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Scott Depot woman earns senior citizen fitness award

Oct. 12, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Healthways SilverSneakers Fitness Program has named Georgiann Ash, of Scott Depot, as a 2013 Richard L. Swanson Inspiration Award finalist, honoring SilverSneakers members whose healthy behavior has made a difference in his or her own life while motivating others.

Ash, 78, a Humana member, began taking SilverSneakers classes five years ago and embraced the program, enjoying the physical health aspects as well as the social element. Ash attends five classes a week and since then has seen improved flexibility, endurance and balance, reduced stress and weight loss. The classes have given her energy and a positive outlook on life and health, which has inspired others around her.

"SilverSneakers is fun and energizing, and has allowed me to rebuild my physical and mental health," Ash said in a news release. "I have a lot to live for these days. I'm now better equipped to handle most anything coming down the pike."

SilverSneakers selected Ash and three others as Swanson Award finalists to be recognized along with the national winner. Founded by Mary Swanson, the award preserves the memory of her father, Richard L. Swanson, who also served as the inspiration for the nationally acclaimed fitness program.

"We received hundreds of nominations from across the country for the Richard L. Swanson Award that showed the positive impacts - social, emotional and physical - the SilverSneakers program has on our members," Joy Powell, Fitness Market president at Healthways, said in a news release. "Georgiann is a great example of how committing to a lifestyle that emphasizes fitness and well-being can inspire a person in such a positive and enduring way."

SilverSneakers honored Ash during an Active Aging Week and Swanson Award celebration on Sept. 25 at Tri-County YMCA.

"The award-winning SilverSneakers Fitness Program uses proven methodologies based upon more than 20 years of science and outcomes," according to the news release. "The SilverSneakers Fitness Program increases physical activity in older adults, resulting in higher well-being and lower health care costs. SilverSneakers engages participants in more frequent strength training, aerobic, and flexibility exercise through access to a variety of venues and programming designed specifically for older adults that incorporates social experiences."

SilverSneakers is available to over 10 million eligible members through many Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Supplement carriers and group retiree plans.

The SilverSneakers fitness center network offers convenient access to more than 11,000 participating fitness and wellness facilities nationwide.

Healthways will begin accepting nominations for the 2014 Richard L. Swanson Inspiration Award next spring. Learn more at www.silversneakers.com or www.healthways.com.