The Best Exercise Equipment for Seniors & Machines Reviewed 2020

Are you looking to get more fit in your later years?

With the new year, my father was on the hunt for exercise equipment to get himself back into a little bit of shape.

So, I helped him out. I did some research. And I narrowed down the best exercise equipment for seniors.

In this article, I’ll outline the best cardio machines for seniors, the best at-home exercise equipment for seniors, and the pros and cons of each piece of equipment.

Ellipticals

What’s the elliptical got that other options don’t?

Find out below as we take a look at the best elliptical machines for seniors.

elliptical trainer against a brick wall at home gym

Elliptical Pros

  • Improves balance, preventing falls.
  • Increases endurance.
  • Has handles to hold on for extra stability.
  • Burns calories
  • Improves the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, preventing heart or respiratory diseases.
  • It’s low-impact, meaning it’s easy on the joints.

Elliptical Cons

  • The movement isn’t exactly natural.
  • It offers only a limited range of motion.
  • Elliptical trainers can be expensive, but if you use it enough, they can also be entirely affordable when compared to a gym membership.

Elliptical Workouts

Psst… cardio doesn’t have to be boring. Check out tricks and tips below that you can include when working out on your elliptical to make things more exciting.

And don’t forget to mix it up. Try different moves for different durations. Keep things interesting.

Best Ellipticals for Seniors

Sole E35 Elliptical Trainer System

What makes this one so special?

It’s all about the features.

The Sole E35 has adjustable pedals, stride length, and incline. You can progressively challenge yourself.

And that’s not all…

There’s more. It further has a chest strap heart rate monitor, handlebar pulse grip, a built-in fan, water bottle holder, and a sound system.

Yet, it is a higher quality elliptical, meaning it isn’t the most affordable option. But on the other hand, you do get a lot for your money.

Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer

Don’t bash it until you try it!

I know this one looks like a bike – but it’s a cross between an elliptical and a recumbent bike.

So, why did this product make the list?

It’s the perfect exercise equipment for seniors. It’s comfortable. It’s easy on the joints. And it’s a good workout that engages your full body.

The other cool part? You can isolate your arms or legs depending on the program you select.

It’s further slightly more affordable than a regular elliptical and is much more versatile.

Nautilus E616 Elliptical Trainer

We’re back to the classics. This elliptical trainer has an abundant amount of features, including an adjustable fan, Bluetooth, a training app, a media shelf, mp3 input, and a USB media charging port.

But get this:

It has ergonomically placed padded moving and static handlebars offering many different hand positions and even more comfort.

It’s further a very durable option and has 29 different programs available to try.

Cubii Pro – Under-Desk Elliptical

Under-the-desk ellipticals are great options for home offices. They’re easy on the joints and allow you to get fit while you sit.

This under-desk elliptical, in particular, connects with Fitbit. If you’re looking to get in your 10 000 steps per day, this might be the elliptical for you.

But there’s more…

It’s also a good option for seniors recovering from an illness or in bad health. It’s low impact, and even when a person is barred from exercise, it’s still a way to get a little movement in.

However, always ensure you check with your doctor before trying any new piece of exercising equipment.

The Takeaway

Ellipticals provide optimal comfort for the joints with low-impact. They can also provide a great calorie-torching workout.

However, some consumers have reported hip or knee issues from using elliptical machines. The unnatural movement may aggravate previous hip or knee problems.

It also doesn’t target the full range of motion. Consider the pros and cons before making your choice.

Treadmills

Close up shot of woman leg running on a incline treadmill

Walking is one of the best cardio choices out there. It’s also easy-on-the joints. It also comes with a ton of benefits, as listed below.

Is a treadmill right for you and your life?

Treadmill Pros

  • It benefits the heart and respiratory system.
  • It doesn’t place much stress on the joints.
  • You can still go for a walk even when the weather is bad.

Treadmill Cons

  • Can be boring for some.
  • You don’t use as many muscles as you do walking or running outside.

Treadmill Workouts

When it comes to varying your workouts on a treadmill, you can choose different intervals and speeds. You may also choose to walk sideways, although this should only be attempted by experienced and fit users.

Many seniors that use treadmills often set it up in front of a TV or read a book or magazine while they workout. You may also choose to listen to music or a podcast.

Again, it doesn’t have to be boring. Find ways to keep yourself motivated and to keep it interesting.

Best Treadmills for Seniors

ProForm Performance 300i Treadmill

For an affordable treadmill option with all the basics, the ProForm Performance 300i is it. The belt is cushioned, making it very comfortable for the feet and joints. It has a media shelf, along with built-in Bluetooth speakers.

Its top speed racks in at 10mph, which is great for those that want to use it for a brisk walk or light jog.

ProGear HCXL 4000

This treadmill doesn’t have as much power as the one above. Its top speed comes in at 4mph.

But…

The screen display makes it easy to see your statistics – even at a quick glance. The handlebars around the perimeter of the treadmill add extra safety. The speed controls are even accessible on these handlebars.

The downside?

Again, its top speed isn’t as fast. The belt is rather short compared to other treadmills. It also doesn’t have as much cushion on the belt as other options do.

GYMAX Walking Treadmill

This treadmill is made for walking. As such, it has good power for varying walking speeds. It’s a fairly lightweight machine. And the full-length handrails also provide safety and security, even at higher speeds.

The catch?

You won’t be able to see your walking stats and it has few extras. The actual belt is also fairly small and not meant for bigger individuals.

SereneLife Smart Digital Folding Treadmill

This treadmill is a good selection for those that definitely want to progress up to running strides. It also has a manual incline setting and button, 16 preset programs to choose from, and a big and visible display screen.

Another thing going for it?

It folds away for simple and easy storage. If you’re tight on space, this is a great one to consider.

The Takeaway

Treadmills are a simple and easy way to stay in shape, especially for seniors. Even when bad weather hits, you can still walk it out. Walking is easy on the joints and good for your body and mind.

However, if you like more of a challenge or get bored easily, a treadmill may not be the best option for you.

Recumbent Bikes

senior couple in gym doing cardio work out on recumbent bikes

The recumbent bike is frequently a go-to for the 60+ population.

Why?

Recumbent bikes save your back and knees, which are major problem areas for the senior population. Unlike some of the best indoor spinning bikes, recumbent bikes have a backrest, which provide additional support.

But let’s dive a little deeper. What are recumbent bikes pros and cons? Which type of recumbent bike is best for you?

Recumbent Bike Pros

  • It’s fairly safe to use.
  • It’s comfortable.
  • It’s easy-to-use.
  • It has back support, which spinning bikes do not have.

Recumbent Bike Cons

  • It often takes up a large amount of floor space.
  • Some find it fairly boring and not much of a challenge.

Recumbent Bike Workouts

Recumbent bikes don’t give you much to work with.

But…

You can vary your speed and resistance for different intervals and thus, make it more exciting. Many individuals also choose to read or watch TV while on their recumbent bike, again, making it a little more interesting.

All in all, the low impact and safety features are the main reasons why the recumbent bike is one of the best home exercise equipment for seniors.

Now, let’s take a look at the best ones on the market today.

Best Recumbent Bikes for Seniors

Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike

This bike is great for seniors and those bouncing back after a recent injury.

Its biggest and brightest feature?

It has one of the most comfortable seats when it comes to recumbent bikes. And that’s what makes it great for all ages.

The flywheel design also offers an easy start-up, eliminating the struggle to get the bike going.

The Bluetooth further allows you to sync up the bike with your Schwinn trainer app, which has a variety of programs and workouts specifically for seniors.

Exerpeutic 900XL Recumbent Bike

The Exerpeutic bike has an eight-level magnetic control system, which provides challenge and customization to your workout. The display is also easy-to-read, clearly indicating the time, distance, calories burned, speed, and heart rate.

And here’s the deal:

While it might not have any glory-worthy features exactly, the Exerpeutic bike does come in at an affordable price. For the money, you get what you pay for – an easy-to-use and fairly comfortable product.

So… if you’re on a budget, this is undoubtedly the best exercise machine for elderly individuals (and possibly the best recumbent bike option).

Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike ME-709

Don’t worry – if you’re on a budget, you’ve got even more options.

This bike offers padded seating, comfortable and stable pedals, and a smaller bike frame.

The downside to this one?

It doesn’t come with its own heart rate monitor.

Stamina Elite Total Body Recumbent Bike

This is a recumbent bike with a twist.

The catch?

It not only has pedals for your feet, but it also has hand pedals. In other words, you get to work both your upper and lower body all in one go.

It further adds another element to improve your balance. With the absence of handlebars, you must rely on your core and torso (as well as the backrest) to keep you stable.

Although, this bike likely isn’t for those that are looking to get back in shape. Instead, it’s more geared toward those seniors that have maintained a certain level of fitness as they’ve aged.

If you’re looking to get back in shape, the other recumbent bike options may prove to be more suitable.

Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike

The Exerpeutic brand also has a folding recumbent bike option. If you’re tight on space, folding exercise bikes are likely exactly what you need. They save space and are very affordable.

The seat and backrest are also padded, meaning it provides relative comfort to the rider. The display, similar to other recumbent bikes, is easy-to-read.

It allows you to track your distance, time, speed, calories, and heart rate.

The Takeaway

A recumbent bike is great for seniors who have knee, hip, or back problems. It offers a sturdy and safe device for exercise.

However, the type you choose may depend on the space available and whether or not you prefer certain features. It may also depend on your personal budget.

Rowing Machines

people working out on rowing machines in CrossFit gym

When is a rowing machine a good choice? Should you consider this piece of equipment for your home gym?

Find out by checking out the pros and cons, and the reviewed rowing machine options below.

Rowing Machine Pros

  • It burns calories.
  • The rowing machine is low impact.
  • It works out many major muscle groups.

Rowing Machine Cons

  • It takes up a lot of space.
  • It isn’t the best option for those who have had previous injuries, including back, knee, or hip problems.
  • There is a learning curve involved in using it.
  • It may make more noise than other equipment.

Rowing Machine Workouts

As far as the best exercise equipment for senior citizens goes, this one is highly underutilized. This is also another piece of equipment where you’ll likely want to be in fairly decent shape before using it. It isn’t exactly back-pain friendly.

Yet, if you’re new to the rowing machine, don’t worry. There are plenty of options, including variations and workouts described in the video below.

Best Rowing Machines for Seniors

Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Magnetic Rower

This rower isn’t just suitable for your typical row. In fact, this machine can be transformed into other set-ups where you can isolate your biceps, triceps, shoulders, thighs, and more.

The Bluetooth feature also makes it great for tracking your workouts each and every time.

Another great aspect?

The Fitness Reality rower has comfortable and padded seating, as well as anti-slip pedals. It’s also fairly affordable and very popular amongst consumers.

It’s also known for being on the quieter side for a rower – a few things to think about when you’re considering buying a rowing machine.

Sunny Health and Fitness Magnetic SF-RW5515 Rower

Sunny Health and Fitness is your friendly go-to brand. They’ve been around for over a decade. This is your basic no-fuss rower, which comes with foam grip handlebars, non-slip pedals, adjustable resistance, and a digital performance monitor.

Get this:

It’s also easy to store. It comes with transportation wheels, making it easy to put away when you need to. In other words, this is another great exercise equipment option if you’re tight on space and if you’re looking for a relatively affordable option.

Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine with PM5

This is the Olympic athlete go-to rower. However, this does mean that it can be a bit more expensive.

Yet, it does come highly recommended by pro athletes and coaches. It’s also highly durable.

What else has it got?

This rower has a higher seat, which makes it great for those with bad knees. The higher seat makes it easier to get in and out of, as well as provides more comfort when using it.

And there’s more…

It’s a fairly quiet rower as well. It has also got wheels making it easy to store away. And it’s further compatible with many different apps via Bluetooth, which means you can track your workout on your phone.

The Takeaway

The rowing machine is likely better for those that are already in decent shape. It does require a bit of learning to get used to proper form and usage.

However, it does work major muscle groups, including the core and back. It also torches major calories (often more than other cardio machines).

Free Weights

Rogue Dumbbells

The ultimate best exercise equipment for elderly individuals is free weights.

Why?

Because so many studies indicate the benefits of strength training as you age.

In fact, after the age of 30, you lose about 3-8% of muscle mass per decade. This rate goes up after the age of 60.

Yet, strength training via free weights combats this. It promotes the growth and maintenance of lean muscle mass. In turn, you can enter old age with as few aches and pains as possible.

But let’s define and refine these pros and cons a bit more. What’s the deal?

Free Weights Pros

  • There are endless options for different strength training exercises you can perform. This means it’s easy for anyone – no matter what shape you’re in – to make use of this type of equipment.
  • They’re easy to store. They can conveniently fit in a corner, against a wall, or even under a couch.
  • Strength training improves bone health and prevents muscle loss.
  • Free weights are some of the best pieces of exercise equipment for weight loss at home, as well as for maintaining a healthy weight.
  • They allow for a full range of motion, improving mobility and flexibility.

Free Weights Cons

  • There is a learning curve involved, including determining which exercises you should perform and how to perform them.
  • Because there is a learning curve, it may be easy to injure yourself.
  • You may need a spotter in some cases to train effectively and efficiently.

Free Weights Workouts

Again, there are so many options here. When starting out with free weights, it may be best to have a pro – such as a personal trainer – show you the ropes. That way, you can ensure you’re performing each exercise correctly. This also means you won’t risk injury.

An example of a quick 15 minutes workout for seniors includes the video below. Many good strengthening exercises include squats, deadlifts, core exercises, shoulder exercises, and postural exercises.

Best Free Weights for Seniors

CAP Barbell Dumbbell Set

Most free weight sets come with dumbbells ranging from 5 to 25 pounds. This one also comes with a rack for convenient and organized storage.

Why are these great for seniors?

Dumbbells are a great option for isolation exercises, as well as functional movement practices. They offer the most options for exercise. And this means that whether you have an injury or a “bad” side, you can likely still do something.

GYMAX Barbell Weight Set

Barbell sets are another option for free weights. However, they don’t offer as many options as dumbbells in terms of exercise variety.

Yet, they can help you load up on heavier weights as certain loads get easier.

The Takeaway

For the best of both worlds, getting both a dumbbell set and a barbell set is cheaper than any cardio machine. It may also be more beneficial for your overall health, especially as a senior.

In addition, there are many forms of free cardio, such as walking outside.

Resistance Bands

What about bands? Resistance bands are similar to free weights. They offer a way to build muscle and also come in a wide variety of resistances.

Resistance Bands Pros

  • They frequently involve some core engagement, meaning exercises using resistance bands contribute to better balance and stability.
  • They’re easy to store and convenient for traveling.
  • They provide less joint compression than free weights, which may be better for the senior population.
  • They’re entirely affordable.

Resistance Bands Cons

  • The user is limited by the resistance level of the bands.
  • There is a learning curve involved in using them.
  • It may make it difficult to track training (especially as the bands become worn, stretched, and used).

Resistance Bands Workouts

There are countless options for resistance bands workouts. For seniors, it’s likely you want to focus on shoulder strength (a common problem area), hip strength, core strength, and strength in the major muscles of the legs. This helps prevent injuries and aches or pains. It also allows you to age gracefully.

Check out the video below for an example of a resistance band workout for seniors.

Best Resistance Bands for Seniors

Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands

This loop resistance band set comes with five different levels. Start with the easiest one first and slowly progress for each exercise.

Not sure what exercises to do?

The Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands come with a free ebook. You can follow along with the ebook or use the printed instructional guide that also comes with the set.

TheraBand Resistance Band Set

This is more of a beginner set, coming with three different levels of bands. But if latex is a problem for you, this set is likely more preferable. It’s non-latex.

These are also not ‘loop’ bands, which means there are other exercise options available. Your decision on whether or not to go with loop or non-loop bands may depend on the type of exercises you want to perform and the areas of the body you want to target.

Non-loop bands offer more options. You can also tie them together to create loop bands if necessary.

The Takeaway

Resistance bands offer a more affordable alternative to free weights. They’re also slightly better for storage and for tight spaces.

Bands are further great for exercise options. There are a ton of different ways you can use them.

Stability Balls

You’ve probably seen on-the-ball classes at your local rec center. Stability balls are great for improving balance and more. See below for a complete list of pros and cons.

Stability Ball Pros

  • Improves core strength and balance.
  • Improves posture.
  • By performing strength training exercises on the ball, you may slightly increase your caloric burn.

Stability Ball Cons

  • It doesn’t provide support for the upper body or back, which may be an issue for some.
  • It may increase the risk of falling during exercise.

Stability Ball Workouts

There are a variety of exercises you can perform on or with a stability ball. In order to ensure you’re doing them correctly and to lower the risk of falls, I recommend checking out a class at your local gym or recreational center, or taking part in a session with a personal trainer to get the hang of it.

Best Stability Balls for Seniors

TheraBand Exercise Ball

It may take some time and effort to inflate this one. But it’s worth it.

This exercise ball is stable and durable. The material is also super grippy, so you won’t have to worry about any slippage.

Make sure you use the height versus ball size chart available on Amazon to guarantee that you order the right one.

Power Systems VersaBall

If you want an exercise ball that is more sturdy and offers the most support, the Power Systems VersaBall is your guy. Again, it may take some effort and power to inflate. Yet, that just proves its durability and toughness.

It’s also sold in many sizes so make sure you use the appropriate size for you.

The Takeaway

Exercise balls are a great exercise equipment option for seniors. They help work on balance and stability, which begin to falter with age. You can also perform a variety of other exercises while sitting on the ball itself.

But ultimately, the choice is yours. The best exercise equipment for seniors may depend on the person’s fitness level and situation.

Use the above information to determine what type of exercise equipment is best suited for you and your life – or your family member or friend.

Frequently Asked Questions

senior athletes exercising on step platforms at gym

What is the Best Exercise Equipment for Seniors?

An at-home gym consisting of weight training equipment is the perfect fit for seniors. If cardio outside isn’t an option, your gym should also include a cardio machine.

This ensures that you not only maintain muscle mass but also decreases your risk of heart disease or stroke.

How Often should Seniors Workout?

Experts recommend that individuals over the age of 65 get 2.5 hours of aerobic exercise per week. This equates to about 30 minutes a day. It’s further recommended that seniors participate in strength training 2 times a week.

What are the Best Strength Training Exercises for Seniors?

A few of the best strength training exercises for seniors include squats, wall push-ups, hip bridges, dead-bugs, and calf raises. These exercises target major muscle groups and the core, which helps prevent injuries, improve balance, and maintain muscle.

What are the Best Balance Exercises for Seniors?

As a senior, balance is an important aspect to consider in your overall exercise and fitness routine. As a person ages, balance decreases and falls become common. But you can practice and improve your balance via one-legged stance exercises.

Further, strengthening exercises like calf raises and squats can also improve your balance and stability.

Are Exercises Safe for those with Arthritis?

Absolutely! In fact, studies show that exercise can help manage arthritis pain. By strength training, you’ll build muscle and improve blood circulation. This muscle will support the joints. Improved circulation will help reduce inflammation.

What are Other Good Aerobic Exercises for Seniors?

Many popular aerobic options for seniors include classes, such as Zumba, dance, tai chi, aquatic classes, and more.

Look up gyms or recreational centers in your local area. Usually, they’ll have a list of classes.

Why do Seniors Need Exercise?

Individuals who exercise have a lower risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, obesity, specific cancers, and other chronic diseases. They further often have good blood pressure and improved bone density.

Overall, it frequently improves one’s health, life longevity, and quality of life.

Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden worked as a Rehab Exercise Expert at a physiotherapist clinic in Ottawa, Canada for 4 years. She has an Honours Bachelor Degree in Human Kinetics from the University of Ottawa. She uses her extensive knowledge in this area to educate others through well-researched, scientific, and informative articles.