Keeping your step count up once you hit your senior years is just as important as when you were younger.
But cold weather, busy streets and painful joints can take the enjoyment out of walking outside.
Having a treadmill set up at home can make it easier, safer and more enjoyable to get in your daily cardio.
Keep reading to check out our guide to the best treadmills for seniors in 2021 and a list of the key factors to look for when making your decision.
- TOP 11 Best Treadmills for Seniors 2021
- Sunny Health & Fitness Walking Treadmill
- RehabMill Rehabilitation Treadmill
- NordicTrack T Series Treadmills
- Exerpeutic TF1000 Walking Treadmill
- Sole F63 Treadmill
- XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill
- ProForm Performance 600i Treadmill
- SereneLife SLFTRD 18 Folding Treadmill
- Sunny Health & Fitness Manual Treadmill
- Exerpeutic 100XL Manual Treadmill
- ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill
- What to Consider When Choosing the Best Treadmill for Seniors
TOP 11 Best Treadmills for Seniors 2021
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Treadmill for Seniors
Choosing the best treadmill for seniors ultimately comes down to comfort, safety and usability.
This list will highlight the most important factors to keep in mind when looking for a treadmill that will provide a safe and enjoyable workout for older people.
This is a biggie. Long handles that reach at least half way down the length of the deck, or over the end if possible, make for a much safer experience.
Handrails with an easy to grip, foam surface and multiple positions for holding on are also a great plus.
Many older people have downsized their lives and live in smaller houses or apartments with less space once the kids have flown the coop.
Having a treadmill that is easy to fold and move out of the way will mean it doesn’t have to dominate precious living space 24/7.
Low Max Speed
Many older people don’t need or want high speeds on their treadmill. But higher speeds can also be dangerous. Buttons can accidentally be hit and some treadmills change speed really quickly.
A lower maximum speed will ensure a lower risk of accidents. But it also means that the motor is designed with a ratio of horsepower to torque that will cope with running at low speeds for extended periods of time.
Using a high powered running treadmill to exclusively walk can cause it to burn out.
A maximum speed of 4 – 6 mph is ideal.
It’s sad but true – our joints become more painful as we get older as the cartilage wears away.
Walking or jogging on a cushioned deck is much more comfortable and protects fragile joints from the impact of walking outside on hard surfaces.
Low Level Deck
A deck that is lower to the ground is easier to step up on to without increasing the risk of falls.
This isn’t necessarily specific to older people – I think everyone would prefer a quiet treadmill over a noisy one. But it’s still worth bearing in mind.
Elderly people are probably less likely to be playing loud music to drown out the sound of their treadmill.
When it comes to deck size, it’s really a case of the larger the better. You don’t want to be worried about accidentally hitting the side and end up changing your walking style or stride as a result.
Smaller decks can be ok for shorter people provided you’re not going to run. Running increases the likely hood of moving across the deck and landing on one of the sides by accident.
Walk or Run
I don’t want to discriminate and assume that all elderly people are only going to want to walk.
Some may want to run! That’s totally fine!
Just make sure the deck is big enough and choose a treadmill with an appropriate max speed.
If you know you’re definitely just looking for a walking treadmill, we have more great options listed in our guide to the best walking treadmills.
Stop Button/Safety Tether
Safety features are important for everyone but especially for seniors. All good treadmills should come with a big red kill switch in the middle of the console that kills the power and stops the movement of the belt in case you fall.
There should also ideally be a tether or lanyard which you attach to your clothing. Once you get a certain distance away from the console, the power will cut out, disabling the belt. This should hopefully mean that the belt stops moving before you even fall!
Don’t get me wrong – there are some very tech-savvy grandparents out there. But, it would be safe to say that for the majority of seniors, a complicated control panel is going to be overwhelming, and many features will likely end up un-used.
Look for a simple console that’s easy to use and doesn’t come with hundreds of programs or require any apps.
Quick start controls are a must, with simple ‘up’ and ‘down’ arrows for speed a great plus.
Manual Versus Electric
Both manual and electric treadmills have different things going for them.
- More affordable
- Easier to maintain
- Less likely to break down
- Cheaper to run
- Require you to walk at an incline
If you like the sound of manual treadmills, we have an entire article dedicated to them right here.
- More expensive
- Require lubrication and other maintenance
- More parts to break down
- Use a lot of power
- Allow you to walk on a flat surface
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for treadmills so whether you go manual or electric will come a lot down to personal preference.
But, if you’re considering making the investment, it could be worth paying a one-off $20 for a gym session to try out both and see which you like better.
Alternatively, if you’re interested in considering other machines, have a look at our guide to the best exercise machines for seniors for more ideas. There are lots of options that might be better suited to people with specific mobility issues.
Is Treadmill Good for Elderly?
Treadmills can be an excellent way of allowing elderly people to get some cardio in a safe environment.
What other Equipment can You Recommend for Seniors?
Other excellent cardio machines for seniors include ellipticals and recumbent bikes.
Ellipticals are great because they don’t require any coordination and balance to stay safe the way a treadmill does. Your feet stay in the same position on the pedals while they go up and down, activating a wider range of muscles than simply walking on a flat treadmill.
Recumbent bikes may be even safer from the point of view that you are already sitting in a reclined position so there is really nowhere to fall.
What is the Best Treadmill for Seniors?
The best treadmill for seniors has got to be the Sunny Health & Fitness Walking Treadmill at the top of our list. It includes all the important safety and comfort features while also being affordable.
How Far Should a 70-Year-Old Walk?
The broad answer is, as far as you feel comfortable without exhausting yourself. The distance will vary hugely depending on what kind of lifestyle you have had throughout your life.
However, it’s recommended that 70-year-olds walk between 2000 and 9000 steps per day, or 1 to 4 miles. Aim for 4 and you’ll be rocking it!
How Fast Should a 70-Year-Old Walk?
This completely comes down to what you feel comfortable with and whether you have any pain that is limiting you in any way. Any speed is fine so long as you feel safe but 2.5 mph is a good speed to aim for.
Are Treadmills Bad for Knees?
If you have a good pair of shoes and are not suffering any injuries, walking on a treadmill is better for your knees than walking outside on a hard surface.
As you can see, there are plenty of options for seniors that can provide really safe, comfortable and enjoyable ways to exercise from home.
Hopefully, you’ve found this list of the best treadmills for seniors in 2021 helpful.
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