"Home Gym" for Senior Citizens

Home Fitness Equipment for Seniors

Mom and/or Dad needs a home gym.  What should I buy?

We had some questions recently about what “home gym” equipment people might get for an elderly parent, grandparent, or relative.  Whether it’s to stay in shape and active or to prevent physical decline, there’s lots of stuff you can get.  Many of the common things that most people use or purchase just aren’t necessary or aren’t safe for older folks though.  Here’s a short list of some things you might consider getting them set up with. Of course, some of this is determined by your space and budget needs.
First of all, it’s important to talk about the main things that affect older adults.  As we age, we tend to get weaker, stiffer/tighter, lose balance, and lose cardiovascular conditioning.  Therefore, our home gym should focus on those things.

Home Gym for Older Relatives

  1. Bike or recumbent stepper. A bike is a great way to keep old joints moving and keep up the cardio without the impact loading of treadmills, upright steppers, ellipticals, etc.  A stepper might be a good idea for a relative with osteoporosis because it allows some weight-bearing to help facilitate bone growth.  There’s lots of refurbished or used equipment out there if budget is a concern.  Choosing an upright or a recumbent or upright bike is a personal preference, but if safety is a concern, recumbent bike is the choice for you.  With all of these, there is a wide array of prices with assorted “bells and whistles.”  Truth be told, most of that stuff just isn’t necessary.  Need an “On” button, some resistance, and a timer.  Good to go!! stepper "Home Gym" for Senior Citizens
  2. Ankle weights and a set of light dumbbells. There are lots of choices of dumbbells and these “space saver” cuff weights.  We suggest getting a set of 1-10 lbs.  Grandma and grandpa have the ability to get stronger just like the rest of us, it just takes more time to do it.  Can’t be afraid to lift an extra pound or two provided they have good form while performing the exercises.  For most exercises, these are better choices than elastic bands are because the resistance with the bands is highest at the end ranges of motion.  At this position, their muscles are at risk for injury. With cuff weights and dumbbells, the resistance is consistent.  However, bands are consistent and are great tools that can be taken anywhere.  Just start with the lightest resistance you can get and work up from there.
  3. A stretch strap. This is an easy way for your older relative to do some stretching without having someone help them.  There are lots of stretching exercises you can find online with this strap. Keep in mind, not all of them are appropriate.  Might want to review these with a physical therapist. Don’t like that idea? Get a video on Yoga poses for older adults or Tai Chi exercises. stretch 300x300 "Home Gym" for Senior Citizens
  4. A mat if they can get on/off the floor safely OR a table of some kind. Mats are cheap, but getting on/off the floor can be trouble for an older person.  A bed or a couch isn’t a great choice because it’s not a firm surface to push from.  A treatment table used in physical therapy can be about 4-500$, or if you have more money to invest, a mat table is a good choice.  You can get away with a used massage table too.  table "Home Gym" for Senior Citizens

Other “home remedies” to use:

  1. A chair to do squats with.province active gardening chair squat 200x300 "Home Gym" for Senior Citizens
  2. Steps to do step-up exercise for leg strengthening.
  3. Can’t afford dumbbells? Cans of soup work pretty well! soup cans "Home Gym" for Senior Citizens
  4. A closed door or a wall to do push-ups from.wall push up 300x242 "Home Gym" for Senior Citizens

It would be a privilege to help your loved one get back on their feet after an injury or to help them avoid physical decline.  We know how to be progressive, but safe at the same time. Give us a call! We have locations in Overland Park and Prairie Village to serve you.