The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association set guidelines for older adults in 2007. The basic recommendation is 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five days a week with some muscle-strengthening activity for healthy aging. People over 50 can get the best benefits from using gym exercise machines that target specific muscle groups and reduce risk of injury.
The best cardiovascular exercises for people over 50 tend to be ones that do not jar the body such as cycling, swimming and walking, according to the American Council on Exercise. The recumbent bike has a backrest so the rider has back support. This puts the legs out front and works the big muscles of the legs without back strain. Most gyms have both upright bikes and recumbent bikes in their cardio machine areas. They can also be purchased for home use.
The treadmill is another cardiovascular machine that does not necessarily jar the body, as long as you use it for walking rather than running. It can be set for any pace that gets the heart rate up. It can be varied for uphill climbs and tailored to the exercise level of the user. Walking is one of the aerobic exercises recommended by the American Heart Association for people over 50.
People over 50 who do not practice muscle-building exercise lose 1/4 lb. of muscle mass each year, according to the American Council on Exercise. Weight training can enhance muscle function and mass even in 90-year-old people, according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
Ab rockers work the core muscles strengthening the back and abdominal muscles. The rocker is a good option for people over 50 because it supports the back and aids in controlling the movement to work only the abdominals and back muscles.
Circuit training resistance equipment is designed to protect the joints, support the body and make sure the specific muscle group to be exercised is targeted. Over-50 exercisers benefit from circuit weight machines by building muscle while keeping correct form and protecting joints. Weight machines are also a good option for people who may have physical challenges such as arthritis and a lack of flexibility. Weight equipment is used in the sitting position, which supports the back and ensures the exercise is performed correctly.