Best Exercise Equipment for Seniors

Regular exercise can benefit people of all ages, and seniors are no exception. People over the age of 65 can continue to lead active lives, and exercise can help them to feel better physically and mentally.

An older adult may wish to invest in some special exercise shoes and then go to the gym to check out a low-impact piece of exercise equipment like a recumbent bike to get started with. Getting on a treadmill is also a good choice, since they have bars that a user can hold onto for balance. The user can start with a very simple walking workout and can vary the speed and angle of the belt if he or she wishes.

Once an older adult has been exercising for a time, he or she can start using exercise machines. Enlisting the help of a personal trainer can help the senior find the best exercise equipment for his or her level of fitness and long-term goals. Not only can the trainer provide instruction on how to use each machine, but the senior will learn how to breathe properly while using the equipment.

When trying to find the best exercise equipment for seniors, it may be best to avoid buying items like treadmills that are folded when not in use. A heavy piece of equipment may be too challenging for an older adult to move easily when he or she wishes to use it. A treadmill that has a quick start program that doesn’t require the user to enter several numbers is a good choice, especially for people who may have trouble seeing.

Cardiovascular exercise for heart health is an important part of staying fit. A workout for seniors should also include some resistance training as well. Exercise bands can be used when starting an exercise routine. They provide low-to-moderate resistance, and if the stretch becomes uncomfortable, it’s easy for the senior to stop the movement.

Free weights can also be added to the list of the best exercise equipment for seniors. A set of weights, ranging up from 2-10 lbs., allow a person to easily switch the level of weight used for a more challenging workout when needed.

When choosing exercise equipment for older adults, keep in mind that you will get what you pay for. A higher-priced item will be better constructed and is less likely to have mechanical defects.

How to Choose the Right Treadmill for Seniors

Seniors who want to get a cardio workout without having to either go outside or buy a gym membership may want to consider using a treadmill. It is a convenient way to get or stay in shape that doesn’t require the user to learn a routine or make an investment larger than the unit itself and a good pair of shoes. Older adults who want to buy a treadmill have specific buying needs that need to be addressed when considering available options.

Long Running Deck

The advantage to having a long running deck is that it lowers the risk of injury due to slipping of the back of the track. The user has more time to increase his or her running speed, grab onto the safety handles or lower the speed on the display console as needed.

Safety Handles

When shopping for a treadmill for seniors, look for a model that has safety handles that are positioned to the side of the treadmill. This feature offers additional support for people who may have balance issues or want to be able to use the handle as a grab bar if needed.

Motion Controls

A person who has vision issues or difficulty with eye-to-hand coordination should look for a treadmill offering motion controls. Rather than having to press buttons to start and stop the treadmill, simply moving one’s hand in front of the control panel can start or stop the machine. The same method can be used to increase or decrease speed while the treadmill is in use.

Adjustable Suspension

When issues like arthritis in the knees are present, being able to adjust the suspension on a treadmill is an important consideration when making a buying decision. All treadmills have some degree of shock absorption, but running on a surface that is too hard can lead to knee injuries. If the surface is too soft, it can be hard for the user to keep his or her balance, leading to falls.

Low Noise Level

To avoid the distraction caused by the motor on a treadmill while the machine is in use, look for a model with steel rollers. The noise level on this type of unit is reduced, which makes it easier for the user to listen to music or watch television while using it.

Treadmills equipped with steel rollers are usually more expensive, but choosing a machine at the higher end of the price range also means more features. Some units include an EKG monitor, for example, while others come with a built-in LCD TV for the consumer’s convenience.