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The Best Exercise Equipment for Adults Over 65

By Gregory Hamel

Working out is commonly associated with young people and athletes, but seniors over the age of 65 can also benefit significantly from staying physically active. Low impact exercise equipment, which limits joint strain and injury, can help seniors maintain heart health, joint health and physical strength to continue living independent and productive lives.

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are flexible strips or loops of rubbery material such as latex or surgical tubing. Resistance bands are an excellent type of exercise equipment for older adults because the resistance provided by the bands is derived from tension created by stretching the bands, rather than the weight of the bands themselves. This significantly reduces the chance of injury, since a dropped band cannot hurt the body; even if the band snaps against the body, the pain cause is usually superficial, while an iron weight striking the body forcefully can cause bruising or break bones. Another advantage to resistance bands is that they are inexpensive and very portable, so they can easily be carried in a bag and brought on trips. Allowing the body to go a week or two without exercise will encourage deteriorating--exercise bands can help prevent excessive gaps between workouts.

Exercise Bikes

Stationary bicycles are a great low impact workout solution. Running is very hard on the knees, hips and ankles, and even walking can be a problem for some older adults. Stationary bikes allow the muscles of the legs to engage without placing a lot of stress on the joints, which can enable seniors to get longer cardiovascular workouts than they could otherwise. Another advantage of exercise bikes is that they leave the hands and upper body free to act independently of the legs--it is quite possible to read, watch TV, or even use a computer while getting a workout on a stationary bike. Recumbent stationary bikes can be even more comfortable, since the seats tend to distribute pressure across more of the body.

Elliptical Machines

Elliptical machines are another type of stationary cardio machine found in many fitness centers. Elliptical machines allow users to stand upright and move the feet in an elliptical motion, which is a hybrid of biking and running. At the same then the hand can be used to pump handles to make the system go faster. The advantage of elliptical machines is that they fairly closely mimic the type of workout that one would get from running but involve far less joint impact, since the feet never leave the foot platforms of the machine. If pumping the arm handles is uncomfortable, you can simply use the legs to drive the machine and ignore the arm handles.

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