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Exercise Equipment for Seniors: The Best, Low-Impact Options to Consider

18th January 2023

As people begin to enter their golden years, exercise still remains an important part of maintaining one’s overall health. However, you need to choose the right exercise equipment for seniors because the wrong machine can result in injuries or stressed joints, tendons, and ligaments, ultimately leading to pain and discomfort. As such, low-impact exercise equipment comes to the fore as the best way for senior citizens to maintain a healthy life.

It’s great whether you’re just starting out or you’re a pro, it lowers blood pressure, blood sugar and harmful cholesterol levels, improves heart health, reduces the risk of musculoskeletal injury and strengthens bones, it improves balance and stability, increases your range of motion, and of course, it’s great for burning calories and fat and reducing stress levels.

If you are wondering which is the most suitable low-impact exercise equipment for seniors, this article covers everything you need to know. Let’s dive in.

What exercise equipment is best for seniors?

Whether joining the gym or performing exercises at home, the best exercise equipment for seniors is a low-impact exercise that protects the joints. Slow, steady movements that don’t aggravate and place unnecessary strain will be your best bet. But what machines are best for this type of activity? Here is our detailed list:

  1. Elliptical machines
  2. These are stationary machines, which are capable of mimicking movements such as walking, skipping, running, and climbing. Therefore, they have benefits for both the upper and lower body by targeting the hamstrings, quads, glutes, chest, biceps, back, triceps, and core. Because they have handles you can hold onto, it means you have greater balance and reduce your chances of falling. Although they do not offer inclines and are not as effective for muscle strength, they can help you burn calories quite quickly, depending on the range of motion and frequency of use.

  3. Rowing machines
  4. As the name suggests, a rowing machine mimics the range of motion that rowing on the water produces. You are essentially sitting on a sliding platform that moves forward and backward for a wider range of motion. The good thing about these machines is that you can select your intensity. They also target a great number of muscles in the body (e.g. biceps, lats, abs, quads, glutes, and calves), resulting in a full-body workout. It is performed while you’re in a seated position but it can take up a lot of space. It is not ideal for those with chronic back and knee pain.

  5. Cross trainer machines
  6. This is another stationary piece of exercise equipment that seniors can enjoy. Targeting glutes, calves, shoulders, back, abs, thighs, and more, you have the option to select your intensity and speed. It is another full-body workout that can also help improve your balance. However, it should be avoided by those who have a history of hip and knee problems.

  7. Exercise bikes
  8. Exercise bikes come in a wide range of options. There are recumbent exercise bikes and upright exercise bikes.

    With recumbent exercise bikes, you’re cycling in a reclined position as opposed to being upright. these stationary bikes enable you to choose your incline, distance, and speed. It is generally well-suited for a lower-body workout. It should be avoided by people who experience pain while sitting down.

    With upright exercise bikes, you are able to cycle while staying upright. It’s another lower-body type of workout whose speed and intensity you can control. It also offers handlebars for stability and balance. However, they do not offer lumbar support and are not suitable for people with multiple joint pain.

  9. Stair climbers/steppers
  10. This piece of exercise equipment simulates climbing stairs. It’s ideal for a lower-body workout as it targets the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and abs. There are two steps that you can put your feet down on and there is a handle that you can grip for maintaining balance. It is possible to change the resistance levels. While it helps with balance and coordination, it should not be used for those with knee and hip pain or with ankle issues.

  11. Air gliders
  12. Commonly referred to as “air walkers”, these machines target the entire body. By placing your feet on each pedal and your hands on special levers, a gliding motion is created. You have full control over the speed, although the movement may feel somewhat unnatural. Also, it’s not always possible to add resistance to it. It should be avoided by people with chronic knee pain.

  13. Lat pulldown machine
  14. Simulating pull-up bar exercises, the beauty of this type of exercise machine is that users can use it in proportion to their physical strength by increasing or decreasing the number of weights in the machine. It involves performing a lateral pulldown exercise while seated that uses a bar that is placed above your head. It is excellent for strengthening the back muscles and can also help reduce back pain. It’s also great for elbows, shoulders, and arm muscles and is performed in a sitting position.

  15. Vibration plate machine
  16. The vibration plate machine involves standing on a platform that vibrates. This vibration stimulates all the muscles in the body and is completely no impact on one’s joints. It enables you to perform other mild exercises on it as well such as squats, exercises using elastic bands, and others. It can be a whole-body workout with minimal impact and is great for those with various medical conditions.

What exercise machine is easiest on joints?

Having covered some of the top exercise equipment for seniors, let’s take a look at the best low-impact exercise machines on the joints. Based on our findings, the three top machines with the lowest impact are the elliptical machine, the rowing machine, and the vibration plate. They all offer a full body workout whilst enabling you to build strength and burn calories.

What is the easiest form of exercise you can do without joining a gym?

With most of the exercise equipment for seniors mentioned above, one thing will have made an impression on you and that is that these machines are usually found in the gym and that they can be quite bulky for home usage.

Of course, swimming is a great form of exercise for seniors, as are pilates, yoga, golf, and the use of stability balls, wrist weights, and medicine balls. However, you need something compact in the comfort of your own home that is also good and beneficial for you.

What is the best low-impact exercise equipment?

So, what is the final verdict on the best low-impact exercise equipment? In our view, it is the whole body vibration plate. It is no- to low-impact exercise equipment that’s great for the entire body, offers a full cardio workout, and places little to no strain on the joints. It is excellent for seniors because it can accommodate those with various medical conditions and it is great for beginners to more seasoned users.

Concluding thoughts

The right exercise equipment for seniors is one that is low on joint impact while burning calories for heart health and helping shape muscles. As such, the whole-body vibration plate is the best choice for seniors seeking to exercise in the comfort of their own homes. It is compact and effective and it offers a plethora of benefits for the entire body. It’s not named “whole body” for nothing. It truly does work out every inch of your physique and should be an essential part of your exercise regimen.


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