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Healthways SilverSneakers® Fitness Program Announces 2012 Richard L. Swanson National Award Winner

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NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

For 70-year-old Miami resident Cecil Daniels, the SilverSneakers Fitness Program® isn't just a life-changing exercise program designed for older adults – it represents camaraderie, a renewed passion for life and determination. Daniels was spending five hours a day at his local barber shop to fill his need to connect with friends. Today, Daniels has reinvigorated his life and health by joining a group of friends three days a week to participate in SilverSneakers classes. A renewed emphasis on health has replaced greasy foods with exercise and motivation that continues to help him overcome diabetes and high blood pressure. Now in control of these conditions, Daniels receives fantastic reports from his physicians and is excited to share his success with friends and family.

That is why Healthways SilverSneakers Fitness Program is proud to recognize Cecil Daniels as the national winner of the 2012 Richard L. Swanson Inspiration Award, which honors a SilverSneakers member whose healthy behavior has made a difference in his or her own life while motivating others. Daniels is joined by four Swanson Award finalists whose inspirational stories are also being recognized.

The Swanson Award is in memory of SilverSneakers founder Mary Swanson's father, who served as the inspiration for the nationally acclaimed fitness program. The award honors five finalists across the U.S., and one of the five is selected as the national award recipient.

“Each year we receive hundreds of inspiring nominations for the Richard L. Swanson Award that reveal how impactful this program is for our members – whether for weight loss, for increased mobility or for meeting new people,” said Debbie James, market president of Healthways. “This year, Cecil exemplifies the heart of the Richard L. Swanson award with a focus on not only the physical health, but also the social health benefits that result from the friendships created through participation in the program.”

The award-winning SilverSneakers Fitness Program increases physical activity in older adults, resulting in higher well-being and lower health care costs. The program engages participants in active behavior change through access to a variety of fitness center venues and senior-specific programming that incorporates physical activity and social experiences. SilverSneakers is available to nearly 9 million Medicare beneficiaries through many Medicare plans, Medicare Supplement carriers and group retiree plans. The Healthways fitness center network offers convenient access to more than 15,000 participating fitness and wellness facilities nationwide.

The following Richard L. Swanson Award Finalists are also being recognized:

Jacquelyn Gardner, Williamsburg, Va.: After spending six agonizing months in physical therapy, with no improvement to her aching shoulders, Gardner continued to face the pain of everyday tasks, such as combing her hair. Following an MRI scan, her physician's prognosis was that shoulder replacement surgery was imminent. To stretch her arms and shoulders, Gardner enrolled in the SilverSneakers program and has been pain-free for more than two years – without the surgery.

Ron and Cory Kicszenski, Oakhurst, Calif.: This husband-and-wife team is seeing success thanks to their dedication to the SilverSneakers program, from improved balance and weight loss to increased mobility and flexibility. Previously, Ron was not able to walk beyond 100 feet without experiencing angina and shortness of breath, and now he can walk more than a mile without difficulty. Cory has lost inches and gained endurance, and is now doing things better than she did in her younger years. Challenging themselves to go beyond what they thought they could do, the Kicszenskis are now focused on achieving their best health and continuing their journey in the program.

Elizabeth Taylor, Glendale, Calif.: Despite four X-rays, three MRIs, trips to different hospitals and appointments with physical therapists and acupuncturists, the source of Taylor's nightly leg pain and numbness was still a mystery. It wasn't until Taylor enrolled in the SilverSneakers program that she could make it through the night, for the first time in two years, without debilitating leg pain.

Martha Wasmuth, Midland, Mich.: Following two lower-back surgeries and one neck surgery, Wasmuth faced continuous, extreme pain. Drawing inspiration from her two youngest grandsons, Wasmuth was determined to play with them and not let the pain control her life. Thanks to the SilverSneakers program, combined with the support of medical programs, Wasmuth's quality of life has dramatically improved. Previously, Wasmuth required help for everyday tasks, including taking a shower, getting dressed and preparing dinner, and now she enjoys the independence that has resulted from reduced pain.

Healthways will begin accepting nominations for the 2013 Richard L. Swanson Inspiration Award next spring.

About Healthways

Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY) is the largest independent global provider of well-being improvement solutions. The Company offers the award-winning SilverSneakers Fitness Program, the nation's leading exercise program designed exclusively for older adults. 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 40 million people on four continents. Learn more at www.healthways.com or at www.silversneakers.com.

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Healthways
Margie Wojciechowski, 480-444-5332
Margie.wojciechowski@healthways.com

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