It’s very important to continue exercising as we age. Exercise plays a crucial role in combating diseases and medical conditions that become more common with age such as heart disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, hypertension and even depression. When executed correctly, exercise helps seniors maintain stability and balance while reducing the risk of falling and becoming injured. But as we grow older, some ways we used to stay active are no longer appropriate for our aging bodies. We lose muscle mass, our bones become weaker, our range of motion decreases and our joints become more prone to injury from working out. Certain exercises and equipment can put too much strain on seniors’ joints and muscles leading to injury.
Here are five types of exercise equipment that are recommended for safe senior exercise:
1. Hydraulic Systems—Exercise machines with hydraulic systems are popular among seniors because they are engineered to have little to no impact on seniors’ legs and arms. Therefore they are easier on your joints. Many systems that are geared toward seniors also have lower seats and step-ups.
2. Air Machines—Air machines function like an exercise machine with a hydraulic system. These low-impact machines absorb shock so that they reduce the amount of stress put on joints.
3. Cushioned Step Machines—These are like normal step machines, but their steps have been cushioned to reduce the amount of pressure put on seniors’ legs. These machines are popular because they allow exercisers to watch TV or read during their workouts.
4. Trampolines—Trampolines provide fun aerobic exercise while absorbing the bone jarring impact that jumping movements normally put on bones.
5. Aquatic Fitness Equipment—For seniors who have access to a pool, swimming is an excellent option for someone concerned with damaging or over-working their joints and muscles. Incorporate a variety of accessories into your aquatic fitness routine such as foam weights and pool noodles to help you strengthen a variety of muscles.
Talk with your physician to find out what exercise routine is most appropriate for you. With the right knowledge and tools at your disposal, you’ll be able to avoid the risk of workout- related injuries while staying active and living a balanced life!