As we grow and age, we start to notice the effects of gravity. Our joints become stiffer, our muscles start to ache, and our energy levels can really take a toll. That being said, seniors should never stop being active! Here are 10 exercise essentials perfect to use at the independent living apartments in Sacramento.


1.) Yoga Mat

Yoga is a great way to maintain balance and flexibility by helping you stretch your muscles and relieve stress. However, just because you’re practicing yoga doesn’t mean you can’t also use a mat during your workout. Yoga mats are available in all sorts of different materials, but the one that is most commonly used by seniors (and recommended by doctors) is the soft foam mat.

How to use it?

A good way to start is by laying the yoga mat out in a room that has ample space and is well lit. Make sure your mat is as smooth as possible by taking off any mats or furniture that may be on it. You can then step directly on top of the mat, or you can even fold it up and put another soft piece of material on top of it if you’re afraid of injuries. Grab a friend and give it a try!


2.) Rowing Machine

One of the best exercises to do for seniors that are prone to injuries is rowing. Not only does it build strength, but it also helps with circulation and tendons. Rowing is great for senior women specifically because there are different types of rowing machines: each designed for specific activity needs.

How to use it?

You’ll start off by going through a few warmup motions before starting to get into the real work. You’ll also want to adjust yourself and your machine so that you can have a smooth and effective workout.


3.) Exercise Ball

Want another one of those great exercises that are both simple and effective? A weighted exercise ball is a great way to strengthen the back, reduce joint pain, and improve your balance! All you need to do is place the ball on a hard surface (make sure it’s not in an area with any furniture) and start off by doing a few stretches.

After that, you can start with your regular workout routine. The ball really increases your flexibility and decreases the amount of stress on your joints.


4.) Resistance Bands

You can’t have a list of exercises if you don’t include resistance bands! Resistance bands are most commonly used to build strength and muscle mass by working on a range of different muscle groups. They’re small, lightweight, and incredibly easy to pack up and bring with you.

How to use it?

While there are a lot of different resistance band exercises, the most common two are:

Chest Press and Lunges. With chest press, you’ll want to hold the band in both hands with your arms by your waist. With lunges, you’ll want to place your band around one leg while holding both ends of the band in each hand.

A set of brightly colored resistance bands


5.) Elliptical

The elliptical is great for seniors as it works out only your upper body, providing a good cardio workout with very little joint stress. The best part about this machine is that you don’t even have to move! This means that you can safely use an elliptical while sitting down to gain all the same benefits.

How to use it?

When using an elliptical, make sure that you find one that fits your height (or get an adjustable version). Build up to doing 30 minutes of elliptical a day by doing just two minutes at a time.


6.) Wrist Weights

Want to work on your balance and responsiveness? Try using dumbbells. These are great for working out your wrists, forearms, and upper arms. The best part about weighted dumbbells is that they’re lightweight and compact enough that you can bring them with you anywhere!

How to use it?

Load up 10 pounds of weight in each hand. Now move both hands independently of one another (if you want to do something like a bicep curl, do a traditional one first).


7.) Barbell Bench Press

The barbell bench press is great for beginner to intermediate strength trainers and can be found in a variety of different weight levels, depending on your desired intensity level. The barbell bench press works out your chest, shoulders, and triceps at the same time by focusing on the small muscles that connect them all together. This exercise is great for beginners because it’s easy to learn and requires very little equipment.

How to use it?

Start off by placing your barbell on the ground right in front of you. Next, face a bench (preferably one without any padding) and lie down on your back. You should have your barbell in both hands, palms facing up and close to your head, while you hold the barbell above your chest.


8.) Lat Pull Down Machine

Lat pulldown machines are a way to increase your upper body strength by improving your range of motion, core stability, and muscle function. The lat pulldown acts on the stabilizers of the shoulders and helps build muscle in the lats as well as the biceps. With this machine, you’ll be able to isolate multiple parts of your body at once.

How to use it?

Start off by sitting down on the machine and placing your arms straight above you with your palms facing forward. Hold the bar on your palms with your elbows firmly together and set your back to an upright position. Next, try to pull the bar down as far as possible while still maintaining a straight line from shoulders to hips.


9.) Dumbbell Press

Dumbbell presses are good for seniors looking to work out their shoulders, chest, and triceps at the same time. As you extend your arms out in front of you, you’ll be working out multiple muscles simultaneously, including your hamstrings and core muscles.

How to use it?

Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold each one in your hands with your thumbs facing inwards and your palms facing away from you. You should start off by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the dumbbells at a 30-degree angle.


10.) Recumbent Exercise Bike

The recumbent exercise bike is a great way to strengthen your core, glutes, and thighs while still working out your heart. On top of all of that, it’s also a very compact machine that can be stored away or taken with you anywhere! The best part about the recumbent bike is that it allows you to really focus on what you’re doing without any distractions.

How to use it?

Start off by putting your bike on the ground where you won’t hit anything. Next, sit down with your feet flat on the pedals and begin pedaling moderately (45-60 RPM). This will increase your heart rate for about 10-15 minutes at a time. Try to push yourself a little more each time, but don’t go too fast!


Community Calendar

If you’re one of the residents here at our community, also be sure to check out our activity calendar! The independent living apartments in Sacramento are the perfect place to put these ideas into action.