality cardio equipment suitable for older adults, such as treadmills, recumbent bikes, and ellipticals. Plus, most gyms feature a circuit-style format that allows members to move through a full-body workout using resistance machines. Additionally, some locations honor SilverSneakers benefits, lowering the cost of your monthly membership.
One downside of Planet Fitness is they do not offer a traditional group fitness class format or specialized senior programs. Instead, they have small group training programs and fitness trainers to customize an exercise plan for your needs.
Best for Basics
- Open 24/7, 365 days a year
- Very accessible
Best for Basics: Snap Fitness
Why we chose it: Snap Fitness facilities feature a simple layout with basic equipment designed to target beginners and seniors looking for overall strength and cardiovascular workouts.
Standout features: Small space ideal for limited mobility, beginner-friendly equipment, laid-back environment, circuit-style layout, always open
Starting price for single membership: $36.95/month + $49 joining fee + $20 card fee
- Open 24/7, 365 days a year
- Multiple locations nationwide
- Simple floor plan and minimal equipment
- Focus on lighter weights and cardio machines for older adults
- Only staffed certain hours of the day
- Most locations have basic amenities only
- Limited space between equipment may be a challenge for some people
Snap Fitness is worth checking out if you’re looking for a simple gym experience. Designed for beginners and people who want a no-fuss workout, this 24/7 facility has a welcoming environment that allows older adults to feel at ease while working out.
We like the simple layout that consists of cardio machines, strength training equipment, and free weights. Like other gyms, Snap Fitness organizes the resistance equipment in a circuit style, allowing members to move through a workout targeting all major muscle groups. You won’t get a ton of extras, but this gym is a great choice if you want a small space with just the basics.
Because it is 24/7, there are times when a gym is not staffed. This is something to be aware of if you feel more comfortable having access to a team member or have concerns about working out without staff present. Also, most Snap Fitness gyms don’t have a dedicated senior workout program, but some offer small group training that can be customized to target the needs of older adults.
You’ll need to contact your local facility to ask about contract terms. Minimum terms and cancellation policies are at the discretion of the individual Snap Fitness club. Most locations offer month-to-month and prepaid membership options.
Best for 24/7 Access
- Open 24/7, 365 days a year
- Personal trainers
- 2,300 locaitons in US
Best for 24/7 Access: Anytime Fitness
Why we chose it: Anytime Fitness offers members 24/7 access to thousands of locations nationwide, making it an excellent choice for seniors who travel or want to use a gym on their time.
Standout features: Open 24/7, friendly atmosphere, small group training, may accept SilverSneakers benefits, large cardio equipment area
Starting price for single membership: $41/month and up, varies by location; joining fee at some locations
- Open 24/7, 365 days a year
- Multiple facilities nationwide
- Some locations offer a senior discount
- 7-day free trial
- Only staffed certain hours of the day
- Large group classes only available at certain locations
- Minimal amenities
Convenience and access to thousands of locations is why Anytime Fitness is a top pick for the best gyms for seniors. With over 4,700 gyms across the globe, this no-fuss fitness facility is an excellent choice for older adults who travel and want to maintain a fitness routine while away from home.
Anytime Fitness has a large selection of high-quality cardio equipment suitable for older adults, such as treadmills, recumbent bikes, rowing machines, and ellipticals. They also feature a circuit-style format that allows members to move through a full-body workout using resistance machines and plenty of free weights, kettlebells, and cable machines. Additionally, some locations honor SilverSneakers benefits, lowering the cost of your monthly membership.
One downside of Anytime Fitness is not all locations have large group fitness classes and senior programs. Instead, they offer one-on-one personal training, small group training with two to four people, and team workouts with five or more people to provide accountability and an energy-filled atmosphere that keeps you motivated.
Anytime Fitness is a mid-priced gym, with monthly fees averaging $41 (before any location-specific senior discounts), but you may need to sign a contract to lock in a special price. Some gyms offer 6, 12, and 18-month options, but you’ll need to check with your local Anytime Fitness to learn about the different membership plans available.
|Gym||Senior Starting Price**||Senior Classes||Personal Trainers||Guest Passes||Typical Hours|
|YMCA||$45/month + $75 joining fee||Yes||Yes||Yes||5am-10pm weekdays, 7am-6pm weekends|
|Crunch Fitness||$9.99-$29.99/month + $49 joining fee||Yes||Yes||Yes||5am-11pm weekdays, 7am-7pm weekends|
|Life Time Fitness||$79-$200+ /month + joining fee||Yes||Yes||Yes||5am-10pm weekdays, 6am-7pm weekends|
|Planet Fitness||$10-$24.99/ month + joining fee||No||Yes||Yes||Varies by location, some are 24 hours, always open|
|Snap Fitness||$36.95/month + $49 joining fee + $20 card fee||Yes||Yes||Yes||24 hours, always open|
|Anytime Fitness||$41/month + joining fee at some locations||No||Yes||Yes||24 hours, always open|
**The starting prices listed above reflect individual memberships. If the gym offers a senior price, we listed that price. Some health insurance plans partner with fitness facilities to offer members a lower monthly fee or a no-cost membership through programs like SilverSneakers (more on that below). It’s worth checking with your insurance provider and asking the gym staff if you qualify.
Benefits of a Gym Membership for Seniors
Participating in a regular exercise program can benefit both your mind and body. According to the National Institute of Aging (NIA), regular exercise contributes to independence and improves daily functions. More specifically, staying physically active allows you to keep doing what you enjoy. The NIA recommends incorporating the following four types of exercise into your overall routine for maximum health benefits.
- Endurance: Improving endurance will make it easier for you to do everyday activities like walking farther without getting out of breath quickly. Cardio exercises like swimming, biking, and walking help improve your heart, lungs, and circulatory system.
- Strength: Strength training exercises like using hand weights, resistance bands, and machines improve muscle strength and make everyday activities like climbing stairs, getting up from a seated position, and lifting groceries easier.
- Balance: If you’re feeling unsteady on your feet, you can improve your balance with balance exercises to improve walking on uneven surfaces and avoid falls.
- Flexibility: Flexibility exercises allow you to become more limber, improve your range of motion, and increase freedom of movement. This includes activities like yoga or gentle stretching.
The NIA also stresses the importance of physical activities like walking, biking, dancing, yoga, and Tai Chi to help reduce feelings of depression and stress, enhance mood and overall emotional well-being, increase energy level, and improve sleep.
But just how much time do you need to commit to reap these benefits? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults aged 65 and over need at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity like walking or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity like running. They also need at least two days a week of strength training exercises and three days a week of activities to improve balance.
How to Choose a Gym for Seniors
If you’re ready to get serious about working out, you might be wondering how to choose a gym that meets your needs. While finding a senior-friendly gym is ideal, not everyone has access to facilities that offer senior programming. That said, having some criteria to help narrow your search can make the process less intimidating and allow you to find the right fit. Here are some things to consider when looking for the best gym for seniors.
- Senior discounts: Before signing on the dotted line, ask about senior discounts. Some gyms offer a discounted monthly rate for people over 65, while others partner with health insurance plans and other senior programs to provide affordable senior gym memberships. If you have a Medicare Advantage Or Medigap plan, you may be eligible for SilverSneakers, a health and fitness program designed for adults 65+ that offers no-cost gym memberships for older adults at participating fitness locations. You also get access to online senior fitness classes, the SilverSneakers app, and a supportive community.
- Senior classes and programs: Specialized programs and classes for older adults often include balance, stability, flexibility, strength training, and low-impact cardio moves designed with seniors in mind. These classes are often taught by instructors who have experience working with older adults. Some gyms also provide social opportunities and small group training tailored to seniors.
- Contract requirements: Most gyms offer a month-to-month membership that allows you to cancel without penalty or a contract that may come with lower monthly fees but requires a time commitment. For example, to lock in the lowest rate, you may need to sign a 12-month contract, requiring you to pay each month until the time period is up. If you’re unsure about a gym or are not a fan of long-term commitments, ask about month-to-month pricing. You may pay a few dollars more each month, but you’ll have the option to cancel without a penalty.
- Personal trainers: Personal trainers are certified professionals who customize a workout for your needs. They also teach you how to safely perform various movements and take you through each session, providing guidance and motivation along the way. A personal trainer is often an extra expense beyond your monthly dues, with the average cost ranging from $40 to over $100 per hour.
- Equipment and amenities: At a minimum, the best gym for seniors has plenty of cardio machines such as treadmills, ellipticals, recumbent bikes, and rowing machines. They also have resistance equipment, free weights, and stretching areas. Beyond the basics, amenities like a swimming pool, sports courts, specialized classes, indoor tracks, and spa services are also features to consider.
- Hours: If you want access to a gym at all hours, consider a 24/7 facility. These gyms are staffed during certain hours of the day but remain open for use all the time. Members use a special key card to get in when no one is on duty. That said, working out without a staff member present may not be ideal if you have a medical condition or like to ask for help while exercising.
- Guest passes: Some gyms have memberships that come with complimentary guest passes, so you can bring a guest each time you enter the facility, while others offer guest passes, but for a fee.
- Social opportunities: The benefits of exercise go well beyond your physical health. Ask about opportunities to connect with other seniors through classes, workshops, and social gatherings.
Tips for Visiting a Gym as a Senior
Whether you’re new to working out at a fitness facility or just looking for ideas to improve your routine, having a checklist can help you stay safe and get the most out of your gym time. Here are some tips to consider before you visit the gym.
- Prep for your visit. Your first order of business is to get the go-ahead from your doctor to exercise. Make sure to ask any questions regarding health or medical conditions that may be contradictory to specific activities.
- Learn how to use the equipment. The next step is to make an appointment with a trainer to get acquainted with the equipment and learn how to perform specific exercises. Once you’re ready to go it alone, ask for a sample workout plan that details the number of sets, repetitions, and adjustments for each piece of equipment.
- Get the right gear. Properly fitting shoes is a non-negotiable for the gym. Consider seeing a shoe expert or podiatrist for advice on the best style for your needs. Look for shoes with good traction and support. Wear loose-fitting clothing that breathes and is comfortable. And don’t forget to layer when the temperatures dip to freezing. The right gear also includes assistive devices like walkers, canes, or wheelchairs. All gyms should accommodate these devices and encourage you to use them while exercising.
- Fuel your body. Eating and hydrating before you head to the gym is critical. It’s also a good idea to bring water with you to sip on while working out. If you have a medical condition that requires access to quick carbs to avoid a dip in blood sugar, make sure to have a small snack in your bag.
- Announce your plans. Tell your spouse, partner, or another family member that you’re going to the gym, especially if you plan to go alone. Consider sending a text when you arrive and then again before you leave.
- Bring a phone or medical alert device. If you have a cellular phone, carry it on you, or place it in a gym bag or coat while working out. Some people wear a medical alert device or smartwatch that allows them to call for help in an emergency. Make sure it is charged and on your body before heading out. Certain machines like treadmills have a safety key you can attach to your clothing, allowing you to stop the machine in an emergency. Ask a staff member how to use this feature.
SilverSneakers and Medicare
SilverSneakers is a fitness and wellness program designed for adults ages 65 and up that provides access to 15,000+ participating gym facilities, exercise classes, community centers, and various wellness resources throughout the country.
The SilverSneakers program also includes a mobile app called SilverSneakers GO with live classes, an on-demand video library of workouts, and tracking tools you can use at home, on the go, or at the gym.
SilverSneakers signature workouts feature 45 to 60-minute classes ranging from cardio and circuit to Zumba, dance, yoga, and splash (water-based class).
If you have Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans, your health insurance may include a free SilverSneakers membership. In fact, it comes automatically with qualifying Medicare plans as a way to encourage seniors to stay active and engaged in their health. That said, SilverSneakers is not covered if you have the original Medicare Part A or Part B.
If a Medicare Advantage plan includes SilverSneakers, eligible members can sign up for the program and access participating fitness facilities without paying a separate gym membership fee.
The specific fitness centers and classes available may vary depending on the location and the participating facilities in the plan's network.
The Bottom Line
Finding the right gym may take some time and patience. You can start with our list of the best gyms for seniors or use the tips and tools for choosing a gym to embark on your own search.
Also, consider talking with your doctor before joining a gym or starting a new exercise program.
They may have ideas or recommendations to help you find the best fit for your needs.
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FAQs About Best Gyms for Seniors
What are the benefits of strength training for seniors, and how can they incorporate it into their gym routine?
Staying fit and active as we age benefits both our physical and mental health. A well-rounded fitness program should include cardiovascular activities, resistance training, and balance exercises.
Fitting in at least two days a week of strength training for all the major muscle groups can help manage chronic conditions like arthritis and heart disease, maintain muscle mass, boost bone health, and improve overall health-related quality of life. Regular resistance exercise improves balance, coordination, and mobility, all key concerns for older adults.
Beyond the physical benefits of strength training, regularly hitting the weights can also do wonders for your mood, including reducing depression and anxiety symptoms.
Many senior-focused resistance training classes provide a sense of community, accountability, and motivation, helping to alleviate some of the loneliness older adults can experience as they get older.
What are some effective low-impact cardio exercises suitable for seniors?
Low-impact cardio activities are a great option for seniors who want to stay fit and healthy without putting too much stress on their joints. Here are some effective low-impact cardio exercises to consider adding to your overall fitness plan.
- Upright bicycle
- Recumbent bicycle
- Elliptical machine
- Rowing machine
- Arm ergometer
- Water aerobics
- Chair aerobics
- Tai Chi
- Stair climbing
- Low-impact aerobic classes designed for seniors
How often should seniors aim to visit the gym for optimal health benefits?
Older adults should aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity such as walking or swimming, plus two days of activities that strengthen all the major muscle groups. You can use resistance bands, free weights, strength machines, or bodyweight exercises.
Activities that improve balance, such as balance-specific workouts or Tai Chi, are also beneficial to help keep your muscles strong, reduce the risk of falling, and allow you to continue with day-to-day living. Many senior fitness classes incorporate strength, cardio, and balance activities in one workout.
If possible, aim for daily activity. This may look like 15 to 30 minutes every day of the week, with two to three visits to the gym each week. If the gym is where you do the majority of your exercise, you may find that going five days a week works the best.
Just make sure to take a day or two off between strength training sessions to allow your muscles to recover. If possible, consider working with a certified personal trainer specializing in senior fitness or a physical therapist to help you design a program that fits your needs.
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