Physical activity is important, especially in elderly people. In fact, a study by the National Institutes of Health stated that exercise was key to showing “improvements in mental health, emotional, psychological, and social well-being and cognitive function are also associated with regular PA [physical activity]”.
As people age, lingering or recurring health issues can stand in the way of getting the proper exercise that one needs to maintain healthy living standards - but that does not have to be the case!
There are different kinds of exercise equipment that disabled seniors can use, but each type will depend on the individual disability and the severity of the condition. This brief guide covers the best types of exercise equipment for disabled seniors, as well as tips for use and avoiding injury.
Main Types of Exercise Equipment For Disabled Seniors
There are many different kinds of exercise equipment available on the market that are anything from a basic weight to a full home gym. Not all of these exercise setups are right for everyone and persons with disabilities especially have to be careful about what they choose in order to reduce the risk of injury and harm.
Cardio Equipment for Disabled Seniors
One of the easiest things for people to do is to work out from their wheelchairs. If you are wheelchair bound or use a wheelchair often, you do not have to miss out on beneficial cardio. You can get weights that can easily be used from a wheelchair or upgrade yourself with some high grip exercise gloves that make using the chair much easier over long periods of high intensity pulling.
Another great way to get cardio is with a rowing machine. Rowing machines have the benefit of being able to be used in the sitting position, can give you a full body workout, and are perfect for people of all fitness levels. They provide great benefits to both upper body muscles as well as cardio and respiratory work.
Dumbbells are an easy, and often affordable, way to increase fitness and exercise from the comfort of the home. Dumbbells can be used from a seated position, they can be used from a wheelchair and they require little to no fitness prowess or knowledge. You can start as light as a single pound and work your way up to greater weights as you see fit making them perfect for persons with disabilities to use to get back into shape.
Another simple and affordable option for fitness is resistance bands. Resistance bands are similar to dumbbells in that they are easy to use, can be used while seated, and are great for people of all fitness levels. Resistance bands can be used to work out the arms, chest, and back making them a perfect upper body workout.
Safety and Injury Concerns
Exercising can be a dangerous affair if you are not careful. Choosing equipment that is right for you and your specific situation is key to avoiding injuries and maintaining a safe and healthy lifestyle. Everyone’s specific needs are different but make sure that you are choosing exercises that you feel confident and comfortable doing.
Never work out alone. This is solid advice for all people in general but especially if you are of advanced age, are of low fitness, or have a long term injury or condition. A simple mistake can become catastrophic if you do not have someone nearby to help.
Stop if something begins to hurt. You will know the difference between feeling sore from a good workout and feeling pain from getting a strain. If you have any concerns before choosing an exercise regime that is right for you, consult your doctor before buying or starting any new routines.
Best Exercise Equipment Available For Disabled Seniors
Best Overall: Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth Magnetic Rower
The Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth Magnetic Rower takes our top spot for the best exercise equipment for disabled seniors because of its versatility, price, and effectiveness. Rowing machines are excellent pieces of workout equipment because they cater to people of all fitness levels, can be used in the seated position, are capable of providing full body work out, and can be easily tailored to individual needs without too much hassle.
The Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth Magnetic Rower features an innovative magnetic resistance design that eliminates the need for messy water tanks that are present on older rowing machines. Fitness Reality also provides app compatibility so you can track your fitness on your phone and tailor your workout to your specific needs. The foot pedals are dual purpose and allow for a variety of additional exercises that can be extremely beneficial to disabled seniors such as curls, shrugs, and rises.
Whether you are just trying to get into fitness for the first time or are someone looking for a full body workout that can be done from the seated position there is something for everyone with this rowing machine. For the price, you cannot find a much better all around piece of equipment as the Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth Magnetic Rower.
Best For Wheelchair Bound Seniors: PEARL IZUMI Men's Elite Gel Gloves
Being wheelchair bound does not mean that you cannot start working on your fitness with high quality exercise. In fact, there are multiple ways to get effective exercise without ever having to leave the wheelchair at all. One way to upgrade your wheelchair exercise is to get a set of powerful gloves that keep your hands cool, comfortable, and strong.
The PEARL IZUMI Men's Elite Gel Glove is made up of gel foam padding that is guaranteed to keep your fingers and hands comfortable whether you are doing resistance workouts or pushing your wheelchair at top speed. The fingerless design gives you the tactile feel you want for some workouts and allows you to easily use nearby electronics without having to pull off sweaty gloves to get a good touch.
For people who use wheelchairs, there is not much better exercise equipment than a simple pair of gloves to enhance the regular activities and simple workouts that you do naturally every day.
Best On a Budget: Amazon Basics Dumbell Set
If you are someone who needs to get back into fitness without spending a lot of money, this dumbbell set by Amazon Basics is a great place to start. For less than $40 you get twenty pounds of solid weights that will allow you to do a variety of exercises right from your home. You get two two pound weights, two three pound weights, and two five pound weights. The variety of weight sizes allows you to mix and match to find the perfect weight combination for you. It even comes with a stand to store your dumbbells in a place that is easy for you to access at any time. Each weight is neoprene-coated giving you more grip and less slip during workouts and the neoprene keeps the weights from wearing out like other similar dumbbells.
These weights are extremely affordable and versatile and allow people of all inclinations to use them to their fullest ability to start building muscle, fitness, and a more active lifestyle.
Buying Guide: What To Look For In Exercise Equipment For Disabled Seniors
Before rushing out and buying the first thing that comes to mind, take a minute and think to ensure that you get the perfect exercise equipment for you and your circumstances. Here are a few things to keep in mind when buying exercise equipment for disabled seniors.
Keep it simple
Exercise is about getting the heart rate up and working muscles that don’t get used often during daily life. You do not necessarily need to go out and get a total home gym in order to get some great exercise and fitness experiences. Keep it simple. Simple workouts are very effective and help to cut down on the cost and injury risk associated with getting into exercising. Things like gloves, resistance bands, and dumbbells are all completely fine ways to begin your fitness journey.
Get something that works for you
Not every piece of exercise equipment is going to work well for everyone. Find something that is right for you. Whether you need to avoid certain areas of the body such as shoulders or back or if you need to get equipment that can be used while seated, make sure that whatever you are looking to buy is usable and safe.
Double check safety and use requirements
People with disabilities might have to get creative in how they use and effectively utilize different pieces of exercise equipment. Be sure to double check to make sure the way you want to try and use any kind of exercise equipment is within its use parameters and is safe. Changing the recommended usage for exercise equipment can be dangerous if not done properly so be sure to always beck the manual, online resources and recommendations before buying.