Best Exercise Equipment for Seniors Reviewed
Exercise equipment for seniors needs to follow a few simple rules. First of all, they need to be kind to tired joints. Avoiding high-impact devices are key to keeping pain at a minimum. Minimizing impact while still strengthening muscles and elevating heart rate is key. Machines such as ellipticals and bikes are great tools to achieve these goals.
Secondly, they need to provide excellent stability. As we age, we become a little less steady on our feet, and simple spills or tumbles have lasting and pervasive ramifications. Ensuring that the device has ample handlebars and supportive structures are key to keep you standing upright from start to finish.
In this guide, we have compiled a list of the best exercise equipment for seniors that is designed to minimize joint pain while building beneficial muscle mass, burning calories, and strengthening your heart.
- Body-Solid Endurance T50 Walking Treadmill
- Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stepper Step Machine
- Vive Pedal Exerciser
- Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine
- Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer
- Bionic Body Mini Stepper
- KLB Sport Workout Aerobic Stepper
- OYO Personal Gym
- Goplus Electric Recovery Treadmill
In a Hurry? The test winner after 7 hrs of research
Best Exercise Equipment for Seniors
1. Body-Solid Endurance T50 Walking Treadmill
When walking on a treadmill, it is super important that you keep your balance. While some machines utilize handlebars on the front of the unit, it may not be enough for older users. What makes this treadmill different from most is that it has a pair of handlebars that run all the way to the back of the unit, and still boasts all the features you need for a great workout.Read more
As we already mentioned, it’s the handlebars that make this unit stand out from the rest. It boasts a long pair of super sturdy handlebars that start at the front of the belt and run all the way along to the rear of the belt for maximum stability as you put mikes behind you.
This design also boasts a small on-ramp at the back of the unit to help your climb aboard. If you feel you have trouble stepping up onto the belt, the small ramp at the back allows for users to easily walk up the small ramp at the back of the unit while gripping the long handles.
A thick 30-inch walking belt provides users with plenty of room for a natural stride without the fear of clipping the side of the belt. It also comes with an LCD display with large numbers that are easy to read at a glance. The screen displays calories burned, time traveled, and distance traveled as well.
2. Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stepper Step Machine
Limited rage of motion
Simplicity and stability are the key features of this machine from Sunny Health & Fitness. It has a small and compact footprint that is perfect for those that do not have a lot of extra space in their home. It is super easy to set up, and just as easy to use to get your heart pumping and your legs moving.Read more
This step machine provides that same motion as walking on a treadmill, but it limits much of the impact of stepping onto a hard surface. Simply grab onto the handlebars at the front of the unit and pump down on the steps to build muscles in your legs and glutes, as well as elevate that heart rate!
It boasts a small yet effective LCD screen that displays your step count, calories burned, and time spent traveling. Users can also adjust the height of the handlebars simply by turning a knob at the front of the unit and adjusting it accordingly. It is also fairly simple to assemble so you can get moving right out of the box!
If you are looking for something that is small and compact and doesn’t take up a lot of room in your home, this is a great option. Not only is it small and compact, but it also comes in at one of the most affordable price points of any machine on the market.
3. Vive Pedal Exerciser
Works arms and legs
If you don’t like the idea of spending an afternoon putting together a large machine, this small and compact design from Vive ships completely assembled. It boasts a design that allows you to change up your workouts depending upon how you feel that day. Plus, it’s super small so you can tuck it behind your sofa after you’re done working out for the day.Read more
This compact machine is able to be used while sitting on the sofa or any chair to offer a great workout for your legs and elevating your heart rate. What we love about this design is that you can also place it on a table and use it to work out your arms as well.
On the center of the unit is a small LCD screen that records rotations as well as your speed in large and easy to read numbers. The knob on the front allows users to adjust the tension on the line to really concentrate on strengthening muscles in your arms or legs.
What we loved most about this compact design is that it comes in at an incredibly affordable price point. If you don’t have a lot of extra cash to spend on new workout equipment, this pedal exerciser from Vive is one of the most affordable (and effective) options without breaking the bank.
4. Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine
A rowing machine is a great option for older users because it is very low impact and easy to use. It provides riders with a full-body workout that targets multiple large muscle groups with minimal impact on knees, hips, and backs. This design is composed of quality materials and it is simple to make an adjustment to increase or decrease the intensity of your workout.Read more
The reason that we selected this design from Sunny Health & Fitness for our older readers is that it is incredibly stable. The pedals hold your feet securely in place with the use of velcro bands that prevent your feet from slipping as you start to fatigue.
A wide and cushioned seat contours to the shape of your body for a comfortable ride. The handlebars are wrapped in EVA foam that is comfortable and prevents slipping. The central LCD screen displays your strokes, times used, and distance in easy to read numbers.
Full-body workouts aren’t limited to treadmills or bikes! If you want to engage in an exercise that is more exciting than walking or riding, a rowing machine is an excellent alternative. We selected this design from Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing because it provides users with a secure frame that really engages all muscle groups without putting a strain on your joints.
5. Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer
Kind to joints
Easy to use
Difficult to assemble
What we loved most about this design from Teeter is that it is a marriage between a recumbent bike and elliptical. If you love the idea of an elliptical but you are a little unsteady on your feet, this innovative and smart design is worth checking out! It may come at a higher price point than most, but we feel that the added cost is well worth it.Read more
This machine not only helps build muscle in your legs, but the swinging handlebars help build muscle in your arms as well. Using this machine works all of the large muscle groups in your body while also elevating your heart rate. The recumbent seat cradles your body to protect your lower back and hips as you burn calories.
This design also utilizes a central screen details time, speed, distance, as well as calories burned. It also boasts a smartphone or tablet stand above the screen that allows users to listen to music or watch a screaming service while working out!
The price tag of this machine is a little bit higher than some of the other options out there on the market, but we feel the added cost is well worth it! It works all of the large muscle groups in your body while providing a comfortable ride and being kind to your hips, lower pack, and knees.
6. Bionic Body Mini Stepper
This option from Bionic Body is the Cadillac of all elliptical steppers. It boasts a sleek frame that is incredibly sturdy and won’t shift around as you use it. Smart features on the side and outside help to get a full-body workout with a small and compact device. The only downside to this option is that it is pretty expensive.Read more
It uses magnetic resistance to increase intensity. Instead of using a knob, the magnetic resistance is increased or decreased using a lever along the front side of the unit. It also has a small LCD screen that keeps track of your rotations as well as speed.
This model also comes with a pair of resistance handles to engage the muscles in your arms as you use it. These resistance bands are affixed to the back of the unit and stretch as you lift your arms. If you don’t want to work your arms, the bands are also able to simply be removed.
For those in the market for something that offers excellent resistance and is easy to use, this is a great option. It has a small footprint that doesn’t take up that much room in your home and comes with tools to work out more muscles than your legs. It may cost quite a bit more than similar designs, but the added cost is well worth it!
7. KLB Sport Workout Aerobic Stepper
Sometimes, it’s best to go back to basics! In a world of bulky and expensive workout gear, some of the best tools to have on hand are the simplest. What we loved about this stepper is that it doesn’t require a power source or any assembly. Simply take it out of the box and get to work!Read more
What makes this stepper stand out from the rest is that users have the option to adjust the height of the box. If you are a little unsteady on your feet, place the box at the lowest setting until you are ready to work up to higher settings.
It is composed of a super sturdy plastic frame that can hold up to 550 pounds! The stable base will not shift around on the floor as you use it, so you can feel comfortable to increase the intensity. It also boasts a grippy surface to reduce the risk of slipping.
If you are a little unsteady on your feet. We recommend using this device with the air of a high-backed chair or against a wall for added support. This device works out the muscles in your legs and glutes, and is a great way to elevate your heart rate while standing in front of the television!
Easy to use
What we liked most about this bike is that it is equipped with a stable work surface to work on projects, journals, or even read a book on the desk that is affixed to the handlebars. Plus, it has a super comfortable and supportive seat to protect your lower back and hips, and a stable frame for easy use.Read more
It has a pair of pedals with straps that keep your feet securely in place. It has the frame of a standard upright bike with a super comfortable and supportive seat often found on recumbent bikes. If you want the function of an upright bike with the comfort and support of a recumbent bike, this is a great option.
The thing that users love most about this design is the wide desk on the front. This desk allows you to work on projects on a wide surface while you elevate your heart rate and build muscles in your legs at the same time. A knob on the bottom of the desk allows you to adjust the height for the perfect fit for your body type.
If you are in the market for something that is a little bit different, the FitDesk is worth a look. It provides users with all of the important features of an upright bike with added support from a comfortable and padded seat. Plus, it boasts a price tag that is more approachable when compared to other recumbent bikes.
9. OYO Personal Gym
Easy to use
Joints often become overworked and fatigued as we age because we lack the muscle mass to support our joints as well as our bones. With added muscle, it takes the pressure off of the more vulnerable points in your body that often become inflamed. That’s why we wanted to include a device that helps you build muscle safely and effectively.Read more
The OYO Personal Gym is great because it uses SpiraFlex tension technology to build muscle without the use of weights. Using dumbbells when you aren’t used to them can actually cause more harm than good if you aren’t careful. This compact device engages your muscles without added weighted strain to your tendons and bones!
What we loved most about this design is that it is super compact and won’t take up that much room in your home. You can even use it while you watch TV without getting off the sofa. A wide variety of workout options works for muscle groups such as your chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps, and lats.
If you are in the market for something that helps you build muscle safely and effectively, this little device from OYO is a great option! It is small and compact, engages a large number of muscle groups, and perfect for those that want to build muscle without the risk of potential injury.
10. Goplus Electric Recovery Treadmill
Easy to assemble
Adjustable digital speed
Unreliable control panel
A good treadmill is a great way to keep active and your heart pumping safely and with minimal risk of injury. For seniors, there are a few features that you need to keep an eye on when selecting a machine. This design from Goplus provides users with all of the tools they need to stay active safely.Read more
Long handlebars are important to ensure you can climb aboard the machine without the risk of falling. The handlebars on this design run all the way to the back of the belt to make it easier to climb aboard. The belt measures to be 15 inches wide, which is slightly more narrow than most standard designs.
It also boasts a small LCD screen that is super easy to use. YOu can adjust the speed by simply pressing the increase or decrease buttons on the front of the unit. Users can toggle between important information that includes calories burned, speed, and time in use.
If you are in the market for something simple, safe and effective, this design from Goplus is a great choice. Users found that this model is super easy to put together so you can start putting miles behind you right out of the box.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
At the end of the day, you just want to see results. Machines that are effective at raising your heart rate and getting blood pumping through your body was our number one concern.
We wanted to select exercise equipment for seniors that are not only easy to use but also help you hit your target heart rate. Below, we wanted to get into a few details of what we felt made a machine effective.
Targeted muscle groups were the very first thing that we considered. The more muscle groups that light up when you work out, the harder your heart needs to pump. Machines that target the upper and lower body means that you will burn more calories at the end of the day.
Machines such as ellipticals or bikes with moving handlebars help activate all of the muscles in your upper and lower body. That’s why we make sure that we select machines that activate multiple muscle groups at the same time.
If you want to build muscles, dumbbells may not be ideal, especially for novices. For building muscle, resistance training is your best bet. That’s why we selected machines that use cables and resistance bands to help build muscles without the risk of injury.
Not all homes are created equal, and it was something we kept in mind. If you are working with very limited space, we wanted to ensure that we selected designs to accommodate each and every home gym.
The good news here is that there is more than one way to get in shape! There are tons of machines designed to deliver an excellent workout in a small space.
If you feel that your home is so small that you never imagined being able to purchase workout equipment, the mini stepper is your best option. These machines provide users with the same range of motion as an elliptical or bike, sans the handlebars. This means that you need to procure your own seat or method of balance, but the price tag is often 5 times less expensive!
The various designs of bikes, treadmills, and rowers will take up quite a bit of floor space in your home. If you don’t like the idea of a big and heavy permanent fixture in your home gym or your living room, look for wheels! Many of the large pieces come equipped with a set of small wheels on the back of the unit that makes moving your device from space to space a lot easier than dragging it.
Key features help you get the most out of your time working out from home.
While some features might be a little over the top for simple use at home, there were some designs that offered really helpful additions that help you get the most out of your workouts at home. Below, we wanted to go into a little bit of detail about the features we felt were the most important.
Calorie counter: Whether you are using a treadmill or a mini stepper, many of the LCD screen displays show users how many calories you have burned while using your device. This information is super important if your end game goal is to shed a few pounds for the summer.
It is important to note that these counters aren’t an exact science. Without knowing your age and weight, the counter provides a general range of calories you may have burned. In reality, you may be slightly below or slightly above, but we like that it provides you with a ballpark idea of how many donuts you can eat after your workout!
Handles and straps: Whether you're using a treadmill or a bike, it is super important that you stay stable and upright. For older users, it is important to keep yourself stable now more than ever.
That’s why we wanted to make sure that we selected devices with strong and steady handlebars that provide users with a lot of extra support. For bikes, this often means pedal straps that keep your feet securely in place as you start to pedal.
Ease of Use
If it’s not easy to use, you are less likely to lace your sneakers and get moving! That’s why it was important for us to select products that were not only easy to put together but were also super easy to use.
Before you get moving, you need to first put your device together. Many of the smaller units such as the mini steppers, come completely assembled in the box. For these machines, all you need to do is pull it out of the box, attach some rubber bumpers to the base and you are ready to go! If you hate putting things together, this is your best option.
Larger equipment often comes in pieces, and it is up to you to read through the instructions to get it set up and ready to go. It is important to note that if it isn’t assembled correctly, it won’t be as stable and parts may come unhinged as you start to use it. If you don’t like the idea of putting it together yourself, there are brands and companies that offer to put your machine together by an expert for a reasonable fee.
As far as daily use is concerned, we made sure to select products that didn’t get bogged down in advanced features that were difficult to use. This included LCD screen displays that have a myriad of features that you may never use. These features often come at a much higher price point, which is completely unnecessary if it is something that you may never use!
Super heavy equipment makes it difficult to move from place to place when you need a change of scenery.
We know that working out from home can sometimes seem a little dull. Lacing up your sneakers to stare at the wall of paint cans in your garage for 30 minutes can get a little repetitive over time.
Selecting devices that aren’t as heavy and dense means that you can easily move it to a different room when you are in dire need of new scenery (even if it’s just a different room in your home).
It’s worth noting, however, that lighter devices often mean that they can’t really accommodate heavier users. Many of the lighter machines out there on the market have a max weight capacity between around 165-200 pounds.
If you weigh over the capacity, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the bolts will fly off and it will fall apart. If you use a machine over the weight capacity, it means that your device won’t last quite as long, and it is more prone to breaking down over a shorter period.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
If you are worried about starting a new workout routine to shed pounds or build strength, be sure to ask your doctor first! Your doctor knows your current health history and can make recommendations on what type of routine will benefit you most. As with all workouts, be sure that you start slow and listen to your body so that you don’t suffer any injuries that will slow you down.
Staying healthy and active also has a lot to do with the food you eat. If you are increasing the minutes per day that you workout, you also need to ensure that you are fueling your body with the right food. While fruits and veggies are super important, be sure that you get enough protein as well. Protein helps build and repair muscles, so it’s important that you ensure your daily intake is higher than it was before you started working out.
If you have gone your whole life without so much as picking up a dumbbell, right now might not be the best time to start! Sure, you could start with a super like 5-pound options, but progress will be slow (and expensive) as you slowly add heavier dumbbells to your lineup. We recommend investing in resistance training machines such as cable machines to activate those muscle groups without dumping too much weight on your joints and bones.
Other Factors to Consider
As a senior, avoiding injury is important now more than ever. Injuries often take much longer to heal, and can really sideline you for longer than you would like. That’s why it is important to keep an eye on smart safety features to help keep you safe and active.
When looking at treadmills, long handlebars that run the length of the unit are key. This style of handlebars keeps users strong and steady on the feet while mounting the unit as well as when you turn the unit on to start moving.
An emergency stop on treadmills is also important. Emergency stops are often found as bright red clips with a magnetic mount. Users can clip these units to their workout clothes, and the moment the mount comes off from the magnetic base, the unit automatically shuts off to prevent you from falling.
When you are starting a new workout regimen, it is important to start slow, and stay safe. Be sure to read the user manual in its entirety to ensure that you don’t find yourself sidelined from an injury.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What features make equipment ideal for seniors?
There are two key features to consider before you select a device. First of all, it needs to be equipped with safety features to keep you on your feet. For treadmills, long handlebars or even on-ramps ensure that it is easy to climb on and off easily.
It is also important to select gear that isn’t too hard on your tired joints. Selecting bikes with a high and supportive back helps protect your lower back, hips, and even your knees.
If you want to build muscle, we recommend skipping the barbell weights. This doesn’t mean that building muscle is off the table, it just means you have to be more thoughtful when selecting machines!
For building muscle, we recommend gear that provides cable resistance training to engage your muscles without dumping too much weight on your tendons and bones.
q: What should I use if I want to burn calories?
If you have some extra pounds you need to shed, there are quite a few machines to help you safely achieve your weightless goals.
There is nothing better than a tried and tested treadmill. Walking just 30 minutes a day is a perfect way to reduce stress (which drives us to eat!), strengthen your heart, and help shed those stubborn pounds that just won’t seem to budge.
Anything that elevates your heart rate to your targeted level for weight loss is a perfect tool for shedding pounds. Machines such as bikes, rowers, and ellipticals are all excellent solutions to fit back into your favorite retired jeans again!
q: What should my target heart rate be for the best results?
For optimal results, your heart rate should land somewhere between 50-80 percent of your maximum rate. There are a ton of heart rate calculators on the web that allows users to type in their age to get an idea of what their heart rate should be.
A 75-year-old, for example, needs to elevator their heart rate to around 72 beats per minute for the best results. It is recommended that you elevate your heart rate to your targeted zone for about 20 minutes per day to shed pounds.
If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, there are various designs out there on the market that come in at an affordable price point to keep tabs on your heart as you work out. Many machines also come equipped with a built-in heart rate monitor to track your heart rate as you work out.
q: Do I still need to clean them?
Yes! Even if you are working out from home and you are the only one using your device, regular cleaning is still important for most devices. Sweat, body oils, and debris that collect on the surface of your device wear down the integrity of the fabric or plastic which can limit the life of your gear.
To ensure that your machine holds up for years of continued use, be sure you wide it down after every workout! If you have disinfectant wipes on hand, those work wonderfully at killing bacteria on the surface. If you don’t have any wipes, no need to worry! A damp cloth works great at cleaning your device as well.
For treadmills, rowers, and bikes, annual cleaning is also important. A few times a month, it is important to take apart your unit and clean all of the internal components such as the belt and the flywheel of any dirt and debris that may collect on the inside that causes squeaking.
q: What machine is best if I’m on a budget?
If money is tight, there are tons of effective devices to get your heart pumping without draining your bank account! One of the most popular devices is the mini stepper. Not only are these machines affordable, but they also don’t take up all that much space in your home.
A mini stepper has the same general benefits as an elliptical or even a bike, but they do not include a seat or a pair of handlebars. Users can elect to use these devices while standing up to get your heart pumping and build muscle in your legs and glutes.
If you are a little unsteady on your feet, you can also use these devices while sitting in a chair as well. Plus, many of them can also be placed on a table to engage your arms muscles as well.
When you take into consideration that these devices work your arms and legs while also elevating your heart rate, you get the biggest bang for your buck with a mini stepper!
q: Is it safe to lift weights?
If you have never lifted weights before and want to build muscle, it’s important that you keep a few things in mind. Jumping right into weighted dumbbell work when you have no prior experience is a recipe for an injury. When you lift heavier than your muscles can handle, it dumps the weight onto your tendons and bones. Not good!
However, there are more ways to build muscles other than dumbbells! Resistance training is a perfect way to engage your muscles without putting a strain on your bones and joints. Equipment such as cable training ensures that you engage your muscles without dumping weight onto your bones.
The OYO Personal Gym is the perfect tool for building muscle in your arms. It uses a series of resistance cables that engage your muscles in a myriad of ways. With this small and compact device, you can engage big muscle groups such as shoulders, lats, and chest, as well as smaller groups such as triceps and biceps.