We all know how good exercise is for our mind and body, but exercising can be harder for those who are prone to injuries or have limited mobility, such as the elderly.
However, the elderly can really benefit from exercising as it can improve circulation and strengthen muscles after operations or falls. My father is in his 90s, and we bought a pedal machine to get his confidence back after a fall.
If you’re looking for a way for yourself or your elderly relative to strengthen their muscles effectively without risking further injury, I’ve put together a list of the best mini exercise bikes and pedal equipment that I shortlisted at the time. These reviews are written specifically with the elderly in mind, as well as answering some commonly asked questions.
Best UK Pedal Exercise Machine for the Elderly
This pedal machine by Able2 is small and compact, so it won’t get in the way. It has non-slip stoppers on the bottom so you don’t have to worry about the pedal slipping and the user injuring themselves.
The only assembly required is putting in the pressure adjuster, and the pedal arrives with all the tools you need to do this, including an Allen key and a small wrench. Reviewers have said that although assembly is easy, it can be quite fiddly, so if the user suffers from arthritis or poor mobility in the hands then they may need someone to help them.
It’s easy to use and doesn’t require much thought, it’s something that can be done whilst watching TV or listening to the radio!
It also gives you the choice of resistance by twisting the black dial at the back, meaning the exercise can be tailored specifically to your needs. Many reviewers have praised this pedal, stating that it’s helped them build up the strength in their legs after operations.
- Small and compact
- Non-slip stoppers
- Comes with tools needed to assemble
- Relatively easy assembly
- Choose the resistance level
- Plenty of positive reviews
- The foot stirrups can be considered small, so if you have extremely wide feet they may not fit
Best Leg Exercise Machine for the Elderly
HoMedics Leg Exerciser
This leg exerciser by HoMedics was designed in consultation with occupational therapists and simulates walking without the impact on your joints.
It features toe-touch control and has a handheld remote control that allows you to switch between the 3 speed and stride settings without having to leave your seat. It can also be controlled from the exerciser itself, just in case you lose the remote.
The exerciser is lightweight at only 4.5kg so you don’t have to worry about it being too heavy to move and is 39 x 37 x 9cm so it should be easy enough to store out of the way.
It turns off automatically after 15 minutes and the bright turquoise against the white makes the buttons easy to see and press. It comes with instructions and is really easy to set up and use, simply place your feet on the pads and off you go!
It’s worth bearing in mind that this exerciser moves your feet and legs for you, so it’s best suited for those who have circulation issues rather than for muscle building – it’d be perfect for someone who is wheelchair-bound.
- Designed with occupational therapists
- Remote control
- 3 speed and 3 stride settings
- Relatively lightweight
- Turns off after 15 minutes
- Easy to set up and use
- Some reviewers have said that the machine is noisy, so may not be suitable for use outside of the home
Best UK Mini Exercise Bike Suitable for the Elderly
Evoland Leg Exercise Bike
This mini exercise bike by Evoland has a comfortable, non-slip pedal strap to keep your feet from slipping out. One of the things I love about this exercise bike is that it has an LCD display that is easy to read and shows RPM, time, distance and calories so you can keep track of everything and make exercise goals.
The pedals can go forwards or backwards to exercise all your leg muscles and can even be used to exercise your arms and shoulders if placed on a table.
It has a dial that allows you to adjust the resistance to suit your needs and also has adjustable straps on the pedals to account for feet of all shapes and sizes.
It’s compact enough to keep under a table and some reviewers have said that it comes with a mat to protect your floors and stop the machine from slipping.
- Non-slip pedals
- LCD display
- Shows RPM, time, distance and calories to track progress
- Pedals can go forwards and backwards
- Can be used for arms too
- Adjustable resistance
- Adjustable straps
- Comes with non-slip mat
- Reviewers have said that it’s quite heavy, so may not be suitable for those who don’t have a lot of mobility unless they’re okay with always having it out
Best Simple Exercise Bike for the Elderly
Foldable Rehab Machine
This foldable rehabilitation machine by QJYNS can be used to exercise both the arms and the legs, either separately or together. It has non-slip and non-marking feet to ensure that the machine stays in place on any surface, so there’s no risk of injury to yourself or damage to your flooring.
I love that this machine also has a hand and foot massager, which means that if you can’t or don’t feel like doing any strenuous exercise for whatever reason, you can use the massager to increase your blood circulation.
You can adjust the resistance of the leg and arm exerciser separately, so the exercise is completely customisable to your body.
This machine is slightly larger than the ones mentioned previously as it allows you to exercise both arms and legs simultaneously, but it isn’t huge at 50 x 45 x 95cm. This machine is also very quiet, so it won’t get in the way of you watching TV or listening to the radio whilst you exercise.
- Can exercise both legs and arms, simultaneously or separately
- Adjustable resistance
- Non-slip and non-marking feet
- Foot and hand massager to improve blood circulation
- Despite its capabilities, its relatively small at 50 x 45 x 90cm
- Heavier than the machines mentioned previously
- Can be fiddly to assemble so those with vision or mobility issues may need help
Best Mini Arm And Leg Exercise Bike
Mini Exercise Bike by AGM
This mini exercise bike by AGM is the only product mentioned to come in a choice of colours, either black or silver. The pedals can be operated both forwards and backwards and allows you to exercise both your arms and legs by placing the bike on the floor, or on a table.
It has an easy to read LCD display screen that shows calories burned, RPM and exercise duration which allows you to keep a track of your progress, or set yourself workout goals, you can also reset the data by pressing the red button for 3 seconds. The resistance of the pedals is easily adjusted by turning the tension screw to customise your workout too.
It has non-slip feet and a sturdy frame, reducing the risk of injury. It also has adjustable foot/hand straps that cater for all shapes and sizes, and adds a further safety element as your feet can’t just slip off the pedals.
It’s relatively compact at 35 x 40.6 x 32cm, weighs 3.5kg and has a carry handle to help you move it around so it can be stored away when not in use.
- 2 colour options
- Can be used to exercise legs or arms
- LCD display
- Adjustable resistance
- Non-slip feet and sturdy frame
- Adjustable straps
- Relatively compact and light
- Carry handle
- In order to assemble, you have to screw some parts in so those with vision or mobility problems may need help
How Can I Motivate My Elderly Relative To Exercise?
Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle is important as we age, as we become more susceptible to obesity, memory issues, poor bone strength, cardiovascular diseases and other issues if we become inactive.
Exercising has a load of benefits for the elderly, but that doesn’t always mean it’s easy – weaker muscles, chronic pain and health conditions can make exercise a daunting prospect for older people.
However, there are things that we can do to encourage our elderly relatives to participate in some form of exercise.
- List the benefits – Helping your relative to visualise the benefits of exercise can motivate them to do it. If they suffer from chronic pain, perhaps put together some evidence to show them how exercising can help alleviate this.
- Start off small – Encourage them to start off by exercising a few times a week rather than everyday, it’s likely that they’ll feel the benefits for themselves and want to carry on and build up the amount on their own.
- Show them it doesn’t have to be difficult – Explain to them that exercise isn’t always vigorous gym sessions, it can be a lot easier. Purchasing one of the machines mentioned above allows your relative to partake in cardio and muscle building exercise, without even having to leave the comfort of their own home or sofa!
- If all else fails, offer to exercise with them – Encourage your elderly relative to exercise, by exercising with them. Not only will this be great for both of you physically, but it will also allow you both to spend some time together. It may be easier for them to exercise if there’s someone else to motivate them to do it.
Remember, don’t treat them like a child and punish them if they don’t exercise – the best way to be supportive is to be encouraging and motivating. With my own elderly father, it was more about lack of confidence, rather than reluctance.
After reading this article, I hope you found all the information that you’re looking for! If there are any underlying health conditions involved, it’s always best to consult a doctor before you or anyone else engages in any form of physical exercise to be safe.