Top Five Exercise Machines for Older Adults

by Fit After Fifty
Empty treadmills and ellipticals in a gym

We all know how important regular exercise is, especially as we age, but the options out there to achieve our health and fitness goals can be overwhelming. Use the machines at your local gym or community center, or even invest in a home exercise machine to keep strong and active. Here are five exercise machines that will positively affect your exercise routine as an older adult, keeping you agile and helping you avoid injury.

Rowing Machine

The rowing machine is an easy-to-use, low-impact exercise machine that not only focuses on your shoulders, but also builds muscle equally across your arms, back, legs, and abdomen. With the rowing machine, you have complete control of your resistance level, and can raise it when you feel stronger and more comfortable. Some rowing machines even have a chair back for lumbar support, giving you a stable sitting position without compromising your form.

Lat Pulldown Machine

This free-standing machine doesn’t require advanced agility or coordination, and can assist with poor posture by strengthening your upper back muscles. Mimicking a pullup,  the lat pulldown machine lets you sit stationary and move the weight using your elbows and shoulders. Once you’re comfortable, experiment with increasing the weight, changing your grip or handles, or switching the orientation of your forearms.

Recumbent Bike Machine

As opposed to upright bike machines, recumbent bikes have a reclined position and larger seat, which reduces the stress placed on joints and is more comfortable to sit in for extended periods. The reclined seating position also helps those with lower back pain enjoy the benefits of bike machines, even without any experience, and is generally safer than an upright position for those with balance issues. Recumbent bike machines really work the hamstrings, and are perfect for those looking for a stress-free cardiovascular workout.

[Related: Affordable Home Exercise Equipment for Retirees]

Elliptical Machine

Anyone who has stepped foot into a gym can tell you that the elliptical machine is one of the most popular pieces of fitness equipment. This machine gives you a low-impact cardio and strength training workout all at once. With complete control over your speed, incline, and resistance, elliptical machines  provide a comfortable exercise for your whole body. Advantages to using this machine include improved bone density, increased mobility, more flexible ligaments, and balance assistance. Most elliptical machines even feature a screen and headphone jack, so you can listen to uplifting music or watch your favorite shows or guided workouts.


This simple machine will help you achieve the recommended 30 minutes of cardio exercise a day without having to worry about complicated straps, positions, or settings. Find a sturdy machine, manage the speed and incline, and decide if you’re comfortable walking hands-free or prefer using the rails. The treadmill assists with keeping blood pressure in check and helps with balance, mobility, and boosting your metabolic rate.

Remember to always speak to your doctor before embarking on a new exercise program, and start slow. Stretching and keeping hydrated before and after your workout are important. A regular exercise routine featuring one or more of these recommended machines will not only keep you physically fit, but can also build up your stamina, increase your independence, maintain a healthy heart, and boost your mood.

Have exercise machines helped you stay in shape? Share your story with us!




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