Aging is natural and a part of every person’s life journey, but you don’t have to let it slow you down or stop you from doing things you enjoy. Many older adults continue to exercise regularly into their later years, and the activity provides numerous physical, mental and social benefits as well.
Before you decide to hit the local fitness center, you may be curious about what kind of equipment is best for a gym workout for seniors. Learn more about senior-friendly exercise machines and equipment below so that you can begin a healthy regimen or upgrade your existing one.
Many misconceptions surround the topic of senior exercise. Some people believe seniors should live more sedentary lives and avoid rigorous activity to prevent falls or joint injuries. It’s also common for people to believe that older adults who do exercise must stick to simpler fitness routines like chair exercises or walking.
These points can be true for some seniors with health considerations, but in general, more challenging physical activity can help you avoid or alleviate issues like falls, unbalanced coordination and other conditions that come with aging. It does this by strengthening your muscles, cardiovascular system, respiratory system and more.
Exercise also benefits senior health by facilitating:
It may be easier for you to begin working out regularly by joining a group of like-minded people. Our senior fitness classes at 5 Bridges Health & Fitness allow you to choose your desired degree of intensity and improve your health while making new connections. Whether you want to do strength-building, cardio or anything in-between, our team of certified trainers can help you achieve your goals and lead the lifestyle you envision.
Now that you’re familiar with how exercise can benefit older adults, it’s also helpful to know what specific types of exercise equipment are ideal for seniors at the gym. Various age groups and individuals of different fitness levels will have different considerations regarding what equipment they can use to get the most effective workout. The same goes for seniors — you likely want to try machines that will give you a comfortable and fulfilling workout while not exacerbating arthritis or any other conditions you may have.
Here are some of the best exercise machines older adults can use when they visit the gym to have a great session.
When you’re on an elliptical or treadmill, the arm bars give you plenty of stability as you move at your preferred pace, making these machines excellent options for older adults. The continuous motion of walking, jogging or running facilitates better blood circulation throughout your body, contributing to improved immune system response, organ functioning, wound repair and more.
Using a treadmill indoors can also eliminate many of the distractions you’d encounter when running outdoors and provide a more controlled environment, helping you focus fully on your workout until the end.
Recumbent bikes offer all the fun and cardio-enhancing energy of riding a bike — while indoors. Cycling offers numerous benefits, such as muscle-building, better sleep and increased blood flow. One study found that a drastic decrease in cardiorespiratory fitness occurred between the ages of 40 and 60, and that decline coincides with an increase in sleep problems. If you seek better rest, hopping on a recumbent bike could be part of the answer.
Rowing machines provide similar benefits to ellipticals and treadmills, though they allow you to stay seated for a low-impact session. These machines are some of the best exercise equipment for arthritis, targeting your cardiovascular system and muscles while also encouraging joint mobility. If you have arthritis, be sure to follow proper exercising techniques to take stress off your joints. When you visit our facility, our trainers can show you how best to use a rowing machine for your arthritis.
A cable strength machine lets you work on various parts of the body — back, legs, arms and more — all while comfortably sitting down. This machine can be especially helpful for seniors who often deal with backaches, as it can target major and small back muscles. With its many features, a cable strength machine is versatile enough that you can get a vigorous workout while staying seated. Use the upper bars for various arm and shoulder moves, or work out your knees and hips using the lower bars.
Free weights, wrist weights, kettlebells and similar options offer simple, easy-to-use exercise equipment for people just beginning their fitness journey. Some dumbbells also let you adjust the amount of weight, giving you a straightforward solution that meets you where you’re at. Exercising with weights helps build bone density and muscle, which lessens the risk of fractures and improves your strength. Kettlebells, in particular, can also enhance balance and coordination.
For an even simpler approach to physical fitness, try resistance bands. You can combine these with other equipment, like free weights, and they are intuitive enough for a fitness beginner or expert to use. Plus, they are lightweight and easy to carry around different areas of the gym. One study has suggested that resistance band usage for seniors can positively affect factors like gait, flexibility and balance with a regular regimen.
If this article has inspired you to start or refine a workout routine, the team at 5 Bridges Health & Fitness can assist you in safely using any type of equipment and getting the exercise you need. At our facility, we have trainers to fit every fitness and experience level, meaning we will readily be there to assist any senior who wants to learn about the machines or craft a specific workout regimen.
Explore our range of classes for seniors at the gym, whether you want to get a full-body workout with Boomer Step or try a SilverSneakers® membership to use various types of exercise equipment. If you prefer a one-on-one workout session, personal training classes are also an option.
Ready to launch your health and fitness transformation? Check out our offerings and start getting in touch with your best self.