Aerobic exercise isn’t just for the young and fit anymore! If you’re over 50, or if you’re recovering from an injury or surgery, high-intensity elliptical trainers may be just what your body needs to get back in shape and stay there. You might even find that elliptical trainers are easier on your joints than treadmills or jogging.
In this article, we will take a look at elliptical trainers and see whether they are good or bad for seniors.Let's firstly take a look at 5 benefits of using elliptical machines.
1. Low impact movement
Low impact is good because it helps to prevent injury, especially since the bones and muscles of seniors are typically less resilient than those of younger people. For example, broken hips and osteoporosis are common ailments in the elderly, often caused by activity that is too high-impact or repetitive. Moreover, low impact helps you to break a sweat gently, which can lead to better heart health among seniors.
If you’re looking for a way to get moving that is low impact and easy on your body (while still challenging enough), take up the elliptical trainer. It can help build endurance and muscle strength with low-intensity training.
2. Easy on the joints
When it comes to exercise, you want to be sure that you’re choosing a physical activity that won’t put undue stress on your joints. Exercise is good for your overall health and well-being, but pounding away on a treadmill or working out with heavy weights isn’t always safe or advisable.
Seniors should focus on low-impact exercises like walking, swimming and using an elliptical trainer at a moderate intensity level. You can burn calories, improve heart health and stay healthy without risking injury by exercising mindfully.
3. No pressure on the knees, hips, or back
The elliptical’s motion is more natural than running, because your body remains upright. This is especially beneficial to the elderly, whose bodies are often more fragile and stiffer as they age. Since you aren’t bending at the knees, hips, or lower back while using an elliptical machine, you avoid unnecessary pressure on these joints that come with jogging or running. Even if you are in pretty good shape right now, it doesn’t mean that a fall isn’t lurking around the corner.
By working out on an elliptical machine your odds of injury are cut dramatically and getting the recommended 30 minutes of exercise every day will become much easier!
4. Added support
If there's one area where ellipticals truly shine, it's in built-in features designed to make them more accessible to seniors and other people with disabilities who may find standing too difficult or painful.
In many cases, a senior can hop on an elliptical machine without assistance and be able to complete a full workout without pain or discomfort. For example, several manufacturers are offering low impact treadmills that might allow you (or your loved ones) the same workout with even less stress on the joints than ever before.
Whether you're just looking for a way to keep active as you get older or are suffering from some sort of joint pain that makes strenuous exercise impossible otherwise, these machines could be the perfect way to stay fit and healthy as you get older.
5. Mobility in low weights and dimensions
There are several home exercise equipment that help seniors to improve their physical activity. The most frequent used is the elliptical trainers because it uses a series of movements that helps mobility and balance. Moreover, the ellipticals can be adjusted to fit height and weight so these machines are accessible even in people with disabilities.
Furthermore, they do not require a lot space and they are lighter than other fitness equipment such as stair climbers or treadmills. Although the experts agree that using the ellipticals is a good alternative to exercising outside the home, we need to remember there are a lot benefits that come from walking outdoors instead of doing it inside on an expensive machine.
Drawbacks of ellipticals for seniors
First, while it’s nice to have your feet firmly planted on a stable platform during exercise, some people find that working out on an elliptical can make them feel off-balance or unsteady. If you tend to get lightheaded or dizzy when you stand up quickly, an elliptical might not be right for you; these machines also allow users to stand up without taking their feet off of them and that may cause problems in some people who are prone to blackouts.
Here are two disadvantages of ellipticals for seniors.
Traditional stairclimbers and treadmills have a large incline that allows people to work muscles in their legs differently. This can be an advantage when trying to get fit because it targets different muscle groups than riding on a flat surface. However, elliptical trainers do not offer different inclines, which can make it hard to target specific muscle groups in your legs.
Before making your purchase, consider whether or not you will want a machine with an incline and if there are any that come with resistance bands included.
Limited range of motion
While ellipticals provide a greater range of motion than treadmills, they do have a movement range. If you are training for a specific race or sport, and your joint mechanics don’t align with that range, you won’t be able to use an elliptical trainer. Also, some people find it difficult to maintain balance on an elliptical. This is more likely to be an issue if you are over 55 years old and haven’t used an elliptical in years, but even younger users can find themselves unstable at times.
The verdict: Are elliptical machines good for seniors?
The only way to find out is to try it. If you have access to an elliptical machine, give it a whirl for at least 20 minutes. While that’s not a long time, it’s enough time to see if you can do it and what impact using one will have on your fitness.
As long as you don’t feel pain in your knees or other joints, you may be pleasantly surprised by how easy ellipticals are on seniors and see a positive difference after just a few sessions. If you are happy with the elliptical trainer and are considering on getting your own, be sure to check this one out from Amazon.
But remember: The best exercise is one that challenges your body without causing pain or aggravation—so no matter what machine you choose, don’t overdo it!