We have reviewed the best ellipticals for the elderly. If you are in a hurry, the table below gives a quick snapshot. Or you can scroll down for detailed reviews of the top ellipticals for the elderly.
When it comes to exercising the lower body indoors, there are several options available. There are treadmills, exercise bikes and of course ellipticals. How does one choose the best exercise gadget for the elderly?
Depending upon their exercise needs, their capability for strenuous activity and their goals, each one of these gadgets offers unique benefits to the elderly. However, if we are looking for a machine that is easy on the body while still providing a holistic exercise, the elliptical is probably the best choice, for the reasons mentioned below:
- Ellipticals are less stressful on knees, hips and lower back than treadmills or exercise bikes. This is because your foot is never off the pedal, so you are never actually “stepping”, unlike treadmills. This means a lot less joint pain, for pretty much the same workout.
- Ellipticals have both pedals as well as hand-pedals (similar to ski poles). Therefore they provide a more holistic exercise medium than either treadmill or exercise bikes. Using an elliptical is a cross between walking and cross country skiing
- Ellipticals can also be pedalled in reverse, which helps you to work on your calf and hamstring, which you cannot do on a treadmill.
What are the factors to consider when buying an elliptical?
Ellipticals come in varying sizes, from full-size to compact ones and finally the mini ellipticals which are used under-desk.
Size is usually inversely proportional to the performance that you get out of an elliptical, so if you are looking for intense workouts then full-size machines are just the right fit for you.
If the space taken up by the machine is an important element of your planning then compact ellipticals can do the job perfectly well as well.
The under-desk mini-ellipticals are great for people who would like to work out a bit while working in the office or at their desk. The workout is not very intense, it helps relax the body and makes sure that sitting later hours on your computer does not harm your health.
Stride length is the technical term used to measure the maximum distance your feet are going to be apart when working out with your elliptical.
For most adults, a stride length of 20 inches is considered an industry standard. However, most sometimes seniors have a much smaller stride length with age, and therefore it might be useful to measure your own stride length before going ahead with a purchase.
Step Up Height
Step up height is how high you need to hop in order to use the elliptical. Typically step-up height is not a major concern. However, in the case of seniors, it is important to note that many people may have joint pains or arthritis which may cause a lot of discomfort from a having to step up onto a taller machine.
Mini ellipticals have a huge advantage in this particular criteria due to obvious reasons, and if your loved one has a problem with stepping up, it might be prudent to consider the under-the-desk option.
Having a resistance adjustment option on the elliptical is a very useful feature since each individual might be at a different level of exercise capability, expertise, and lower body strength.
Most ellipticals offer 8 resistance levels. Higher-end models offer more levels. The more the levels, the more is the customizability of the exercise, better the resultant impact.
When buying an exercise machine for seniors, it is very important to make sure that the display panel should be simple and should display characters in large font size.
Most seniors prefer simple display monitors, that spell out only the most important details that one might want to track. There is no point confusing them with many numbers, out of which most information would be meaningless or impossible to track and monitor on a daily basis.
Secondly, display screens need to show all parameters in an easy to read, large font so that people with weaker eyesight should also be able to read and use them effectively.
Many ellipticals come with options such as Bluetooth connectivity-based mobile apps, inbuilt speakers, USB charging points, cooling fans and many others.
These are all devices meant to enhance your workout routine and if one is in the habit of using these devices during their workouts, then it certainly becomes an important USP for the ellipticals that have them. However, they may not be relevant to most people, and for that reason, we have not considered them as a factor in our rankings.
In the next section, we discuss our top picks for the best ellipticals for the elderly
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#1 Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stepper
The Sunny Health and & Fitness Twist Stepper has a special “Twist” motion in its stepping, which tones both your core and lower body, without putting too much pressure on your joints.
The digital display screen only shares the count of steps and calories burnt – a very optimized display with uncluttered information
It has handlebars with special protective foam covering that ensures safety by supporting the user in their standing action.
The pedals are large-sized and covered with contoured material to further minimize injury risk due to slipping off the exerciser.
It has a sturdy all-steel construction which makes it very durable. The stepping height is adjustable and the device weighs only 28 pounds.
Here we have a video featuring Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stepper.
- Contoured, oversized foot pedals
- Uncluttered digital display
- Twist motion for exercising core as well as lower body
- All-steel construction makes it durable
- Max weight capacity of 250 pounds, unsuitable for heavier people
- Few customer complaints of breakage after 1-2 months.
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#2 Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine
The Schwinn compact elliptical is another great machine for the elderly.
It has a customized 17.5-inch stride length, which makes it more comfortable for seniors (who typically have a shorter stride length).
8 resistance levels allow the user to customize their exercise routine as per their comfort and needs. Similarly, 7 preset workout programs let you customize your exercise
Ergonomically placed heart-rate monitors track your heart rate as you move up and down. The handlebars can be made to either move or to be fixed, depending on the kind of exercise and the level of strain that you want to incorporate in your exercise.
A large screen LCD console tracks several key parameters including speed, time, RPM, distance, calories, results and heart rate.
- 17.5-inch stride length
- 8 resistance levels
- Movable and fixed handlebars
- Large LCD display
- 7 preset programs
- It has a persistent “Knocking” or “clicking” noise as per many customers
- The customer service experience is not great
#3 Stamina InMotion E1000 Compact Strider
This is a mini-elliptical and it can be used as an under the desk exerciser.
The device is available in four attractive colours for the aesthetically minded, and measures approximately 24.5 x 17 x 11.4 inches which makes it compact and lightweight.
The Stamina InMotion E1000 has a durable build and smooth action along with whisper-quiet operation. It also features a display unit to help track important indicators like time, distance and strides taken.
You can work both in forward and reverse manner with the Cubii junior, with a reverse motion offering better exercise for the hamstring.
The pedals are textured for a strong grip, and there is a tension dial to adjust the resistance as per your need.
The device can be used both for sitting and standing exercises.
- Can be used in both forward and reverse motion
- Textured pedals for grip
- Can be used under the table and for stepping both
- Small display screen, not very friendly for elderly
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#4 Cubii Jr. – Seated Under-Desk Elliptical
Cubii Jr. is another great mini-elliptical device. It has a patented ergonomic design which makes it very low impact for exercising the lower body.
It has 8 resistance levels for a customized workout, a small display monitor for progress, and it has a sturdy and stable body
The device is extremely easy to set up (only 4 screws for assembly). It is very quiet and provides for smooth exercising motion
- Smooth and stable exerciser
- 8 resistance levels
- Patented ergonomic design for minimal impact on joints
- Some users have complained of noise from the device
#5 Body Rider Elliptical
The Body Rider Elliptical is actually a 2 in 1 exercise machine, that doubles up as an exercise bike with pedals, apart from being a normal elliptical. It has an adjustable seat, which allows the user to chose what mode they want to use it, either sitting or standing.
The Body Rider has a high momentum fan blade which gives a very stable ride along with quiet performance. There is minimal impact on the user’s knees.
The electronic console tracks distance, time, speed, and calories burned, just the right combination of indexes that you would like to track without cluttering up the screen with unnecessary information. The screen has a large character digital display.
The seat is adjustable both vertically and horizontally, which makes it perfect for individuals of any height.
The handlebars and foot pedals have foam rubber coverings, to ensure minimal chances of slipping off the machine.
- Dual purpose, Elliptical as well as Exercise Bike
- Large digital display, uncluttered info
- Large high momentum fan blade for stability
- Low impact exerciser
- Some customers complained about damages in 1-2 months
- Difficult to put together
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Ellipticals are one of the lowest impact exercise machines for the elderly, which do not impact the bones and joints while providing the complete benefit of a solid lower body exercise. You can choose from large, compact, and mini options, depending on your need and the level of strain that you want to take on.
Amongst our Top 5 list here, we have tried to maintain a blend of all types of ellipticals, both on the price scale and the size scale. While the final choice depends on several factors that are peculiar to the buyer himself, any of these devices would be a good pick for the perfect low impact exercise.