Best Home Exercise Equipment for Seniors: Ways to Improve Health and Fitness
The population across the globe is aging. Most people are now living into their sixties and beyond. According to the World Health Organization, by the year 2030, 1 in 6 people in the world will be over the age of 60. Furthermore, the population of people aged 60 and above is projected to rise from 1 billion in 2020 to 2.1 billion by 2050. If you’re an older adult, performing some form of physical activity daily is among one of the best things you can do to protect your health.
Research indicates that exercise in older individuals helps prevent physical and mental functions decline, increases independence, and lowers the burden on the health care system. If you’re looking to increase your physical activity to improve your overall health and well-being, investing in the best home exercise equipment can help you realize your fitness goals right from your own home.
Physical Activity Recommendations
- A minimum of 150 minutes of moderate level activity every week (i.e., brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous level activity (i.e., hiking, biking, jogging).
- A minimum of 2 days per week of strength exercises.
- Activities that aim to improve balance.
The more physical activity you do, the greater your health benefits will be. Remember, some physical activity is better than doing nothing at all.
Health Benefits of Physical Activity
Notable health benefits of regular physical activity include:
- Less risk of falls and associated injuries
- Better brain health
- Improved mental health
- Improved sleep quality
- Weight management
- Lower risk of certain diseases, including cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, metabolic syndrome, some cancers (breast, bladder, colon, endometrial, esophagus, stomach, lung, and kidney)
- Stronger muscles and bones
- Improved management of certain chronic conditions, including arthritis and diabetes.
Best Equipment to Exercise at Home
Choosing the best home exercise equipment can be a difficult task. You want to make sure that it’s safe, enjoyable, and easy on the joints. Everyone has different needs, and the right equipment depends on your limitations and your personal preference. Some excellent balance exercises for seniors to improve endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance include core stability, proprioception training and strength exercises. Let’s review some of the best home exercise equipment that can help improve your endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance.
1. Stability (Exercise) Ball
Stability balls are a versatile and inexpensive piece of exercise equipment that can help improve core strength and flexibility. As per physical activity guidelines, core strength is essential for seniors as it helps with standing and balancing, and it is vital for proper posture. There are various exercises that can be performed with a stability ball to improve overall physical fitness. This piece of equipment can even be used as a replacement for a chair, which activates the muscles of the body to work harder and improves your balance.
2. Yoga Mat
It is another highly affordable piece of exercise equipment that is great to have, because it allows you to perform various low-impact exercises on your feet, knees, or while lying on the ground, providing you with traction and cushioning to protect the joints. It’s a great piece of equipment to perform stretching exercises, such as yoga and Pilates, which help in improving balance and making your core stronger.
3. Therapy Putty
This kind of putty is used to strengthen the muscles and improve range of motion of the forearm, wrist, hand, and fingers. Therapy putty comes in a range of resistance levels, from super soft to firm, and it can be combined to create a customized resistance level, if needed. There are various ways to use therapy putty – it can be pinched, squeezed, twisted, and pulled, to keep things interesting.
4. Resistance Bands
They are a cost-effective way to improve muscle strength and endurance. These are lightweight elastic bands that provide resistance when you stretch them. They come in various resistance levels, and there are a variety of exercises that you can do with them. You may find that resistance bands are easier to handle than free weights.
5. Wrist Weights
If you’re looking to challenge yourself when walking, or using an elliptical, you can attach weights to your wrists. Typically, wrist weights are quite light, around 1 to 3 pounds, providing sufficient weight to make your exercise session a bit more challenging without placing unnecessary stress on your wrists.
6. Light Dumbbells
A pair of light dumbbells, 5 to 10 pounds, can help strengthen muscles, maintain bone density, and improve balance. Senior training for olympics must include light set of weights in their routine to do an upper body strength training workout at home.
7. Pedal Exerciser
This is a great option if you suffer from mobility or balance issues, as it allows you to get active while sitting safely and comfortably on a chair. A pedal exerciser provides a safe, low impact activity that helps increase range of motion of the hips, knees, and ankles, while enhancing leg strength.
1. Recumbent Exercise Bike
Recumbent bikes provide a comfortable seated chair design, allowing you to cycle in a reclined position. The positioning of the seat also makes it easy to get on and off of. Additionally, this type of bike allows for low-impact activities, placing minimal stress on the joints of the lower body including the hips, knees, and ankles while providing support for your back. Recumbent exercise bikes are an ideal option if you have bone or joint issues.
2. Elliptical Machine
If you’re able to stand for longer periods of time, investing in an elliptical machine can help you burn some more calories while improving your endurance, muscle strength, and balance. An elliptical machine is a minimal impact exercise machine. It is a cross between walking and cross-country skiing that targets the shoulders, arms, legs, and core with one simple, low-impact movement. This machine has supportive handlebars connected to foot pedals that provide better control and balance, making it a safer choice for seniors. According to a study, using the machine for running can reduce high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. Additionally, most machines come with adjustable resistance levels that can tailor the intensity of your workout as per your needs.
3. Rowing Machine
If you’re a more active senior, a rowing machine might be a great investment. These machines help you to strengthen and stretch muscles, and increase endurance with minimal stress on the joints. Most rowing machines have different types of resistance, which allows you to choose the intensity, timing, and repetition based on your ability.
As you age it’s essential to remain active. Investing in some home exercise equipment can help you achieve your physical activity goals and improve your overall health and well-being from the comfort of your own home. We’ve discussed various pieces of equipment in this article, and what you choose is going to depend on your physical needs and your personal choices. Keep in mind that any activity you choose, be it physical or fun activities, should be both safe and enjoyable. It’s also important to discuss any limitations you might have with a qualified medical professional prior to beginning any new physical activity to avoid unnecessary injury.