Best Exercise Equipment For Seniors: Safe Ways To Stay Fit

Maher Mohammed

Meet the expert

You can call me the Fitness & Health GEEK. I've been involved in the fitness industry since 2015. Exercise and Nutrition are my bread and butter.

As we age, exercising becomes more critical. Because our functionality decreases, and we need to function and improve our health and fitness more, we will list the best exercise equipment for seniors.

There are plenty of types of equipment. You may get puzzled just from seeing them. Some are very useful for seniors, and some can be a little bit harmful or do no good. We should focus on the ones that can improve our health and quality of life.

Best exercise equipment for seniors

Treadmills

Instead of walking, running, walking to a hill, a treadmill is a good alternative. It does the same job in your own home.

Some people say that treadmills can be not as good for seniors as it has a moderate to hard impact on the joints. And as we know, as we age, our joints get weak, and we need something easy on them to improve, not to destroy them.

But other people say that it is a good alternative for walking or running and it can be a good option for seniors to work out with.

Let’s see if that’s true.

Pros

  • Treadmills improve our cardiovascular health: Because treadmills are considered as an aerobic exercise. Walking or running on a treadmill will improve your organs, including your heart, your lungs, and of course, your muscles. Having good cardiovascular health and good fitness will decrease the risk of injury from many diseases, such as diabetes, heart diseases, strokes, and many more.
  • A good alternative for walking if the weather is bad: Simply by buying a treadmill for your home gym, you can take a walk on it or even a run without minding going outside. You could walk first thing in the morning, you can walk before bed, and you can walk in the evening. Simply put, it is an excellent option for bad weather cities.
  • Low-moderate impact if walking naturally: If you are walking with no incline at all, it will be a very good option for seniors to work out with. Because walking naturally without an incline setting places a low impact on the joints.

Cons

  • It can be hard if incline: Setting the treadmill as incline will put so much stress on your joints, making them weak or even getting you injured. As a senior, you should focus on doing low-impact exercises that allow for recovery, not fatigue.
  • It can be boring for some: Walking or running on a treadmill at home can be boring sometimes. However, you can do many things while you are working out on a treadmill. Reading a book, watching TV, or listening to music and meditate can be good options to entertain yourself while working out.

Workouts you can do

When we talk about workouts on a treadmill, there is not much to do. You can vary your speed between low-speed walking to moderate-speed jogging. Sometimes you can jog for a little bit, then switch to walking and so on.

You can also walk sideways with very low speed and walk backward with little to no speed at all.

Best treadmill for seniors: XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill Black

XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill Black

This treadmill is an affordable one of high-quality. It has different workouts programs and speeds to allow for variation and enjoyment. It is also foldable so you can store it and move it quickly.

Recumbent bikes

Cycling has always been a great exercise to do for cardiovascular health and fitness. On the other hand, recumbent bikes are special because it comes with a chair design that comforts your back and knees.

This is why it is a perfect option for seniors. Seniors can get on and off the bike easily with no problem or pain.

Pros

  • Recumbent bikes are very comfortable: Because these kinds of bikes come with a back supported chair, it is fairly comfortable for seniors. As seniors tend to have back pains, especially lower back pains, it seems quite painful to cycle without back support.
  • Low-impact and safe: Recumbent bike is a low-impact exercise and has no to little stress on the joints, especially the knee joint. This is why it a great option. It offers the benefits of any aerobic exercise while allowing for a great recovery and no fatigue. Also, it has no injury risk at all.

Cons

  • Some don’t find it challenging: Because recumbent bikes are low-impact, some people find it very light that they feel that they are not doing a thing. This could be bad for someone who is 25, but for someone who is 60 or 70, you don’t need to do vigorous exercise. In fact, you should do only light or moderate exercise.

Workouts you can do

Recumbent bikes offer variety in speed and resistance. As a result, you can change your speed for intervals and vary between LISS “Low-Intensity Steady State” and HIIT “High-Intensity Interval Training.”

By doing this, you will not get bored easily, and you will have much enjoyment while working out. Most people prefer to watch TV or read a book while working out on a recumbent bike.

Best recumbent bike for seniors: Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike

Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike with Resistance ME-709

Marcy recumbent bike is made from 14-gauge steel, which assures high-quality construction and long-lasting machine. It has eight resistance levels, which will allow variation in speed.

It also has a comfortable padded seat that will allow for comfort while working out. Most importantly, it is affordable and cheap.

Ellipticals

Ellipticals are popular pieces of equipment all over the world. It uses your hands and legs together, which allows for more calories burned. On top of that, grabbing the machine’s handles while working out increases safety and decreases injury risk.

Pros

  • Balance and stability: Because of the handles that you grab on while working out on an elliptical, it improves your balance and prevents falling. Also, it increases training stability and decreases injury risk.
  • Effective and low-impact: Ellipticals are easy on the joints, meaning that they allow for recovery and offer no fatigue at all. It will also improve your cardiovascular health and strengthen your leg muscles.

Cons

  • A little bit expensive: An elliptical machine can be an expensive equipment choice compared to other machines. However, if you want to buy it as an aerobic tool to train with it for a lifetime at home, clearly it will be more affordable than a gym membership, practical too.

Workouts you can do

Ellipticals offer a wide range of resistance, which you can vary. Typically, an elliptical machine will have an 8 to 20 resistance level.

You can increase resistance on a week to week or a month to month basis to allow for progress.

You can work out while listening to music, watching TV, or simply anything. Some fancy ellipticals come with Google Maps Virtual screen and come with mobile application accessibility, but it will cost you a little more than the normal.

Best elliptical for seniors: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine

Sunny Health & Fitness is a trusted company that produces a huge variety of exercise equipment.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine Cross Trainer with 8 Level Resistance and Digital Monitor

This elliptical machine has eight levels of resistance, which allows for variation in speed. Also, it has a digital monitor to track time, distance, and heart rate. And most importantly, it is compact, which means that you will be capable of storing it, moving it through the house easily with no problem at all.

Stability balls

Stability balls are seen through various ranges of fitness classes, and you may wonder, that do stability balls really work?

Mainly, a stability ball is a tool to improve core strength and stability. Increasing core stability in seniors will improve overall balance, stability, and decrease the risk of falling. It can also be used for stretching.

Pros

  • Can be used anywhere: Because stability balls are small, they can be used or put anywhere in the house. A ball will take little to no space at all. Meaning that you can work out in your garden, in your backyard, your room, and anywhere desired.
  • Improves balance: Stability balls have many exercises for the core and overall body to improve body balance and stability results in improvements in quality of life and functionality for seniors.

Cons

  • High risk of falling: Because stability balls aren’t stable enough, they require some balance and stability from you too. To improve something, you should challenge it. That’s why it is not recommended for seniors who have no experience with training or stability training.

Workouts you can do

There are plenty of exercises to do with a stability ball. Hamstring curl, dead bug, Russian twist, and wall squats are among the most famous exercises to do with a stability ball.

You can contact a personal trainer to guide you specifically through the workouts. If you would like to work out alone, there are many videos and guides online to look for and follow.

Best stability ball for seniors: URBNFit Exercise Ball

URBNFit Exercise Ball (Multiple Sizes) for Fitness, Stability, Balance & Yoga Ball - Workout Guide & Quick Pump Included - Anti Burst Professional Quality Design

This exercise ball is made with PVC material that prevents falling off or slipping away, which will decrease the risk of falling for seniors.

Also, it comes at an affordable price that suits nearly everybody.

Rowing machines

Rowing machines are great exercise equipment when we mention seniors’ equipment. It moves your whole body, stretching it, improves the endurance, works the muscle, and low-impacts the body. Also, it is adjustable for anyone. You can adjust the resistance, set-amount, and repetitions.

Pros

  • Low-Impact: Rowing machines are low-impact machines, which is great to reduce the risk of injury while improving fitness. Machine rowing allows for recovery and meditation and is quite enjoyable.
  • Works large muscle groups: Rowing machines stimulate many muscle groups, like the back, chest, arms, and legs. Meaning that they burn a lot of calories and strengthen many muscles, and that is exactly what we want.

Cons

  • It is a bit technical: The rowing machine range of motion and movement is a bit hard. You should start slowly and increase the resistance when you are perfect when it comes to technique.

Workouts you can do

A rowing machine is quite enjoyable because it has a learning curve, and it can be varied through speed and resistance.

Most rowing machines will have at least eight resistance levels to change from. You can train light sometimes, moderate sometimes, and go hard not so often.

Best rowing machine for seniors: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower w/LCD Monitor

This rowing machine has eight resistance levels, a digital monitor to track your workouts and progress, and transportation wheels to move the machine wherever you’d like.

Free weights

Free weights are some of the best equipment to use as a senior. Because when we age, we lose our muscle mass, and we become weak.

Strength training builds our muscle, retain and increase our fitness, and improves our health and bone density.

Pros

  • Plenty of exercises: No matter where level you are, what age you are, there are always exercises you can do.
  • Mobility and flexibility: Free weights allow for a full range of motion for muscles and joints. Meaning that it will improve our joint mobility and flexibility, resulting in better functionality and quality of life.

Cons

  • Very technical: Free weights exercises can get you injured easily when performed wrong. You should consider having a personal trainer to look after whether you are training with good technique or bad technique.

Workouts you can do

You can do full-body workouts, upper-lower workouts, push-pull-legs workouts, you can do anything with free weights.

Some exercises are easy, exercises that are hard. Choose what is best for you, and train with good technique.

Best free weights for seniors: AmazonBasics Rubber Encased Hex Hand Dumbbell Weight

AmazonBasics Rubber Encased Hex Dumbbell Weight - 10.7 x 4 x 3.5 Inches, 10 Pounds, Pack of 1

These free weights come in different sizes, allowing you to choose from light to heavy. Also, it is affordable and of high-quality.

How often should seniors work out?

Seniors over 65 years old should aim to be active daily. Even if the activity is light, Any activity is better than none.

Most experts suggest doing 2.5 hours of low to moderate aerobic exercise such as cycling per week, which translates to half an hour 5 days a week. If you love to do vigorous activity, experts suggest doing 1.25 hours per week of high-intensity activity.

On top of that, doing strength training is very beneficial for seniors. You should develop balance, strength, and flexibility. The experts suggest doing strength training 2-3 times per week.

So, for example, you could ride a bike three times per week for 30 minutes, then you can take a walk two times per week for 30mins. And the two left days can be your strength training. By that, you can improve your cardiovascular health, muscular health, and live a healthy life.

How can seniors develop balance?

Balance is important for seniors because our balance decreases, and falling becomes a major risk when we age.

Focusing on one-legged exercises to improve balance and stability is important. Heel-to-toe, Side walks, one leg stand is among the best exercises to improve balance as NHS suggests.

Start doing small amounts of each exercise, and increase daily as you progress. Take it slowly and don’t rush progress.

What are good low impact exercises for seniors?

Seniors should focus on the exercises that give them the least fatigue and good recovery and a better life. Activities like cycling, dancing, brisk walking, and hiking are considered low impact moderate aerobic exercises.

They have a lot of benefits, but they also produce the least amount of fatigue. Because seniors’ muscle protein synthesis decreases over time, their ability to recover decreases, that’s why they need low impact exercises that do not fatigue them but improve their fitness.

What can seniors do for strength training?

Seniors can develop muscle strength and flexibility throughout different training types, including carrying heavy shopping bags, yoga, resistance bands, lifting weights, and doing bodyweight exercises.

Seniors should focus on technique when lifting weights to prevent injury, and they should lift low to moderate weights—big NO to heavy weights with sloppy technique.

Exercises like calf raise, leg extension, leg curls can increase your legs balance and strength, which will improve your quality of life. Also, doing some pushups, bench presses, and wall presses will increase your upper body strength.

Moreover, the king of exercises, the squats. A big plus to any senior workout routine.

Conclusion

This is some of the best exercise equipment to use as a senior, read carefully and find out which is the best for your case.

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