Benefits of a Home Gym for Older Adults
Many older adults are unable to access a gym or fitness center, for a multitude of reasons. The wide range of exercises offered by gyms are difficult to match with smaller fitness equipment, leading some to invest in home gym equipment such as treadmills or ellipticals. However, those aren’t the only kinds of home gym equipment. Home gym equipment can help older adults achieve their fitness goals, whether it’s building strength, improving flexibility, or whatever other goals one might have.
The convenience of home gyms are unmatched, allowing people to get a complete workout in from the comforts of their home. Many older people struggle to find fitness routines that feel right for them. This can be made much easier with the wide range of options that a home gym provides.
What factors should be considered while shopping?
There are two main factors that should be considered while shopping for home gym equipment.
- The first factor to consider is what exercises will be most safe and effective. Many older adults have conditions that may affect their ability to perform certain exercises. This should be taken into consideration while purchasing. For those with upper body limitations, a treadmill or stationary cycle may be best, as it allows them to build strength and aerobic ability while limiting the importance of upper body muscles. This goes opposite for lower body limitations, which would mean something like an elliptical or all-in-one machine would be more appropriate. Talking with a doctor or physician is a great way to determine safe and effective fitness goals.
- The second consideration one must make is how much space they have available for home gym equipment. For those with limited space, smaller tools such as resistance bands or foldable versions of larger equipment will work best. For those with unlimited space, there will be a much wider range of options available. The best part of home gym equipment for older adults is how it can fit into their needs and space.
We’ve sorted the machines below by which type of exercise they’ll help you achieve.
What Equipment NOT to Buy for Older Adults
There are some types of home gym equipment that require very specific movements, such as “all-in-one” strength training machines like a Bowflex. As these machines require very specific repeated movements, they won’t work well for older adults that may have mobility limitations or other range of motion restrictions. Training strength using free weights like dumbbells often works better for older adults, as they can adjust which exercises they perform for their own specific limitations.
Aerobic Exercise Machines
There are many different machines that can help with aerobic exercises, and the right one comes down to individual needs and fitness goals. For those looking to protect their joints an elliptical or cycle is better, as it doesn’t create repeated impacts on the joints like a treadmill does.
This treadmill is specifically built for older adults. It has a much lower deck than other treadmills, making it easier to step onto. It also has guardrails on both sides, making it an extremely safe option for aerobic exercises.
This folding treadmill is easy to pack and store, and comes with the ability to use with or without the upper handrails. The main downside of folding treadmills is they lack the full-length guardrails preferred by some older adults.
Other Fitness Tools
While most people start their home gym off with something that makes aerobic exercise more convenient, there are also options for building strength or increasing flexibility. We’ve highlighted a few larger pieces that would help build a “home gym” room in, but we also have guides for smaller pieces of equipment that will help in building strength or other goals.