Some people prefer to exercise in the comfort of their homes instead of the gym. Today we will look at small exercise equipment for seniors.
Strength training and exercise are very important for seniors and the elderly. Unfortunately, the typical exercise machines take up a lot of space and are very heavy. But what to do if you don’t have space for bulky exercise equipment?
Fortunately, there are some options for small or even completely immaterial exercise equipment that takes virtually no space in your apartment or house.
The good thing about this type of equipment is that they are also very cheap and easy to use. But you have to keep in mind that the smaller the equipment, the faster you will get to a point where using them produces no progress.
That’s why I’ve picked only options that can offer you significant benefits in strength improvement and physical fitness. I’ve also listed what kind of products you should avoid at any cost.
The unfortunate truth is that the exercise equipment market is full of useless products that are simply designed to rob your money. Let’s start by looking at how you can spot these useless machines and equipment.
Small exercise equipment that is useless
The market is full of gadgets that promise you incredible results within a couple of weeks using them. I want to make it very clear that the exercise equipment I talk about in this article is not like these.
I want to introduce the exercise equipment that actually works. I’ve been doing strength training for well over a decade and other forms of exercise my whole life.
I understand the mechanics of strength and exercise adaptation very well and can spot right away what exercise machines are real and what is just marketing hype.
Unfortunately, many people don’t have enough knowledge to spot useless exercise equipment, so I want to start with a short paragraph on how to spot useless exercise equipment.
You can spot this kind of useless exercise equipment usually by marketing alone. They simply promise incredible results in just a few weeks, show exaggerated before and after pictures, use fitness models in their ads and talk about some pseudoscientific new principles that make their product so much more effective than anything before.
The marketing is simply designed to intrigue the uninformed mind by painting a picture of much faster and superior results compared to typical exercise.
Unfortunately, this is never true, quite the opposite actually. They often promise things like spot fat reduction, toning your arms without creating bulky muscles, overnight transformation to fitness model, etc.
Without exception these types of devices (Ab-belts, thigh masters, Shake Weights, etc.) are flimsy, break easily and offer no real exercise. They only weight they will reduce is your wallets.
The most annoying part is that the people creating these products and marketing know this. They simply know that 99% of people who buy their product will never actually use it more than a week, so they can create cheap low-quality machines and sell them for huge profit without getting too much complaint and returns.
In my opinion, this is both unethical and unecological. They are essentially selling people plastic trash that’s produced in some
Sorry for the rant, but this kind of marketing makes my blood boil. It gives people a very bad perception of strength training and usually makes them disappoint and give up. I want to teach people the right way to exercise and what realistic results to expect.
So if you are looking at an exercise gadget and it promises any of these things, steer clear and get something that is proven to work:
- Instant results. The right kind of exercise and a healthy diet will produce results, but typically it takes several months of consistency to start to notice these changes.
- Spot reduction of fat. You can lose fat just around your problem areas, that’s a scientific fact. You can simply reduce your overall body fat and your genes will determine where you will lose the fat first. Exercising muscles of a single area won’t change this.
- Sixpack abs or bulging biceps. Small gadgets simply can’t offer enough resistance to produce years of progressive resistance training, which is what you need to build large “bulky” muscles.
- Toning instead of bulky muscles. There is this misconception that different kind of exercise builds a different kind of muscles. This is simply not true. How “toned” or muscular you look depends on only two things, the amount of body fat and amount of muscle mass. A toned person is lean with a bit of muscle mass and a muscular person is lean with significant muscle mass.
Now that we know what not to look for, let’s look at effective yet small and compact exercise equipment.
Bodyweight training, also known as calisthenics is extremely effective and functional form of strength training. The best part is that you don’t knee any equipment to perform it.
All you need is your own body so it’s completely free and takes no additional space in your home. All you need is enough space to move around safely without bumping into objects.
The great thing about bodyweight exercises is that they can be scaled to any strength or experience levels. As a beginner, you don’t need any equipment like pull-up bars, push-up handles or dip stations.
You can simply use the floor, the walls and furniture of your apartment to perform the exercises. Typical bodyweight exercises include squat variations, push-up variations, planks, and pull-up variations.
You can exercise your whole body with these simple movement patterns. You can also improve your cardiovascular health simply by walking or running.
So if you are looking for small and free exercise equipment that’s suitable for seniors, bodyweight exercises are your best bet.
Kettlebells are a form of free-weight strength training equipment. They are essentially a weight with a handle on one side. They are sturdy, small and effective.
Kettlebells are more versatile than dumbbells for example because they can be used safely for swings and other dynamic movements that are very effective for improving whole-body functional strength.
You can train the whole body with kettlebells, especially if you get two different weights. One lighter for upper body and dynamic exercises and a heavier one for the lower body.
You can train the upper body with exercises like bent-over rows, shoulder presses, bicep curls, and tricep extensions. For the lower body, you can do exercises like deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, goblet squats, and kettlebell swings.
Kettlebells are a great option if you can spare on square foot for storing your kettlebell or bells. They really don’t take that much space and are scientifically proven to be very effective for seniors.
My final recommendation are Theraband exercise bands. While not as effective for actual strength training as bodyweight or kettlebell training, Therabands offer a gentler form of strength training that’s exceptionally good for recovering from injuries or surgery and for very elderly people.
Thereabands are simply elastic rubber bands that come in different strengths. They can be used as resistance for strength training. So instead of a heavyweight, you use the elastic pull of the Theraband as resistance.
The two great things about Thereabands are that they are super lightweight, a few grams or so and they can be folded when not in use. So they don’t really take any real space as you can store them in a drawer for example.
The other great thing about Therabands is that they don’t depend on gravity to offer resistance. This means you can do a lot of variations for movement patterns that regular weight wouldn’t allow.
This way Therabands can be used to substitute even some gym machines. Thereabands are also great for adding resistance to bodyweight exercises like squats.
You can learn more about Thereabands and how to work out with them in my Therabands for seniors article.
I hope you found these tips for small exercise equipment useful. As you can see, it doesn’t take much to improve your strength and health.
You can achieve great results simply by using your own bodyweight. So equipment isn’t the hard part. The hard part is knowing what exercises to perform and how often.
After that, it’s all about consistency. You don’t actually need to exercise as hard as you probably think. But you need to do it often enough and consistently for a long time to see actual results.
If you are interested in an effective and simple strength training routine, you can download my free weight training routine for seniors here. Also, check out my article about the best exercise machines for seniors.
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See you next time!