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The Silver&Fit(R) Exercise & Healthy Aging Program Offers Five "Anti-Aging" New Year's Resolutions for 2013

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SAN DIEGO, Jan. 4, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- It's the start of a new year and, for many, a chance for new beginnings. In fact, 45 percent of Americans make New Year's resolutions every year, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology in 2012. Renewing your goals or establishing new challenges is a great way to stay motivated and engaged in life.

Health goals are especially important for older adults. This year, think of your health goals as "anti-aging solutions," and you may be more inspired to achieve them.

To help you kick off 2013 in an "anti-aging" frame of mind, here are five New Year's resolutions from the Silver&Fit Exercise and Healthy Aging Program.

  1. Set daily exercise goals to prevent or delay chronic health issues.
    Regular physical activity can provide many "anti-aging" benefits. According to the National Institutes of Health, studies show that getting 30-45 minutes of moderate exercise daily can prevent or delay heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases, and can reduce the effects of arthritis, cardiovascular issues, balance problems and other chronic conditions.
  2. Join a fitness facility for exercise and social interaction.
    Joining a local fitness facility is a great way to start out the New Year. Most offer an array of classes where you can meet and socialize with others, while getting a great workout. Classes can include Zumba Gold®, yoga, Pilates or other group exercise classes. Most also offer weight training and cardio machines, and may also include swimming pools.
    And for Medicare beneficiaries, cost may not be a factor. Some Medicare Advantage plans offer programs like Silver&Fit to provide their enrollees with no-cost or low cost fitness facility memberships and exercise programs.
  3. Stop smoking.
    It's never too late to stop smoking. According the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people who stop smoking greatly reduce their chance for certain cancers, heart disease and premature death. Coronary heart disease risk is substantially reduced within 1 to 2 years of cessation; respiratory problems, such as coughing and shortness of breath, are reduced; and the rate of decline in lung function is slower among persons who quit smoking. Vow to start a stop-smoking program now, and take advantage of the many new methods that can help, including one-on-one counseling, nicotine replacement products like patches or gums or medications that make quitting easier.
  4. Eat whole foods instead of processed.
    Set a goal to make the majority of your diet whole, fresh foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts. These foods are packed with nutrients, like vitamins, minerals and fiber, that will help keep your heart healthy, can help to lower bad cholesterol, and can help you maintain a healthy weight. According to the CDC, diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases. Substitute whole foods for processed, packaged foods and you'll be on your way to a healthier you!
  5. Hit the books.
    Regardless of your age, evidence suggests that going back to school, or participating in other structured learning experiences such as learning a new language or how to play a musical instrument, or otherwise maintaining an intellectually stimulating lifestyle, can help boost or maintain cognitive skills. Learning is also associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in late life.

"Every year, programs like Silver&Fit help older adults get engaged in new fitness and learning activities that help them stay vital and healthy," said Silver&Fit Associate Vice President Brett Hanson. "In fact, according to a survey published in 2011 by American Specialty Health, the Silver&Fit population was both healthier and more physically active and fit compared to national benchmark data of similarly aged older adults."

In the survey of nearly 2,000 randomly selected Silver&Fit members, respondents reported that they were in better health than they had been the previous year, and they reported increased activity levels and reduced health care utilization. Also, a lower percentage of Silver&Fit members had difficulties with the activities of daily living compared to national benchmarks. For more information about whether your Medicare plan includes the Silver&Fit program, please contact your health plan or call 1-800-MEDICARE.

This year, invigorate your new year by making these five "anti-aging" New Year's resolutions. Challenge your spouse or friends to join you in making these changes and you can inspire and support each other as you strive for a healthier 2013.

About The Silver&Fit Exercise & Healthy Aging Program

The Silver&Fit program is an exercise and healthy aging program providing unique, evidence-based fitness and health education activities for Medicare beneficiaries and group retirees. As part of the Silver&Fit program, members have access to: no-cost or low-cost memberships at a comprehensive network of contracted fitness clubs and exercise centers; the Silver&Fit Home Fitness Program for those unable to participate at a fitness facility or who prefer to work out at home; SilverandFit.com , a website with a variety of health tools and resources specifically designed for older adults; The Silver Slate® quarterly newsletter; and a toll-free customer service hotline. Follow Silver&Fit on Twitter @SilverandFit, Instagram @SilverandFit, YouTube www.youtube.com/silverandfit, and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/SilverandFit.

The Silver&Fit program is a product of American Specialty Health Fitness, Inc., a subsidiary of American Specialty Health Incorporated (ASH).

The Silver&Fit logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=13048

About American Specialty Health Incorporated (ASH)

American Specialty Health Incorporated is a national health services organization that provides fitness and exercise programs, population health solutions and specialty health care programs for health plans, insurance carriers, employer groups and trust funds. Headquartered in San Diego, with offices in Dallas, Indianapolis and Columbia, S.C., ASH has more than 1,000 employees and administers services for more than 31 million members. Additional products offered through ASH and its subsidiaries include Healthyroads®, Active&Fit®, ExerciseRewardsTM and others. Established in 1987, ASH is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary. For more information about ASH, visit www.ASHCompanies.com or call 800-848-3555. Follow us on Linkedin, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Healthyroads, or on Twitter at @ASHCompanies or @Healthyroads.

CONTACT: Lisa Freeman 310-390-3070 lisaf@ashn.com

Source:American Specialty Health