One of the most important ways seniors can take care of themselves is by staying physically active. A sedentary lifestyle can worsen other conditions and, conversely, being active can help stave off illness and speed up healing. A major concern for seniors who want to stay active is how to exercise without risking a fall or injury. One solution is to use a pedal exerciser. This is a low-impact and seated activity meaning one does not need to worry about excessive shock and stress on their body and they do not need to focus on balance to prevent falling. Pedal exercising can be done anytime such as while reading or watching television. This makes it a great low-concentration way to stay active and increase the strength of the leg muscles, as well as improve blood pressure, heart disease, and could offer a sense of well-being. Therefore, consider these pedal exerciser options for seniors:
This basic pedal exerciser comes fully assembled, as it is comprised of a single piece chrome frame with the pedal action already installed. Since it is not assembled in multiple parts with screws or bolts, it is very stable and will not loosen or shake during use. It comes with non-skid rubber feet to give the user traction and prevent the device from moving around during use. The tension knob on the top can be used to manually adjust the resistance in order to increase or decrease the difficulty level of the workout. Thought pedal exercisers are generally associated with leg workouts, one can also use this on a tabletop for an arm workout.
The Fit Sit Deluxe Pedal Exerciser by Platinum Fitness adds a bit more functionality to the basic pedal exerciser design. This exerciser comes in several different colors for a more stylish look and includes an LCD readout. The user can get feedback about their exercise time, number of revolutions, speed, and even an estimate of calories burned. Platinum Fitness has also included an anchor strap to keep it from sliding away. When not in use the Fit Sit can be folded up for easy and compact storage. A tension knob can be found on top to easily adjust the resistance if desired. There is minimal assembly required so it can be immediately used without any special tools.
Sunny Health’s mini exercise bike is a compact machine that comes very close to duplicating the experience of a full exercise bike. It includes an LCD screen that displays important metrics as one is exercising, as well as a tension knob for varying resistance. Unlike more basic models this option has adjustable straps on the foot pedals. Often, those with larger feet can have trouble with fitting into the single size pedal stirrups that come with budget options, but that should not be a problem here. The wide leg stance and solid center of gravity make this a very stable option. The magnetic system is also surprisingly quiet. Some assembly is required but it can be easily put together in about five minutes. It is a bit heavy so if the senior using it is not very strong it would be best to keep it in one place so they do not need to move it around often.
For those who want to step up their pedal exercise with more features the motorized electric mini exercise bike by Confidence Fitness fits the bill. This electric powered mini bike has twelve speed settings for greater variety and challenge. There are six pre-programmed workouts and a manual option so that one can switch up their routine instead of just sitting down and pedaling at the same speed and resistance for half an hour. This is a great way to build up strength and endurance even faster than with traditional pedal exercisers. The electric assist can be turned off and the bike can be used in a manual-only situation as well. A remote control is included so that changes can be made mid-workout without having to bend over to reach the display. It also only weighs ten pounds so it is easy for anyone to move around whenever or wherever it is needed.
If you have the room for it, buying a full-sized recumbent exercise bike is actually surprisingly affordable. This model by Exerpeutic includes a thick Air Soft seat that is comfortable for anyone under the 300-pound weight limit and allows for longer workouts. There are armrests on either side of the seat so the user should feel comfortably supported and balanced. The magnetic tension system can be easily controlled by the display, which also includes several pre-programmed workouts and which gives feedback on a number of metrics such as calories burned and distance. This bike also includes heart pulse sensors by the user’s hands to be able to repeatedly check heart rate and ensure that they are working out in the proper target heart rate zone. The seat and pedal straps are adjustable so several people of different sizes in the same household can share this bike on a regular basis. It weighs just over 60 pounds so it is not very mobile but there are some small wheels on the front that can assist with relocation if necessary. For entertainment purposes, there is a perch above the control panel where a tablet or phone can be rested.
Getting older and being more cautious about movement is no reason to stop taking care of yourself and exercising. There are many options in pedal exercisers, from very basic and inexpensive all the way up to full recumbent bikes. Doing something as simple as pedaling for even 15 minutes per day can go a long way toward keeping seniors in shape and even improving mobility. It is better to be proactive and prevent further loss in motor ability, and when one can do so while watching television there is really no excuse not to.