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Best Type of Exercise Equipment for the Elderly

Aging is not an excuse to avoid exercise. In fact, exercise can help seniors stay functional and productive. When speaking about the best types of exercise equipment for the elderly, you should consider the individual fitness level of the specific senior citizen. After all, many seniors have been working out for decades, and may actually be in better shape than their children and grandchildren. Nonetheless, even the fittest grandma or grandpa may not be immune to the injuries associated with aging. Certain types of equipment do a better job of helping prevent these injuries.

Upper Back Strength Training Equipment

Aging is often associated with a rounded, hunched-over alignment, which is often the result of weakened upper back muscles. The lat pull-down machine and the seated row are the two best machines for strengthening these muscles. The lat pull-down is performed from a seated position. As its name implies, it involves pulling down a bar from a seated position. Avoid shoulder injuries by bringing the bar down in front of the body. The row is performed by pulling the resistance toward the body. The elbows bend during this movement, and shoulder blades are squeezed together. Sets and repetitions may vary according to specific health conditions and fitness levels. They should be discussed with a physician or a trainer who specializes in senior exercise.

Recumbent Bicycles

In their guidelines for older adults, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity be performed at least five days weekly. However, certain knee and back problems can make it uncomfortable to perform upright aerobic exercise. The recumbent bike, which offers back support, is a viable alternative.

The Balance Gym

The Balance Gym was a winner of the International Council on Aging Innovation Award. The gym is actually a platform with resistance bands, which allows seniors to safely practice balance, strength, flexibility and aerobic exercise.

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About the Author

In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.

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