Affordable Home Gym Equipment for Baby Boomers

by Fit After Fifty
Tennis shoes, hand weights, a scale, and an exercise ball

Gym memberships and fitness clubs are excellent places to exercise, but sometimes you just don’t have the time or energy to get there. When this is the case, having space and gym equipment at home may help you to cut the excuses and actually work out.

This is especially true for anyone who lacks the mobility or resources to go to a gym on a regular basis.

Luckily, the equipment doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars. Here are several items of (affordable) home exercise equipment that baby boomers should have on hand to keep moving.

Yoga Mat

Yoga is something every senior should consider adding to their fitness regimen, and it can be done anywhere and everywhere, from the park or the beach to your living room. As we get older, our bodies lose strength, range of motion, and balance, and yoga helps to maintain and even improve these things to keep you healthier and moving better, often with less pain.

You can find swanky yoga mats for over $100, but most quality ones come in under $25. And if yoga isn’t your thing, don’t cross this item off your shopping list: A yoga mat is the base for many different kinds of home workouts.

[Related: Simple and Effective Yoga Poses]

Jump Rope

Aerobic exercise that gets your heart rate up and blood pumping is important for both your respiratory health and your blood pressure, as well as overall well-being. Although running is typically too high-impact of an exercise at our age, jumping rope is a great way to get in some good cardio.

Most jump ropes can be found for less than $20, with some more high-end ones topping $75. Try some gentle jump rope exercises that are intended for the over-50 body, and be sure to implement low-impact modifications to your jump-roping to ensure safety.

Foam Rollers

Foam rollers are the best for self-myofascial release to trigger pressure points, knead out knots, correct muscle imbalance, and prevent injuries. You’ll see an increase in flexibility and blood flow as well.

You can find foam rollers that cost anywhere from $5 to $100, depending on size and quality. We recommend opting for a good midrange option, which should come in around $20.

Kickboard

If you’re lucky enough to have a pool at home, swimming with a kickboard could be a great home workout option. Swimming and aquatic exercise are ideal for seniors, since the water helps to prevent you from moving too quickly and injuring yourself, while also providing gentle resistance to challenge your strength.

Most good quality kickboards are around $20, and will give you some added support as you work out in the pool. Try exercises with repetitive movement to work different muscle groups.

[Related: Fun, Easy Water Aerobics Exercises for Seniors]

Hand Weights

No home gym is complete without hand weights. They offer so many different options for use, such as the exercises that @chrisfreytag demonstrates above.

You probably won’t need more than three different weight levels to get a good full-body workout. Find a full set for less than $30! Consider also getting some ankle weights to use if you have knee issues. These can really enhance your knee workouts to reduce pain and improve flexibility and range of motion.

Be sure to check with your doctor to make sure you can handle weight training, and ask what they think is a healthy weight limit for you.

Kettlebells

Even if you already have hand weights at home, kettlebells are a smart investment. They can take you through a whole-body workout, make it easier to train muscle groups across multiple body planes, and help improve functional strength.

Like with hand weights, you don’t need a lot of different weights — two to three pairs should suffice. You should be able to find a set for around $40, and can reference this helpful buying guide for help choosing the right ones for you.

Medicine Ball

Medicine balls enable you to incorporate strength training into fun, simple activities, such as throwing a ball back and forth with a friend. This activity has actually been proven to improve older adults’ ability to use their leg and trunk muscles to remain stable and avoid falls.

You can find medicine balls for around $20 to $45 each, depending on the weight. We recommend starting with a light weight and gradually progressing to higher weights to avoid injury.

[Related: Weight Training Tips After Age 50]

Resistance Bands

Seniors can use resistance bands for a number of different low-impact exercises.

Resistance bands allow for endless resistance training and take up way less room than a full weight set, making them easy to tuck out of the way. They’re also a safer resistance training option, since you don’t have to worry about dropping heavy weights, and allow you to easily modify exercises to your specific needs.

Most resistance bands range from $10 to $20 for a set, but you can also make your own with basic supplies from the hardware store if you are a real DIYer. These come in various thicknesses, sizes, and resistance levels for your individual needs.

Battle Rope

Get a full-body workout including both cardio and strength training with battle ropes.

Combining strength training and cardio, battle ropes work out your whole body and get your heart rate up at the same time. Tons of battle rope exercises exist, so they’re a great way to add some variety to your fitness routine.

Battle ropes do require a hallway or long room, but if you don’t have the space, you could attach them to the back of your garage and extend them out the door. If the weather permits, bringing them outside will work, too.

You can find quality battle ropes starting around $40, with the price increasing with the length and diameter of the rope. Just make sure to measure your space before selecting a length!

[Related: 5 Simple Exercises to Do Anywhere!]

Suspension Training System

Suspension training systems (or total body resistance exercise [TRX] systems) deliver a full-body workout with hundreds of different possible exercises. These systems work by utilizing your body weight and gravity as resistance, and can help you increase your balance, strength, coordination, joint and core stability, and flexibility.

Plus, they are low-impact and allow you to challenge yourself only as much as you want, making them perfect for seniors, and can be set up anywhere.

Suspension training systems range in price from $50 to $150, but you can also easily make your own with basics from the hardware store.

Plyo Box

Plyo boxes help train muscle reaction time, which is important for seniors to prevent falls.

Plyometric (plyo) training improves muscle reaction time, which is why you may have heard of it referenced as reactive training. Maintaining muscle reaction time is crucial for seniors to stop themselves from falling.

If you’re picturing people performing explosive box jumps, don’t worry — low-impact plyo box exercises are possible, too. We recommend some simple step-ups to get started, such as those depicted in the video above, and having someone spot you until you’re confident on your own.

Plyo boxes range from $40 for a simple box to $150 for an adjustable-height steel platform. However, a box is a box, after all; so you can even make your own from a single sheet of plywood.

Looking for more exercise tips?

Featured image via Pxhere

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