Healthways SilverSneakers(R) Fitness Announces 2015 Richard L. Swanson Inspiration Award Winner

CHANDLER, Ariz., Sept. 1, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Healthways (NASDAQ:HWAY) SilverSneakers® Fitness is pleased to announce that Dallas resident, Willie Washington, has been selected as the national winner for the 2015 Richard L. Swanson Inspiration Award for his dedication to well-being and fitness.

When Hurricane Katrina forced Washington and his wife to relocate to Texas, he was unable to pursue his active passions for gardening and home improvements from their new apartment. Washington, a UnitedHealthcare member, joined SilverSneakers through 24 Hour Fitness® to get active again. The fitness program served as a powerful support system for him when he was diagnosed with cancer. Throughout his treatment, Washington continued to attend classes with joy and enthusiasm. He even came up with his own motivational slogan: SAFE (Stay Active and Fit Every Day). His motivation extends to his fellow classmates and participants, as his cheerful, friendly and caring attitude is contagious to all around him. In his 80's, Washington is undeniably one of the strongest and healthiest individuals in his classes.

SilverSneakers used Facebook voting to select the national award winner, asking the public to vote for their favorite inspiring story. Washington and nine other SilverSneakers members were selected as finalists and their stories shared on the SilverSneakers Facebook page. Receiving over one-third of the more than 11,000 Facebook votes, Washington's great story of dedication won over the nation.

"Willie's story is a great example of the overall well-being transformations – including social and physical – that occur as a result of our SilverSneakers programming each and every day," said Joy Powell, Senior Solutions Division president at Healthways. "The program not only served as a way for Willie to meet new people and get active again, but was also a needed source of support and physical strength. His dedication to his well-being is inspiring to those around him, the entire SilverSneakers community and those who read his story through the Swanson Award."

The Richard L. Swanson Inspiration Award honors a SilverSneakers member with great dedication to fitness and overall well-being, while making health improvements in their own life and inspiring others. The Swanson Award was created by SilverSneakers founder, Mary Swanson, whose father served as the inspiration for the nationally acclaimed fitness program.

Based on years of proven science and outcomes, SilverSneakers Fitness increases physical activity in older adults, resulting in higher well-being and lower healthcare costs. The SilverSneakers Fitness program engages participants in active behavior change by providing access to more than 13,000 fitness and wellness facilities nationwide. Members can take advantage of facility amenities, specialized group exercise classes taught by instructors trained specifically in senior fitness, and the SilverSneakers FLEX™ network, which includes classes and activities at parks, recreation centers and other local venues.

More than 12 million people are eligible for the SilverSneakers Fitness benefit through the nation's leading Medicare Advantage health plans, Medicare Supplement carriers and group retiree plans. To find out if you are eligible for SilverSneakers and for more information about the Swanson Award, visit

About Healthways

Healthways is the largest independent global provider of well-being improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier world one person at a time, the Company uses the science of behavior change to produce and measure positive change in well-being for our customers, which include employers, integrated health systems, hospitals, physicians, health plans, communities and government entities. We provide highly specific and personalized support for each individual and their team of experts to optimize each participant's health and productivity and to reduce health-related costs. Results are achieved by addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of everyone in a given population. The Company has scaled its proprietary technology infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30 years and now serves approximately 68 million people on four continents. Learn more at

CONTACT: Margie Wojciechowski Healthways (480) 444-5332

Source:Healthways, Inc