Exercise Equipment for Seniors With Bad Knees
Research has indicated that seniors are more likely to be active if they find a type of workout that they enjoy. There is a wide variety of exercise equipment on the market to help people with chronic pain conditions stay healthy without straining their joints. Some of the symptoms that can be lessened through exercise include arthritis pain and stiffness. Certain conditions like osteoporosis will also benefit from regular exercise to strengthen muscles and increase stability, protecting against possible falls or bone injuries.
Equipment to Strengthen Knees
According to the United States National Library of Medicine, osteoarthritis is the leading cause of knee pain in seniors, with nearly 25% of all individuals over 55 years of age suffering from some form of the condition. This kind of chronic knee pain is often treated using various exercises to help strengthen the support structures of the knee to take away some of the strain on the joint. Below are some of the most commonly used pieces of equipment that can improve the range of motion for people experiencing knee pain due to a chronic condition, injury, or age-related disorder.
Physical therapists have been using elliptical machines as a tool for regaining strength, flexibility, and muscle control, and now they can be easily purchased and used for at-home exercise. Besides being useful for rehabilitation after a sickness or injury, they are also fantastic for general heart health, leg and core muscle strength, increasing balance and stability, and providing a low-impact workout to improve stamina. These machines come in various sizes, styles, price ranges and may have add-on features that can modify the elliptical for safety, comfort, and accessibility.
You will be hard-pressed to find other machines that provide such a complete body workout. The rowing machine engages your upper body, shoulders, neck, back, glutes, calves, abdominal muscles, and other major muscle groups. The motion is low-impact and can be adjusted to become more accessible for seniors who may have trouble staying balanced or standing up after a workout.
Elastic Band Exercises
These are great for everyone, no matter what skill or activity level. Elastic band exercises are simple to do and have been shown to strengthen muscles and promote fitness in older adults. A 2018 study by the Department of Rehabilitation and Personal Training in Korea concluded that elastic band exercises help increase physical fitness, balance, flexibility, and muscle development in older adults. They also found that anyone recovering from an illness or injury can use elastic bands to build back up the affected area's functionality.
Indoor cycling using an exercise bike can enhance circulation, balance and strengthens significant muscles, including those in the legs, stomach, and back. There is evidence that indoor cycling can lower blood pressure and stress levels while increasing stamina and metabolism. In 2015 Strasbourg University published a paper about their study into the health benefits of cycling exercises for older adults, and they found that it improved cognitive function and heart health. The mortality rate also decreased by 4% in participants who regularly participated in a cycle workout. These machines are easy to use, set up, and there are plenty of add-ons to accommodate disabilities or other limitations.
Exercises for Bad Hips
Several issues can cause chronic hip pain, but most can be improved by doing exercises encouraged by physical therapists to lower pain levels and enhance hip mobility. These can be done on low-impact machines or through activities like walking, swimming, and low-impact cardio. Yoga is a prevalent fitness option for seniors because it can be done at any speed and augmented to accommodate any range of motion issues. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends strength training for older adults to improve health and lower the adverse effects of various conditions like arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, obesity, back pain, and more. You can find directions for the following list of exercises using the CDC link above. It includes a comprehensive workout checklist and guidebook for seniors.
Some of the exercises that the CDC lists to help seniors stay fit include the following.
- Warm-up exercises like a five-minute walk or stretching
- Use light free weights or wrist weights while doing low-impact exercises
- Do squats using a chair for balance and safety
- Do wall push-ups to improve upper body strength
- Finger marching while seated to increase arm and shoulder strength
Low Impact Cardio or Low impact Machines
While some of the machines listed above, like the elliptical, are considered low-impact, you can find activities that put even less stress on the joints, bones, and muscles. The great news is that even low-impact exercises can significantly improve heart health. Because they are easier to do, it is more likely that seniors can work them into a consistent fitness routine. The National Institute on Aging recommends low-impact cardio exercises to help ease seniors into workouts if they were not previously active. They are excellent for seniors trying to build up stamina and strength after experiencing an extended illness or were bedridden due to disability or injury.
The United States Department of Health and Family Services recommends that elderly adults exercise approximately two and a half hours every seven days. This can be broken up throughout the entire week and can involve starting with short five-minute walks that slowly build up over time to fewer, more intense walks. It is an excellent low-impact activity for anyone starting their fitness journey later in life. You can also use walking as a great way to regain movement and stability after an injury or illness.
There are multiple types of yoga, and often, the various poses and exercises can be adjusted to fit seniors who may have less flexibility. Many yoga poses can be done in a chair or using an exercise ball to make it easier for individuals who can stoop, bend, or sit on the floor. Gentle yoga is an option that many seniors choose to take advantage of when they start with this kind of meditative exercise. The main difference between traditional yoga and gentle yoga techniques is that poses are augmented for optimum comfort, often by using pillows and assistive devices.
Some of the main health benefits of senior yoga include the following.
- Decreases stress and can help with sleep disturbances
- Improves flexibility, muscle strength, balance, and mobility
- Lowers the risk of developing depression or anxiety
- Encourages mindfulness and calm
- Can alleviate pain for some conditions