If you’re feeling sore and stiff from sitting more often, you might benefit from getting more exercise. It is recommended that seniors get 150 minutes of exercise each week; doing so helps you live longer, sleep better, feel happier, and avoid injuries.
One of the best ways to incorporate a fitness routine into your lifestyle is by getting a home gym - they’re convenient, effective, and cheaper than a gym membership in the long term. Learn more about the best home gym for seniors and see the top models in our complete guide!
What is a Home Gym?
Generally speaking, there are two ways you can think about the term, “home gym”...
First, you can call any room dedicated to exercise and filled with equipment and workout machines to be a home gym. Sets of weights and barbells, treadmills, and other exercise equipment all gathered in one place.
The other way the phrase is used is to describe machines or pieces of equipment that function as an entire fitness center in one package. These machines were popularized in recent years by companies such as Bowflex (who seemed like they were advertising on every TV channel, every day). For this article, we’re going to discuss these home gyms, not the broader concept of a “home workout room”.
What are the Most Popular Types of Equipment in a Home Gym?
Machines such as those from Bowflex use a system of cables and position-adjustable pulleys. You can select from many different exercises, based on where you’ve positioned the pulleys and cables. This means that, with one machine, you can work out your arms, chest, back, shoulders, and legs.
It’s like having 5 or 6 of the cable machines you’d find at a fitness center in one. It saves a ton of space in your home and makes for a convenient, varied workout that won’t get too boring. These all-in-one machines are typically expensive, though not nearly as expensive as putting together a comparable collection of free weights and other equipment.
These products aren’t so much machines as they are a platform for working out with free weights such as dumbbells and barbells. If you like weight lifting, this is the home gym system for you. Cage systems give you the support infrastructure you need for weight training exercises such as bench press, squatting, deadlifts, and more.
These systems are pretty expensive in and of themselves, and they typically don’t include weights. You’ll have to purchase weight plates separately, potentially increasing the cost of your home gym by more than $1,000. If you are a dedicated weight lifter, however, there is no better way to enjoy that passion at home than with a cage system for weight lifting!
Aerobic exercise might not be everyone’s favorite activity, but it is necessary for developing a strong heart and overall wellbeing. So, while a cardio machine such as a treadmill or rower may not replace a weight machine, they’re still very beneficial to have around.
If you have room in your home (and your budget), consider adding a treadmill, rowing machine, or elliptical to your home workout space to make sure that you can keep your heart just as strong as your other muscles!
What are the Pros and Cons of Having a Home Gym for Seniors?
Is It Better to Work Out at Home or at a Gym if You are a Senior?
Though it truly depends on the person and the type of exercise, it is generally safe to work out at home as a senior. However, if you have any serious medical issues or concerns, you may feel more comfortable with other people around to help you in case you hurt yourself. If you’re working out at home, all alone, and have an injury, the lack of readily available help can be quite dangerous.
Alongside that, some seniors will benefit more from belonging to a gym than they would working out at home. At a gym, you have access to personal trainers and coaches who can instruct you in ways to work out that are safe for your age and body type. If you lack that experience or knowledge, working out at home may not be the best idea for you.
If you have a decent amount of knowledge and experience, you should be fine working out at home. Unless you have serious medical issues or other concerns, working out at home is often a much better idea for seniors because of the convenience and simplicity of not having to leave the house.
Finally, we should mention that it is always a good idea to consult with a doctor before embarking on a fitness journey, especially if you have issues like arthritis, a recent injury/surgery, or a disability. Your doctor will be able to give you advice and direction tailored specifically to your needs so that you can confidently and safely start exercising!
The Best Home Gyms For Seniors
Best Home Gym for Seniors (Overall): NordicTrack Fusion CST
NordicTrack is a popular and trusted manufacturer of all types of exercise equipment. The Fusion CST is an all-in-one cable machine that uses magnetic resistance to provide a smooth, challenging workout at home. There are 20 different levels of resistance you can choose from, so you can tailor each workout to your own level of fitness.
The Fusion CST has a large touchscreen tablet you can use to keep track of your progress and watch workout videos led by world-class instructors on iFit. A 1-year subscription to iFit is included in your purchase, and there are many videos that are perfect for beginners and seniors. This machine is perfect for any senior who wants to improve their muscular strength, balance, and overall health. The cables move smoothly and silently, and they can be adjusted in many different ways to target every major muscle on your body!
Best Basic Home Gym for Seniors: BowFlex Xceed Home Gym
The Xceed is basic in the sense that it is very easy to learn how to use, it’s very moderately priced, and it doesn’t take up a huge amount of space in your home. However, the Xceed is actually an extremely versatile home gym- you can do 65 different exercises on it, targeting every muscle in your body!
Bowflex uses a unique resistance technology that allows you to move smoothly during the exercise without having to twist or jerk your body to get started. It promotes good exercising posture, preserves the joints, and is perfect for both muscle rehab and strength training. As such, it’s uniquely well-suited to seniors who want to get stronger but aren’t necessarily trying to compete in a bodybuilding competition.
Best Low-Cost Home Gym Equipment for Seniors: Total Gym APEX
It isn’t going to give you the best workout of your life, but this affordable home gym system is versatile enough to help you get stronger, burn calories, and feel more like yourself. It uses a very unique design that leverages gravity to work your arms, legs, and abs.
There are several different exercises that you can do on the APEX, each targeting a different muscle group. The best part about this home gym system (aside from the low price, of course) is that it delivers a very low-impact workout. Seniors with bad knees, hips, and ankles will find this workout machine to be both effective and safe; you won’t feel much pain while using it, nor will your joints be sore and stiff afterward!
Buying Guide: How to Choose a Home Gym
Price Range for Home Gyms for Seniors
The lowest-priced home gym systems are typically priced up to about $400. These systems are designed for light-moderate exercise and likely won’t include lots of weights/resistance. If you’re looking for a casual workout, you can get a home gym like the Total Gym APEX or the Weider XRS 50. They’ll help you get into shape but won’t cost so much that you’ll regret not using it every day.
Mid-range home gyms can be found for a price between $400 and $1,200. These gyms are perfect for seniors looking to get into great shape (or stay in great shape). Mid-range home gyms are ideal for building serious muscle; if you’re committed to your fitness plan, these home gyms are for you!
Top-of-the-line home gyms (any gym that costs more than $1,200) are designed for premium stability, smoothness, and achieving physical excellence. If you’ve got a taste for luxury and need the nicest, most complete products, you need a top-quality home gym like the NordicTrack Fusion CST. Premium home gyms may also include subscriptions to video workout libraries which are very helpful for seniors who enjoy a bit of motivation and guidance.
Building an At-Home Gym for Senior Adults - Steps
- 1Set Goals: If you don’t know what your fitness goals are, it’s very hard to select the right equipment. For example, if you’re trying to run a half-marathon in the 65+ division, the Bowflex Xceed won’t do you any good. So, before you buy any equipment, take a minute to decide exactly what you’re trying to achieve with your workout!
- 2Assess Your Space: Though you may want a large cage system for weight lifting like the Marcy Smith SM-4033, you’ll regret trying to squeeze it into a tiny spare bedroom. The type of exercise equipment your home can handle is a big consideration- so take some time to assess your home and decide what will fit, and what won’t.
- 3Buy Your Essential Equipment: A good way to build a home gym is to start with one large purchase of equipment. For some people, that will be an all-in-one machine like the NordicTrack Fusion CST. For others, it will mean getting a high-quality treadmill or rowing machine.
- 4Buy Accessories and Extras: Now that you’ve got the large equipment that’ll form the core of your fitness routine, you can supplement it with smaller pieces that help round out your home gym. Kettlebells, light dumbbells, and yoga/stretching equipment are all great ways to get a more complete workout at home without buying another large piece of exercise equipment.
Best Exercise Program for Seniors With Home Gym
Here’s what you should consider when buying leg exercise equipment for seniors:
This 20-minute workout is designed for seniors who have access to a gym with machines, but a good home gym machine will be able to do almost all of the recommended exercises. For any senior asking themselves what they should do with their home gym system, this routine should help you get started!
This is a great video to watch if you want to learn the correct form and technique for the exercise options on a home gym system. The instructor in the video is using a Life Fitness cable machine, which allows for very similar workout/exercise positions as home gym systems. If you’re concerned about your form, use this video to get pointers (just don’t use as much weight as the instructor does)!
Home gyms are a great way to strengthen your muscles at home, avoiding the crowds and confusion of large gyms and health clubs. If you get a home gym, you’re ready to get in great shape- just don’t neglect cardio exercise! Which home gym from our list do you think is right for you and your needs? Do you have any questions about home gym systems? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!