Best Ellipticals for Seniors 2021
When ellipticals hit the market in 1995, baby boomers welcomed them as knee-friendly alternatives to stairsteppers and bikes. Today ellipticals have become the most popular low-impact trainers for boomers and adults of all ages. These machines let you accomplish cardio and strength training at once. They can help protect your mobility in different ways, such as improving bone density and keeping your ligaments flexible and strong. Here we share three best ellipticals for seniors in terms of safety, comfort and value. We also link to many elliptical reviews and share an elliptical guide to help you make comparisons.
Three Best Ellipticals for Seniors
Ellipticals can be ideal for seniors wanting to sidestep harsh impact while staying active. The best ellipticals for anyone are sturdy and ergonomic… and these qualities are especially important on ellipticals for seniors, as aging bodies are naturally more prone to injury. Thus each “best elliptical for seniors” below has a stable frame (no wobbling). These cross trainers can position your body for easy balancing, support your natural stride, and be ultra-gentle to your joints. All three have moving handlebars too, letting you get a comfortable and efficient workout for your whole body.
Choosing from the ellipticals above, you can avoid the risks of using low quality machinery. To see more ellipticals with a range of review scores, scroll down past our elliptical buying guide.
Next we explain specific features to keep in mind while shopping for an elliptical trainer.
Ellipticals for Seniors Guide
Forget the expression "No pain, no gain!" When an elliptical trainer is well-made, it lets you exercise comfortably and with minimal risk of next-day soreness. Here are tips to help you compare ellipticals and choose a cross trainer you'll love.
Durability helps explain big price differences among the best home ellipticals. Low quality ellipticals are prone to breaking down within a few months, but high quality ellipticals can be relied on for years. Here are factors to help you judge machine durability.
Price: Price is a good clue about durability. Generally the reliable machines aren't sold for less than $999, though you might find one for less on sale. It's not easy for a company to use high quality materials (like heavy-gauge steel) and sell an elliptical for much under $1,000.
Warranty: The parts warranties for ellipticals vary significantly. If the warranty is only valid for a year or less, the elliptical isn't likely to serve well for long.
User Weight Limit: The most durable elliptical trainers can hold 300 pounds or more. Even if you weigh less than 200 pounds, choosing a high-capacity elliptical is a good move because the heavier machines tend to have more solid components for durability.
Metal vs. Plastic: The top ellipticals for we picked for seniors are built from high quality materials. When fitness machines are made with cheap plastic parts, they aren't as safe or enjoyable to use.
Sealed Bearings: Most people would rather not spend their golden years maintaining fitness equipment. The highest-rated ellipticals have sealed bearings, which are self-lubricating so that there's no need to frequently grease the machine.
Drive Design: All things being equal, rear drive and center drive ellipticals have an edge over front drive models in terms of durability. However, we do recommend specific front drive trainers that might cost less and still earn positive reviews.
"Performance" refers to the elliptical's motion. This includes the pedals and usually a set of moving handlebars. You'll want the pedals to support your natural stride and give an appropriate amount of resistance. You'll want the handlebar motion to coordinate nicely with the pedaling too. Here's more info.
Stride: The standard stride length for high quality ellipticals is fixed at 20 inches; this is what you'll see on health club trainers and most of the best-rated ellipticals for home use… but depending on your leg length, your best elliptical might have a shorter or longer stride. An elliptical with adjustable 18" to 22" stride can accommodate just about anyone. Adjustable stride costs more, but it helps ensure that anyone can use the elliptical comfortably and without risking long-term injury from using muscles incorrectly.
Resistance: The amount of resistance is a big determinant of an elliptical's price. Usually as you stride, the pedal resistance comes from a flywheel. The flywheel can build more inertia if it's heavy, so the best ellipticals have heavy flywheels. Seniors should look for 20-pound or heavier flywheels. An elliptical with a 25-pound or 30-pound flywheel will cost more, but it will perform extra-smoothly and can provide extra challenge when needed.
Incline: A good amount of ellipticals have pedal incline. Using the incline, you can use your muscles differently and increase the cardio challenge. The typical maximum incline for an elliptical ranges from 10 percent to 20 percent. This feature is especially fun to use with workout programs that simulate outdoor terrain. (See elliptical reviews for NordicTrack and Sole as examples.)
Handlebars: Most ellipticals have two sets of handlebars. Stationary handlebars are included for safety. These usually have heart rate sensors built-in for convenience. Moving handlebars are usually included to let you get a whole-body workout. On the best ellipticals the handlebars synchronize nicely with pedals. On cheap ellipticals the arm bars might not "catch up" with the pedals in a natural-feeling way.
Beyond the performance basics, ellipticals are built with various "extras." Here are some electronic features you might want included.
Wireless Pulse Monitor: Most ellipticals for 2021 have grip heart rate monitors built into their stationary handlebars; you can squeeze to get a readout. This system is convenient at lower speeds and after workouts, but wireless readings are more convenient and more accurate, especially when you're exercising intensely.
Large Screen: Ellipticals are built with a wide range of display screens. You might prefer a larger screen so that data are easier to read. Plus, the larger screens often support video workouts, TV and the web.
TV, Music and Internet: Most ellipticals nowadays are iPod-compatible, which means you can stream podcasts and music through built-in speakers. Also, ellipticals for this year tend to have built-in video screens, ledges for tablet computer, or both. If you have household WiFi, then you can have entertainment on board as you train.
Personalized Workouts: Elliptical machines have computerized workout programs to help you exercise efficiently. These can adjust the machine's speed and resistance so you can focus on moving. Some of the best ellipticals for 2021 let you access video workouts. Depending on the elliptical brand, the machine might be able to simulate outdoor tours by adjusting the incline to match scenic video that moves at your pace.
Data Sharing: You might be motivated by data about step counts and calorie burn, and the best ellipticals make it easy to track your numbers. Look for an elliptical with Bluetooth to automatically export your workout info to FitBit and other popular mobile apps for health and fitness management.
List of Elliptical Trainers for Seniors
Here are elliptical machines that earned a wide variety of review scores. You can also see lists of best ellipticals by price.
Best Ellipticals for Seniors
Making their encore, our three favorite ellipticals for seniors in 2021:
Best Ellipticals for Seniors
|Sole E25||4-stars||20 LBS||ECB||Under $1,000||See best price »|
|ProForm Hybrid Trainer Pro||4-stars||12.6 LBS||20 Digital Resistance Levels||Under $1,000||See best price »|
Frequently Asked Questions
Are elliptical bikes safe for seniors?
Ellipticals are actually quite safe for seniors as they're specifically designed to be gentle on the joints. Whereas other machines and bikes can be a bit tough to mount for some with mobility issues, the elliptical bike is engineered with this in mind. These machines also offer a smoother motion which is terrific for knees and hips.
Is a treadmill or an elliptical better for seniors?
As with all things, individual preferences vary. That said, if walking produces too much stress on an individual's joints, or perhaps they have balance issues, the elliptical is actually has a much better motion. There's no question one can burn just as many calories if not more on the elliptical.
Which elliptical is the best for seniors?
We offer some options below that we feel should be considered as best-in-category. That said, the Sole E25 should be strongly considered in terms of price and performance.
How should seniors exercise on an elliptical?
The great thing about ellipticals is the simplicity of the movement. Irrespective of one's fitness level, simply climbing aboard the machine and moving along will produce a significant affect.
Will ellipticals hurt seniors’ joint health?
Anything is possible, and we always encourage people to consult their medical professionals before launching into a new workout routine, but frankly ellipticals are about as safe a machine as is out there in terms of joints and tendons.