No matter your age, starting a new exercise program can feel like a big endeavor. And with schedules constantly overflowing, carving out even an hour to go to the gym can become another task on the list.
But with the convenience of exercise DVDs and videos, you can do your entire workout right from the comfort of your living room — with little to no exercise equipment.
Ready to get moving? Here are the six best senior exercise DVDs out there (one is also available online for streaming). Plus, tips from personal trainers on how to find the perfect exercise videos for your at-home workouts.
1. Best Balance Workout Video: Balance & Strength
- Best for: Beginners
- Workouts: 9 (8 to 30 minutes each)
- Bonus: Also available on Amazon Prime
This DVD includes nine yoga, Tai Chi, balance and seated workouts, along with a tutorial to help you learn basic Tai Chi movements. Each video focuses on a different part of your balance and stability — while also building strength, flexibility and mobility
That's important. About one in three adults ages 65 and older experience falls, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
This senior exercise video, also recommended by Assisted Living, an organization helping improve day-to-day life for older adults, is available as an actual DVD or for instant streaming through Amazon Prime Video (at a reduced price).
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $16.95
2. Best Seated Workout DVD: Seated Mix
- Best for: Anyone with limited mobility
- Workouts: 30 (10 to 45+ minutes each)
- Bonus: Comes with a resistance band
No matter your mobility, you can get in a great strength workout with this seated exercise routine for seniors. It comes with 30 workouts for every strength and fitness level.
"Strength training videos are excellent for improving functional mobility as well as improve bone health, muscle capacity and energy levels," says New York-based physical therapist and trainer Melissa Garcia, DPT, CSCS.
Resistance training is your best tool to combat age-related muscle loss, according to an August 2019 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. (After age 30, the average adult loses about 3 to 5 percent of their muscle each decade, according to Harvard Health Publishing.)
For this seniors exercise DVD, all you need is a resistance band — and one comes included.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $29.95
3. Best Pilates Workout DVD: Pilates for Beginners
- Best for: Beginners
- Workouts: 5 (10 minutes each)
- Bonus: You can mix and match workouts
This beginners Pilates DVD teaches all the basics in five manageable 10-minute sessions. As you start out, you can do one workout per day and start mixing and matching as you become more comfortable with your practice.
Pilates is a great way to improve balance while standing and walking and may even help with flexibility, according to an August 2014 study published in the European Review of Aging and Physical Activity.
Pilates is also lower impact, which makes it a little safer on the joints than higher-impact exercises, Garcia explains.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $8.99
4. Best Cardio Video: Zumba 101 Dance Fitness for Beginners
- Best for: Beginner to intermediate
- Workouts: 2 (30 minutes each)
- Bonus: Led by Beto Perez, the creator of Zumba
New to dance? No sweat (kind of). This dance exercise video offers two 30-minute beginners Zumba lessons in one DVD. You'll learn the four fundamental rhythms of this dance style in an easy-to-follow classes.
Dance classes, like Zumba, are a fun way to get in cardio exercise. To keep your heart healthy, you should aim to complete about 150 minutes of moderate cardio activity each week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
All heart health aside, boosting your blood flow can benefit your brain. After enrolling 66 older adults in ballroom dance classes, researchers of an August 2019 study in the American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and other Dementia found that dancing may help improve memory and overall brain function.
"I also really like recommending these classes for older adults because they also improve coordination and balance," Garcia says.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $14.95
5. Best Tai Chi Video: Tai Chi Fit Over 50
- Best for: All Levels
- Workouts: 1 (40 minutes)
- Bonus: You'll practice deep breathing for relaxation
Don't intimidated if you've never tried Tai Chi before. Made specifically for adults over 50, this Tai Chi DVD is perfect for beginners and takes all the stress out of learning a brand new activity.
That activity just happens to be phenomenal for stress reduction and mind-body balance. Like meditation in motion, Tai Chi is a controlled low-impact exercise that can improve heart health, muscle strength, balance and flexibility, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Tai Chi may even help reduce fear of falling, according to a December 2018 Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation study. In just 8 weeks of regular practice, older adults improved their balance and were more confident against falls.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $12.95
4 Tips to Find the Right Senior Exercise DVD for You
1. Do What You Like
For anyone looking to start a new workout routine, prioritize finding a workout style that you actually enjoy doing and is safe for your fitness level, Garcia recommends.
"For example, some would prefer a bootcamp-style workout but others may like fun dance-themed exercises," she says. "The styles of the videos and programs will vary, but pay attention to what you like and what you're drawn to. You don't want to be dragging your feet every time you turn on the DVD."
Not totally sure what type of exercise you'll like best? Many of these videos offer trailers on YouTube. You can stream these videos or try bite-sized clips for free to see which video is most suited to your interests and fitness level.
2. Research the Instructor
You wouldn't hire just any personal trainer without doing a little background check, right? You want to be certain that the service comes from a qualified and experienced adult. The same goes for workout videos.
"I would pay attention to if the person who is creating the DVD and videos is qualified to be teaching and instructing the workouts," Garcia says. "Are these people exercise professionals? This is important because you want to make sure that you are getting the information from a credible and safe source."
There's no shortage of exercise DVDs for seniors out there and doing a little Google search can help guarantee you're purchasing a good program. Look for programs that are built by certified trainers. The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), American Council on Exercise (ACE) and International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) are a few reputable certification organizations.
Trainer Certifications to Look for:
- CPT (certified personal trainer)
- CSCS (certified strength and conditioning specialist)
- CFSC (certified functional strength coach)
- PT (physical therapist)
- DPT (doctor of physical therapy)
3. Work With Your Fitness Level
You probably wouldn't walk into an advanced yoga class if you'd never tried it before, right? The same rule applies to exercise DVDs.
Prioritize beginner-friendly videos if you've never tried the exercises before. Look for intermediate versions if you're more experienced. Read the labels on video covers closely and browse through a few customer reviews to make sure you buy the right fit for you.
This rule is especially important for strength training, Garcia says. To stay injury-free, form is crucial when you're lifting weight above your head or over your body (even if it's just a pair of dumbbells).
"If it is someone's first time strength training, make sure to look for a beginners workout to start," Garcia suggests. "That way the basics and safety precautions of training are explicitly explained and not assumed."
4. Know Your Goals
Last, but certainly not least, look for a workout DVD that offers benefits aligned with your fitness goals, Garcia says. If you're looking to lose fat and build muscle, a strength training program is probably the best route. Or, if you want to build flexibility or balance, Pilates and yoga are great choices.
"It is easy to be distracted by fancy words and creative artwork," Garcia says. "However, don't forget what your intentions were in starting exercise in the first place." Read the packaging of any video you decide to try out.
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Our Best Balance Boosters"
- Assisted Living: "Top 25 Exercise Videos & Equipment for Seniors"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Preserve Your Muscle Mass"
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: "Resistance Training for Older Adults: Position Statement From the National Strength and Conditioning Association"
- European Review of Aging and Physical Activity: "Effects of Pilates Method in Physical Fitness on Older Adults. A Systematic Review"
- CDC: "How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?"
- American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and other Dementia: "International Ballroom Dancing Against Neurodegeneration: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Greek Community-Dwelling Elders With Mild Cognitive Impairment"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "The Health Benefits of Tai Chi"
- Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation: "Tai Chi Chuan can Improve Balance and Reduce Fear of Falling in Community Dwelling Older Adults: a Randomized Control Trial"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Aerobic Exercise"