The Best Exercise Equipment for the Elderly
We all know about the benefits of exercise. It’s one of the most important things you can do to improve both your mental and physical health. It can reduce the risk of injury, improve your mobility and joint movement, increase your strength and endurance - meaning you can increase the amount of activities you’re able to participate in - improve your quality of life and even help with issues such as depression, anxiety and dementia.
This is the case for people of all ages. However, as we get older and exercising becomes more limited, alongside potential physical ailments and an increased risk of injury, knowing how exactly to go about exercising in a safe and productive way can actually be difficult for many people. In fact, such is the extent of this problem that some people won’t exercise simply because they feel that there isn’t very much that they can do without great difficulty or potential risk of injury. But this doesn't have to be the case.
Whether you’re looking to get back into fitness yourself, or you have an elderly relative that you’d like to help get a little more active, there’s tons of exercise equipment out there that’s perfect for people of all ages. Exercise is also a great way of spending time together, with encouragement and practical assistance being a major help for anyone’s exercise program.
Now, of course, all of this depends on a person’s specific physical limitations and needs. We understand that everyone is different and what might work for one may not necessarily work for another. Nonetheless here’s our list of the best exercise equipment for older adults.
A classic in gyms everywhere, the elliptical machine is one of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment available and when looking for the best exercise machine for elderly individuals, this has to be a prime candidate. Think of this machine as to walking what the treadmill is to running. It gives you all the benefits of the exercise but without the joint strain. It also means you don’t need to go outside if the weather is especially bad but you still want to get your muscles working.
While weight machines are actually several different pieces of gym equipment, they really all provide the same benefit. They allow a person to increase their strength without the need for a spotter nor the risks that come with free weights. They also allow for a very gradual process of improvement and the potential for a very low beginner level for those who haven’t done any strength training for some time.
Just because we associate the treadmill with running, it doesn’t mean that the difficulty can’t be lowered if need be. Treadmills offer similar walking benefits as the elliptical machine but with different options to up the difficulty should you feel up to the task. Both speed and incline can be increased for a sure and steady sense of progress that is suitable for any age.
Recumbent exercise bikes
One of the most popular ways to get in a cardio workout, exercise bikes show no sign of falling out of popularity any time soon. Having a back rest with the recumbent exercise bike makes this one of the most relaxing ways to get a workout, as does the ability to go at your own pace. This is a simple case of taking a classic piece of gym equipment and adding a little extra comfort and support to make it perfect for elderly users.
While all the other pieces of equipment can be found in people’s homes, they can be expensive and hard to find a place for. This is not the case for our final two entries, which are cheap and can be used pretty much anywhere. This makes them perfect for home workouts. They’re so cheap and easy, you can even use these to work out with a family member at the same time.
It’s not necessarily what a person would normally associate with the gym, but a hand gripper is a great way of getting exercise in a place we often neglect. Over time, the power of our grip can weaken and this can make lots of tasks much more difficult. The hand gripper is an ideal way of increasing strength for those with decreased mobility or if a person has an issue standing. In fact, you don’t need to even leave wherever you happen to be at. All you need is this piece of equipment and a couple of hands and you’re good to go.
Very similar to the hand grippers, resistance bands are a simple, cheap and light piece of exercise equipment that many people find slips their minds. Nonetheless, they’re simple and easy to use and can work wonders for a person's flexibility and strength. The mixture of a low risk of injury and a low level of resistance for beginners makes this an ideal piece of equipment for those looking to get back into fitness.
As we’ve said, these are only suggestions and might not necessarily be suitable for everyone. At Melrose Care Home, we understand that the individual needs of each person can be very different, which is why we offer the opportunity for our residents to attend lots of different varieties of exercise classes, so that it’s both suitable to their physical needs and limitations but also varied and fun. And of course, before you start any kind of exercise program, it’s always a good idea to have a talk with a doctor to ensure you won’t be putting yourself in harm’s way and you can improve your physical fitness in the most effective and safest way possible.