Which Senior Fitness Program is Right for You?

It’s almost the new year and for many, it’s time to start thinking about resolutions and setting goals. Fitness is often at the forefront of most people’s minds as the over indulgences of Christmas are tempered by thoughts of health and wellbeing, especially if you are advancing in years. But with so many different fitness programs out there to try, the question is which one offers the best all-round health and wellbeing solution for seniors? Which outdoor activity can help seniors stay fit and healthy?

To answer this question, we looked at three popular senior fitness programs – Chair One Fitness, Silver Sneakers, and Zumba Gold – and compared their benefits to find the one we think is the best.

Chair One Fitness

Chair One Fitness is an innovative exercise program for seniors that utilizes chairs as a way to improve wellbeing. Designed as an accessible regime, it is suited to those with mobility issues or difficulty standing. This can include elderly people, people suffering from injuries, people with balance issues, and disabled people. There are even routines for wheelchair users and amputees.

The fact that you can get started with Chair One Fitness with little equipment, just a chair, makes it easy to pick.


  • Incredibly accessible. Anybody can get started with Chair One Fitness
  • No equipment, other than a chair, is required
  • Routines for everyone, including obese people, amputees, and those in wheelchairs
  • Routines can be done at home

Silver Sneakers

Silver Sneakers offers a more standard approach to senior fitness than Chair One Fitness by offering access to gyms and fitness classes (over 14,00 gyms at last count) free of charge if they have Medicare Supplement Insurance.

Aimed solely at those over 65, classes with the Silver Sneakers program are tailored to seniors and offer a range of standard style gym classes like boxercise, spin, and yoga.

Being gym-based, it does mean that you have to be able to visit your local participating gym and classes can vary from location to location.


  • Good choice of classes with a range of health benefits… depending on your location
  • Free if you have Medicare Supplement Insurance
  • Thousands of gyms to visit

Zumba Gold

Who doesn’t love Zumba, right? Zumba’s been around for years and is immensely popular for those looking to improve fitness, condition, and have some fun. Zumba Gold is aimed at active older adults and offers a slower Zumba experience with less intensity.

Focussing on balance, range of motion, coordination, and conditioning, Zumba Gold is a great way to burn calories and tone the body. But prepared to sweat as Zumba doesn’t scale in terms of difficulty and routines can be tricky for some.


  • Zumba has and always will be great fun… if you like dancing
  • Zumba Gold is less intensive than regular Zumba… but can still be a little too difficult for some
  • Great for improving balance, range of motion, and coordination.

Which Senior Fitness Program Should I Choose?

That’s a difficult question to answer. All 3 offer different experiences and benefits. If we had to choose one, then we would say that Chair One Fitness offers more flexibility, is easier to pick up and do, and offers a greater range of routines. Classes are also fun and include music and dance moves to keep them lively. Difficulty is also easier to scale than something like Zumba for example, making it more accessible for most.

Our recommendation for seniors looking to stay fit and healthy is to take a look at Chair One Fitness.

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  1. says: Suzanne Ebel

    As a Zumba Gold instructor I feel that you haven’t really looked at what this programme offers. Far from having ‘difficult’ routines, every Gold instructor will teach for the class in front of them, modifying routines to suit the ability of the class. Secondly, Zumba Gold is taught as a chair-based class too. Again, a variety of settings from nursing homes, to people in wheelchairs and those who can move a little more. Then there is Zumba Gold Toning, which offers participants resistance training as they are able to use the lighter toning sticks or slightly heavier hand weights. My point here is that Zumba Gold is a much broader programme than the marketing blurb suggests and caters for a wide range of ability. And we haven’t even touched on the special needs population (of ALL ages) that enjoys the programme too!

  2. says: Maria Montero

    I’m a Certified AFAA instructor, a Senior fitness instructor, and a licensed Zumba and Zumba Gold instructor. I must say, you are not familiar with the Zumba Gold program. And you have not idea on the diversity of populations that Zumba Gold reaches. First, Zumba Gold, offers the standing Zumba Gold, and Zumba Gold Chair. Within the Zumba Gold chair, we modify the routines based on the fitness of the students.I teach Zumba Gold chair at memory care
    ( Alzheimer residents), and Regular residents at assisted living locations. Now, the Zumba Gold chair routines for memory care residents are very diferente than the Zumba Gold chair routines for regular residents at assisted living. And I may add Zumba Gold and Zumba Gold chair has been in business longer. I see “chair one”, as a copy of “Zumba Gold Chair”
    You might want to contact the Zumba headquarters and interview Joy Prouty, the creator of the Zumba Gold program. Thank you

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