Exercising doesn’t have to be painful or physically damaging, especially when it comes to the elderly. With age comes things like osteoporosis or poor eyesight and while exercising is still essential, a balance between ease and an effective workout is how you’ll avoid costly visits to the emergency room.
Luckily, there are plenty of exercise equipment that are perfectly suitable for seniors. Here are 3 tips for buying such exercise equipment.
Low Impact Equipment
Plenty of exercise equipment is designed to be low impact, meaning that they minimize stress on the joints and reduce the risk of injury. How?
- Smooth Motion. Low-impact machines are engineered for a smooth, continuous range of motion, preventing sudden, jerky movements that can strain joints. For example, on a stationary bike, the circular pedal motion is gentle on the knees and hips
- Reduced Force. Such machines often have mechanisms or settings to control the amount of force or resistance applied during exercise so that users can tailor the intensity to their comfort level, gradually building strength without subjecting joints to excessive stress
- Supportive Design. Many low-impact machines, like recumbent bikes or elliptical trainers, offer ergonomic seating and handrails for additional support and stability
- Cushioning. Some equipment, such as ellipticals and treadmills, feature cushioned surfaces that absorb impact
Stability and Safety
You want to buy equipment designed with safety in mind as seniors should feel secure when using exercise equipment.
Here’s what to consider:
- Handrails. Look for equipment with sturdy handrails that seniors can hold onto for added stability
- Non-Slip Surfaces. Check that the equipment has non-slip foot pedals or surfaces to prevent such accidents
- Adjustable Settings. Equipment should have easy-to-adjust settings for resistance, speed, and intensity as it’s how a senior can start at a comfortable level and gradually increase it as they progress
Many seniors aren’t tech-savvy and there’s no reason why exercise equipment should come with complicated tech or instructions.
Here’s what to opt for:
- Intuitive Displays. The control panel should have clear, large buttons and an easy-to-read display to monitor time, distance, and other relevant metrics
- Simple Programming. If the equipment has pre-set workout programs, they should be easy to navigate and select
- Safety Features. Ensure that emergency stop buttons or safety locks are readily accessible
- Voice Commands. In some advanced fitness equipment, voice-activated controls are available and seniors can use simple voice commands to adjust settings or receive workout feedback
- Remote Control. Remote controls mean seniors can make adjustments without reaching for the main control panel which is especially helpful for those with mobility challenges
Doing some form of exercise is non-negotiable, especially when it comes to aging. Luckily, choosing equipment that makes the process easier is more possible than you’d think. Prioritizing low impact equal, safety, and ease of use is a good way to start.