Best use of home gym machines for seniors

What is the best/safest way to use my home gym machine for strength, range of motion, cardio, etc? by Bob
(Charlotte NC)

Thanks Bob for your great question.

For seniors and the elderly who want to workout at home on their own, a compact, multi-function weight machine is a good choice. They are excellent for building up your overall strength and endurance, while being fairly simple and safe to operate.

If you have a limited amount of time and energy for working out, it is important to perform a routine that is efficient and effective for seniors. By this I mean that seniors usually have a lower energy reserve and may need shorter sessions to accomplish their exercise goals.

I usually recommend at least performing 4 exercises on these types of machines. Try doing 3 sets of 10 repetitions of theses exercises 2 to 3 times per week.

Leg Press: The most important task we are asked to do during the day is to stand up, and sit down. Using the leg press function on your machine will improve the muscles that allow this to improve including the quadriceps, buttock muscles, calf muscles and hamstrings.

Chest press: Make sure your machine has a chest press function. Essentially you will want to sit down while pushing out your arms. This will work on your chest muscles and arm muscles including the pectorals and triceps.

Row: A row function is perfect for strengthening the shoulders and upper back. You should be able to sit on the machine and pull the levers toward your chest. Make sure you also squeeze your shoulder blades when pulling back.

Back extension: A vital exercise is one for strengthening your back muscles and placing you in the opposite posture most commonly found in seniors. As we get older, we tend to slump, bringing the shoulders forward and rounding out the back. This causes a multitude of orthopedic and structural problems.

Good Luck!

Doug Schrift

Doug Schrift is a Physical Therapist, Certified Geriatric Specialist, and senior fitness coach. Doug helps seniors become strong and stable even if they have never exercised before.