How is that fitness resolution shaping up? Even the most determined athletes often feel their motivation start to dip around February, as the thrill of a new year gives way to more mundane day-to-day realities.
If you are just too busy to make it to the gym, perhaps a home workout is the tweak you need to get back on track and meet your fitness goals.
In that spirit, here are six pieces of home exercise equipment that can get you into tip-top shape — even if you’re in your fifth decade or beyond. Plus, we’ve got options to fit any budget.
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As people age, it’s common for joint problems to appear. For that reason, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends that folks over 50 take part in exercises that are easy on the joints.
A rowing machine can give you a great cardiovascular workout with minimal wear and tear on your joints. In addition to giving your heart and lungs a great workout, your arms, legs, chest and back all will benefit from this machine.
Amazon lists rowing machines from just over $100 to more than $1,000.
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If you are fortunate and don’t have joint issues, you can probably engage in exercise that is a bit higher-impact. Weight-bearing activities are those that work against gravity, such as walking, running, dancing or tennis. This type of exercise is important, because it can help to prevent osteoporosis.
A simple jump rope is a great way to get weight-bearing activity that will also tone up your heart and lungs. According to the New York Times Health Guide:
A simple jump rope improves aerobic endurance for people who are able to perform high-impact exercise. Jumping rope should be done on a floor mat plus a surface that has some give to avoid joint injury.
You can easily find jump ropes on Amazon for $10 or less.
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Many people find that running on a treadmill — or pavement — is increasingly difficult as they age. Aging knees are the main source of this discomfort.
And an elliptical machine is a great choice if you want a vigorous aerobic workout without stressing your knees. Dr. Edward Laskowski, co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center, writes:
Using an elliptical machine can be less stressful on your knees, hips and back than is running on a treadmill.
If you simply walk on a treadmill, your knees will probably hold up just fine. But if you want a more energetic workout, an elliptical machine might be just the ticket.
On Amazon, an elliptical machine will cost you anywhere from $150 to more than $1,000.
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Laskowski notes that although an elliptical machine is best for most people with knee problems, other exercisers might find a stationary bike is friendlier to their aching legs.
The New York Times notes:
Stationary bikes condition leg muscles and are fairly economical and easy to use safely. The pedals should turn smoothly, the seat height should adjust easily, and the bike’s computer should be able to adjust intensity.
If you have a bad back, consider purchasing a recumbent bike, which has a seat that is friendlier to that part of the body.
Amazon sells typical stationary bikes for $150 and up, although you can get alternative bikes for less.
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If you live in a warm-weather state — such as Florida, Arizona or California — there’s a decent chance you have a home swimming pool. Exercising in the pool is among the best ways to get in shape if you are 50 or older.
Swimming gives you a full-body aerobic workout with very little impact on your joints. It’s the perfect win-win exercise for older athletes.
If you’re not a great swimmer — or if you’re simply looking for a different spin on your pool workouts – grab a kickboard and dive in. Livestrong notes:
A kickboard can be a particularly effective tool in a water workout because it can help you balance in the water so you can target specific muscle groups and can be used to create resistance for certain exercises as well.
Use a kickboard to exercise your arms, legs, hips and glutes. Your heart and lungs will get fit in the process.
This is a bargain addition to your home workout regimen. You’ll find kickboards on Amazon for around $10 to $25.
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It’s a fact of life: As we age, we lose muscle mass — 4 to 6 pounds per decade, according to ACE.
However, with a little weight training, you can cheat Mother Nature. ACE says working out muscles on a regular basis can help older exercisers to:
- Regain lost muscle mass
- Increase strength
- Boost metabolism
- Build bone density
- Improve balance
The uber-frugal among us can transform items around the house into ad hoc barbells. For example, grab a 16-ounce can of beans from the pantry and, voila, you’ve got a 1-pound weight for bicep curls. Cosmopolitan and Fitness magazine offer many other options.
Otherwise, you can find real-deal barbells at Amazon. Prices vary, depending on what you need. But it’s possible to get a 20-pound set for $25.
Are you an older exerciser with a fondness for a particular piece of home exercise equipment? Tell us about it by commenting below or on our Facebook page.