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As we get older, it is more important than ever to stay active and remain physically fit. While there are many options when it comes to exercising, like walking or swimming, many of these require heading out of the house. Using exercise equipment means you can work out from the comfort of your own home. The good news is that there are many types of exercise equipment to choose from.
Benefits of Exercising at Home for Seniors
We all love the comfort and safety of being at home, and staying in shape doesn’t mean that you have to go to the gym or local leisure center. One of the great things about working out at home is that you don’t need to worry about going out in bad weather, which is not only unpleasant but could pose a safety risk; snow, ice, wet sidewalks – they’re all trip hazards. But, if the sun does come out, you can make use of your garden or terrace and get some fresh air while you exercise.
In addition to this, you have all of your own creature comforts. Your bathroom is nearby, and your kitchen is easily accessible for when you need to refill your water bottle. What’s more, you’ll be able to put on your favorite music or movie to enjoy as you get fit.
For many people, going to workout classes is fraught with embarrassment. Whether it’s feeling self-conscious about your weight, worrying about your ability to keep up, or feeling worried about taking your clothes off in front of strangers; all of these concerns are eliminated by working out at home.
One of the biggest benefits of working out at home is that you won’t need to pay expensive membership fees or class fees. While there may be an initial cost associated with buying the equipment, this is a one-off investment. It’s as close to a free workout routine that you could get!
How to Prevent Injuries While Exercising at Home?
Exercising is incredibly important for your physical fitness and your mental wellbeing, but it’s no secret that, unless done correctly, there is a risk of injury. Before starting your home exercise program, be sure to take some of the following safety tips into account:
- Don’t expect too much from yourself too soon. It is far better to start slowly and ease into more difficult things down the line as opposed to pushing yourself and straining a muscle or causing an injury.
- Listen to your body. If you notice any unusual sensations, pain, or things like chest tightness and dizziness, cease the workout and speak with your doctor. It’s also a good idea to talk to your doctor beforehand, who will be able to assess your physical abilities and suggest a safe workout program for you.
- Before beginning your workout, be sure to warm up and stretch your muscles. When you are done, cool-down stretches will eliminate the likelihood of muscle soreness.
- Make sure that you wear appropriate exercise attire. Well-fitting shoes are a must to ensure comfort and good grip on the ground or surface you are working out on. You should avoid wearing jewelry or loose-fitting clothing as these things may catch on the equipment.
- It’s important to stay hydrated when working out, so always have a fresh bottle of water to hand and take regular sips.
- Finally, make sure that you have adequate space in your workout area. Ensure that there are no pieces of furniture that you may bump into and that you are not exercising on loose carpets or rugs.
Tips for Exercising at Home for Seniors
While thinking about your safety is one of the most important parts of starting a workout routine at home, there are other things you can do to ensure you get the most out of your physical activity.
Set Realistic Goals
It’s easy to try to push yourself to achieve too much too soon. Whether you are looking to increase your daily step count, lose weight, boost your cardio health, or strengthen your muscles; these things take time.
You will find that by setting small goals that are easier to achieve, you will feel more rewarded by your progress. Eventually, all of those little steps will add up to you meeting your end goals.
Keep Track Of Your Progress
Only you can be held accountable for whether you follow your exercise routine or not, and a great way to hold yourself to your promises is by tracking what you do.
You can use something as simple as a calendar or a notebook to record what exercise you do each day, or you might opt for one of the many smartwatches or fitness trackers available. These devices keep track of your workouts for you and allow you access to information on things like step count, calories burned, distance covered, and much more. As you see your progress, this can act as a motivator, boosting you to achieve more.
Mix It Up
Exercise can feel intimidating if you haven’t done it before, and for many people, doing the same activities day in, day out can become monotonous. This is one of the main reasons that people ditch their programs and stop working out.
To keep things fun, choose a few different types of exercise that you enjoy and can do and rotate these over the course of the week or month.
You might choose to follow a class on YouTube or another internet platform. There are lots of smartphone or tablet apps that feature different types of workouts. This is great if you need a little motivation but will also provide you with the best way to perform a certain exercise, making it much safer.
Entertain Yourself While Exercising
When you’re working out, it isn’t unusual to start feeling a little bored. Keep boredom at bay by combining exercise with other fun activities. You might listen to an audiobook, sing along to your favorite songs, or even put a movie on in the background. Chances are that you’ll enjoy yourself so much, you’ll achieve more than you initially imagined.
Choose a Dedicated Workout Space
The great thing about working out at home is that you don’t need space for a home gym; most experts claim that you need an area no larger than a yoga mat to successfully work out. But the important thing is to choose a dedicated space.
You can choose anywhere in your home, provided that it is safe, but having this special exercise space will allow you to adapt it, so it is as safe as possible. Remove all trip hazards and make sure that you always have your phone nearby in case you have an accident and need to call for help.
Make It a Routine
One of the main reasons that so many people end up falling out of love with their workout routines is because they don’t treat them as what they are; a routine! You have certain times of the day that you perform different tasks; lunchtime, TV time, shower time, bedtime etc, so it’s important to block out a special time for exercise.
You’ll find that this allows you to much more easily incorporate it into your day, as you won’t be scrambling trying to fit it into a potentially already busy schedule. It can help to do your workout at the same time each day. Maybe you can fit in half an hour before breakfast, or perhaps working out mid-afternoon suits you better; soon, it’ll become part of your normal day-to-day routine.
Follow Doctor’s Orders
As seniors, many of us have certain health conditions that limit our ability to do some things. That’s OK, there are still plenty of ways you can exercise, but it is crucial that you listen to medical advice. If, for example, you have recently had surgery and have been advised not to put strain on a certain part of your body; don’t do it.
If you have a disability, balance problems, or cognitive issues that might limit your ability to perform certain workouts, don’t attempt these. Speak to your healthcare provider and they will be able to advise you on the best type of safe exercise for you.
Aerobic Home Exercise Equipment
They say that exercise should increase your heart rate, and aerobic workouts will achieve this. Sometimes called endurance exercises, these types of workouts are essential for good heart health, and there have been studies that have shown aerobic exercise may even lower the risk of certain cancers.
The recumbent exercise bike allows the user to sit back and pedal while still gaining all the benefits of cycling. It has been proven that cycling is one of the best ways to maintain good heart health, which is great for older adults who might have circulatory problems or a history of heart problems. Moreover, there is evidence to suggest that bicycling is a good way to improve balance which is something that many seniors struggle with.
If you have enjoyed cycling on an upright bicycle but find that, as you have gotten older, this is not as easy, recumbent bicycling allows you to still enjoy the workout with greater ease and support. What’s more, the seat is much larger meaning it’ll be more comfortable to exercise.
Where a standard exercise bike might put a lot of strain on the joints, a recumbent bike is far gentler, allowing for a low-impact cardio workout. It’s an excellent option for people who may have pain due to conditions like osteoporosis or arthritis.
When choosing a recumbent bicycle for seniors, you should look for ones that have secure pedal straps to prevent accidents. It’s also a good idea to source a bike whose seat can be adjusted for maximum comfort and to reduce pressure on the hips.
While it might appear that rowing only works out the upper body, this is a common misconception. This type of exercise works out all the muscle groups and counts as a cardio session. But what’s most impressive about rowing is that it can be done by people from all age groups and all fitness levels.
If you are looking to lose weight, then a rowing machine might be a good option, since one study demonstrated a significant loss of body fat when participants rowed for just five days a week. Even for seniors, rowing is a good option since it is considered to be a low-impact workout meaning that it won’t put too much pressure on the joints and may be beneficial to those with pain or joint problems.
For seniors who have a busy lifestyle, rowing doesn’t need to be a long workout. Just 15 minutes a day can be advantageous, and most rowing machines have built-in trackers so you can see exactly what you have achieved. However, you should be mindful to choose a machine that allows you to set the pressure and repetition amounts in line with your abilities to avoid straining yourself.
If you like the idea of walking or jogging but find it difficult to get out of the house, then a treadmill might be the best option for you. These pieces of equipment may not be suitable for seniors who have balance issues as you will need to be able to hold yourself steady while using them. However, for those with minor balance issues, there are treadmills that come with rails. In any case, these are a wise choice for seniors as they reduce the risk of falls.
Research shows that seniors who take part in jogging, whether out and about or using a treadmill, may be able to improve their ability to walk to match that of a twenty-something year old. Not only this but using a treadmill will target all of the key muscle groups associated with improved balance. If all of that wasn’t enough, it has been demonstrated that a treadmill may be more effective in burning calories than other types of exercise.
For older adults who struggle to get to grips with more complex exercise equipment, the treadmill provides a user-friendly option that allows for a cardio workout.
When choosing a treadmill, you should look for a machine that provides you with detailed information on the workout, such as how many calories you have burned, the distance you have covered, and your average speed. It’s also worth looking for treadmills with pre-programmed workouts so you can adjust the exercise to suit your physical abilities. We would also suggest selecting a treadmill with a shock-absorbing platform, as this will reduce the impact on your joints; especially important if you have a condition like arthritis.
For seniors who have problems with their joints, especially the knees and hips, things like treadmills may be too high impact. An elliptical trainer has been shown to put much less stress on these joints and so may be better for people suffering from joint conditions.
Since this type of equipment requires the user to stand upright, more calories will be burned. Many elliptical trainers come with handles so the arms and legs can be worked out together. This targets more muscle groups as well as giving you a cardio workout, making them versatile machines.
It is worth noting that elliptical trainers may not be the most suitable option for seniors with a disability or physical limitation that may make it more difficult to safely get on and off the equipment. You may also find that, if you have balance issues, it may be too difficult to stand on the trainer.
Depending on your needs, you can find elliptical trainers that can be programmed to suit you. You may be able to increase/decrease the incline, set a timer, and boost your heart rate through slightly more intense periods during the program. Always remember to choose a program that you can safely complete.
Balance Home Exercise Equipment
A lot of older adults have problems where balance is concerned, but working out can improve this. This is because working out can make you more agile, so not only will it improve your balance but other physical aspects as well. These exercises will improve your lower body strength and may help to prevent trips and falls.
Exercise Stability Ball
While the stability ball may be a simple piece of equipment, it is a versatile one that comes with many benefits. The great thing is that there are a lot of exercises you can do with the ball, including thigh squeezes, chest presses, arm lifts, and many more. One of the biggest benefits is that working out with a ball will improve your core strength, which in turn, helps improve balance.
The stability ball is great for seniors as it provides a low-impact workout that is fun and can improve your flexibility, and according to experts, may help to reduce the chance of falls. What’s more, is that this type of equipment is very affordable, so is suitable for people on a budget.
Even for seniors whose mobility is limited, the very act of sitting on a stability ball is considered to be an exercise.
It is shocking to learn that as many as a third of all adults over the age of 65 have a fall of some sort each year in the USA. But using a balance board may improve your balance and lower your risk of falling. They are also an excellent option for improving strength and, while it may come as a surprise, can actually work out several different muscle groups, including your core.
The effectiveness of balance boards has been noted in various studies which have demonstrated that balance in older adults is improved after repeated use. This low impact workout is great for improving flexibility and stamina and is ideal for small spaces.
If you are keen to try this type of equipment, it’s important to make sure that you choose a balance board with a large enough surface area to support you. Moreover, you should ensure that the board sits securely on the floor to prevent accidents. You should be able to adjust the tilt, and this will increase or decrease the difficulty.
Strength Training Home Exercise Equipment
If you don’t want to lose your independence as you get older, staying strong is imperative. Strength training can improve things like balance and muscle mass which may decrease the chances of you having a fall.
A vibration plate is a simple form of exercise that is done while sitting, standing, or lying on a vibrating platform that sends waves through the body.
In recent years vibration plates have become a favorite for those looking to lose weight. However, there are many more benefits associated with this type of exercise, and for seniors, the advantages are quite impressive.
For example, it has been demonstrated that using a vibration plate might improve circulation, flexibility, and reduce soreness in the muscles. In addition to this, muscle strength appears to be improved with regular vibration training, and balance becomes more stable as a result of this.
While the benefits are clear, there are some people that should not opt for this type of exercise including those with a pacemaker, have an acute hernia, are recovering from surgery, suffer from cancer, migraines, epilepsy or cardiovascular disease, and people who have had hip or knee replacements.
A resistance band is often used in physical rehabilitation and is a latex band that can be stretched. This simple piece of equipment is ideal for combining strength training with a cardio workout and is incredibly versatile. You can do many different types of exercise with it, including bent-over rowing, chest pull, squats, bicep curls, and many more.
This type of equipment is compact, so ideal for seniors who don’t have the space to dedicate to larger exercise machines. It’s also a very affordable method of working out and yet still allows you to exercise your entire body!
A lot of studies have taken place concerning the effectiveness of the resistance band. It is interesting to see that resistance training does not only help physical health but psychological health as well.
When choosing resistance bands, it is important to select one with the right level of resistance for you. They are typically color-coded in yellow, red, green, blue, black, and silver, with each color being more resistant than the last.
Dumbbells are an excellent way of creating your own weight training routine at home. There are several benefits to using this type of equipment, including strength building and maintaining a healthy weight. In addition to this, working out with dumbbells can improve the health of your joints, so may be beneficial to those with joint conditions.
In seniors, balance can often be an issue, but using dumbbells may be a viable way of improving this as well as improving flexibility. But the key advantage of this type of exercise is an increase in strength in the upper and lower body, with evidence suggesting that the triceps and leg muscles are most improved.
But what is most interesting of all is that there has been research to demonstrate that engaging in strength training, such as using dumbbells may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
It is important to choose dumbbells that are the right weight for you to avoid straining yourself or sustaining an injury.
Kettlebells are a brilliant source of exercise for seniors and there are many benefits involved. One of the most notable is that this type of exercise can improve bone density which is excellent news to people with conditions like osteoporosis.
Another advantage is that kettlebell training can help to improve your posture and is a great choice for people looking to build their strength. As a direct result of these things, you may notice significant improvements in your balance.
Kettlebells offer a versatile way of working out since there are so many different types of exercise you can do with them. Everything from squats and thrusts to deadlifts and rows give you a way of creating a varied and interesting workout routine that remains enjoyable.
In much, the same way as choosing dumbbells requires careful selection. You should make sure that the kettlebells you use are in line with your physical abilities.
As we get older, it’s common for us to lose some of our grip strength, but certain exercises can help to maintain this. Surprisingly, studies have shown that there is a connection between grip strength and visual memory as well as other cognitive functions.
Improving your grip strength can also benefit you in a variety of physical ways. For example, regular grip exercises may decrease the risk of joint conditions, including arthritis. Even more interesting is that there has been a correlation between grip strength and a lowered risk of heart disease!
It’s important to begin working on grip strength as early as possible. Research has demonstrated that your grip strength from middle age can be a good indicator as to your physical health and your chances of disability as an older adult.
What’s brilliant about this type of exercise is that you are not limited on what or how much you can do. The more you engage in this type of exercise, the easier you will find day-to-day tasks that involve the use of the hands.
How to Choose the Best Senior Home Fitness Equipment
When it comes to choosing the right equipment for home fitness, there are some things that you should consider. This will ensure that you get the most out of your equipment and can use it safely.
- Think about the type of exercise that you want to do. If you are looking for a cardio workout, then something like a treadmill or elliptical trainer might be best. For strength, weight training or resistance bands are a good option, whereas those looking for a total body workout might do well with something like a rowing machine.
- You may wish to consider what space you have available in your home. If you have an entire room to dedicate to exercising, then you will be able to choose a larger piece of equipment like a recumbent bike or elliptical trainer. However, it’s important to keep in mind that many of these pieces of equipment can be collapsed for easier storage. Those with limited space may want to think about choosing more compact equipment such as a vibration plate or kettlebells.
- Be sure to take your physical abilities and limitations into account. It’s crucial not to choose exercise equipment that you will struggle to use as this may lead to an injury. When starting out, let yourself build up slowly; don’t try to go from 0-100 in the first session. Having equipment that adapts with you as you grow in strength and stamina is a good idea.
- More than anything, you should enjoy your exercise, so make sure that you choose equipment that you have fun using and that fits in with your preferences. Otherwise, you may find that it simply sits gathering dust in the corner.