Being a personal trainer for many years, I have noticed that there is not a lot of adaptive exercise equipment for the disabled in standard gyms, nor there is a lot of information about it on the internet, so I have decided to write this article in order to address this subject.
I will give you here great devices that will help with exercise for disabled legs, arms,
Well, I can’t convince standard gyms to add exercise equipment for the handicapped but I do can recommend great equipment for people with disabilities.
Based on my personal experience with my elderly trainers I have made this list of equipment.
I have incorporated in this list some equipment which can be used at home and some might help the gym members among us.
A Bit Background First
Physical activity contributes greatly to every individual, but most of all it contributes to people with various disabilities who limit their daily functioning in all areas of life.
Participation in movement, physical activity, and sports contributes to improving the mental and physical health of these populations.
There are many physical contributions such as muscle development, and movement experience that help decrease muscle tension, improve balance reactions, improve posture control in the lumbar region, cardio stability, and head and neck stability.
Participation and experience in physical activity present them with cognitive, physical, mental, and social challenges and contributes to their mental abilities.
Sports help the disabled to overcome physical helplessness and is also a factor of great psychological value that can elevate the spirit of the injured, prevent their mental deterioration and reintegrate them into society.
In addition, the person with disabilities receives an education that gives him motivation and strength to continue fighting and succeeding.
These phenomena help the disabled by making him a more optimistic, happier person and intensifying the positive qualities inherent in him, such as self-confidence, ability, courage, and more
15 Adaptive Exercise Equipment For Handicapped And Elderly
This list contains my favorite equipment for disabled people. There are lots of equipment available but I feel that these are standing above all the others.
I’m aware that some of the items might be a bit expensive, I added here only items that I feel are worth the investment.
Of course, there is lots of equipment that might be more suitable for you regarding your disability and financial situation and it is not on this list.
The second part of the article is paying attention to exercise equipment for disabled adults with very low movement abilities, for these cases, we have to point our main focus to blood circulation.
1. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B0418 Magnetic Mini Exercise Bike – Great exercise for disabled legs, Arms, and Aerobic
The mini exercise bikes or better known as under-desk bikes are a great way to circulate your blood in an easy and convenient way.
Originally made for people who work a lot on computers and need their blood moving, this device is great for people with mobility problems or as a rehab device after back or knee surgeries.
You can use these mini exercise bikes both for legs and for your hands and they are great for cardiac rehab too.
Although the manufacturer doesn’t state them as “for therapeutic purposes”, I find them very helpful as rehab and as exercise equipment for the handicapped, and the reviews for this Item are great.
In my research, I have checked lots of mini exercise bikes and these are my favorites.
Their magnetic mechanism provides a very quiet and smooth movement, they are easy to assemble and portable
2/3.Active Hands General Purpose gripping aid + Push gloves for wheelchairs.
Gripping is essential if you want to work with weights in the form of dumbles, barbels or machines.
The gripping gloves are a great solution for those who experience problems with grip strength and abilities, even if you have no finger function.
These gripping gloves are great not only for training purposes but also for everyday activities such as cooking, gardening, or using all kinds of tools.
The push gloves for wheelchairs are essential for those who are training with their wheelchairs and need to push their wheelchair fast and strong without cutting their hands.
Our item number 8 on this list will work great with push gloves for wheelchairs.
4. Ankle and wrist weights
These are great to help you to increase power and strength by adding some weight to your legs and arms.
The ankle and wrist weights are awesome for people with a disability since they don’t require any griping, they are easily attached to your ankles and wrists providing a low resistance that will help you to become stronger.
You can add those for a daily activity or as an extra weight while training. Check out for those with secure straps so you’ll be able to secure them confidently to your arms and legs for great training.
5. Total Gym XLS
This one is a great full-body workout machine not only for the disabled but for anyone who wants a home gym that doesn’t require lots of space and at a decent price.
The fact that you can train on it while lying makes it very useful for the disabled as you have very low impact pressure on your back and joints. Offering a great variety of exercises, the total gym XLS can fit almost any kind of disability.
It is foldable and can easily be stored under a bed, and there is not any assembly required. You can use the gripping gloves mentioned above and you’ve got yourself a great home gym.
Check it Out here On Amazon.
6/7. Dumbles and Therabands
Dumbles and Therabands are a great way to train your muscles using resistance. They are very affordable and don’t require space and you can carry them with you anywhere(especially the Therabands).
Here also you can use your gripping gloves and have a great workout. Whether you are using dumbles or Therabands, always start with lightweight and slowly increase the resistance by using heavier dumbles or stronger resistance bands that come in different colors for different resistance levels.
8. Invictus Active Trainer – Best cardio training equipment for wheelchair users
This awesome piece of equipment basically serves as a treadmill for a wheelchair. Whether you are an athlete or just want to improve your cardio and strength without leaving your wheelchair and your home then this is a great option for you.
The Invictus active trainer is portable, takes a small space and you can even connect it to your smartphone or tablet to display heart rate speed and distance. You can also change the resistance level in order to fit it to your abilities. The wheelchair pushing gloves mentioned earlier might be very useful with this item.
I really recommend also checking out the FreeWheel wheelchair attachment. It is a cool easy-to-install front wheel that will make your wheelchair much more accessible for harder terrain. You can check it out also at the Invictus Active website’s link that I added.
9. Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike with Resistance ME-709 – Another great way of exercise for disabled legs and Cardio
Cycling is a great way to improve your Aerobic fitness and strengthening your lower body while keeping a low impact on your joints.
The recumbent exercise bike is taking it further as it offers a comfortable padding seat to support your back, it is low on the ground so you can ride them easily and they offer different levels of resistance so even someone with a weak low body strength can use them to improve his strength and aerobic fitness.
10. Fitness machines
If you are training in a gym, fitness machines are a great way of working out. The fitness machines are great because they are easily adjustable and providing smooth movement without incorporating stabilizer muscles which might be weak for disabled persons or any newbie in the gym.
Find the ones that fit you(you can ask for assistance from the gym instructors)and have a great workout.
Here also you can find a great use for the gripping gloves.
Another great way to exercise is by swimming or any kind of activity in the pool. The main advantage of swimming is that it is not putting any pressure on the joints. Swimming will keep you young, reduce tension in your body, and maintain your fitness level.
Osteoporosis is very common among older people, and yet there are many steps that can be taken to overcome various types of arthritis.
In addition to the medication that allows for rest for the joints, daily exercise such as walking or swimming will keep the joints moving while reducing the pain and strengthening the muscles around the joints. But, before starting any new training program, it is important to consult with your doctor.
The swimming of older people has been studied by professionals and has been found to have amazing benefits to their health.
One study examined a combination of aerobic exercise in water, ie walking and dancing in the water, along with actual strength training in the water. The study participants lifted weights while they were in the water.
The exercises in the water increased on average by 27% the strength of the four main muscles, 40% of the knee ligaments, and about 10% of the upper body area.
This increase in strength is attributed to the resistance that is more easily generated by the exercise taking place inside the pool water than outside it.
12. Water aerobics exercise
Another alternative to swimming and exercising in water is water aerobic exercise.
Many health and fitness centers offer water aerobics classes to the elderly.
These exercise sessions improve the flexibility and endurance of the heart, blood vessels, and muscles.
Swimming and water gymnastics are sports activities that
Sometimes, water exercise is also accompanied by music, when the movements of the arms, legs, and body of the disabled are made according to the music being played, both fun and exercise.
Anyone who suffers from bone, muscle, or joint problems – the warmth, buoyancy, and resistance of the water challenges the body while easing the burden on the problem areas.
The benefits of water exercise include pain reduction, improved daily functioning, and improved quality of life.
Exercise Equipment For Disabled Adults With Low Movement Ability
I will try to give you here some great exercise equipment for disabled adults and adaptive equipment for the elderly who are having difficulty moving and keeping their blood circulating.
Maintaining physical fitness at old age can prevent physical damage that can cause significant harm to the quality of life. Research shows that even elderly people who have been admitted to nursing homes can regain their mobility if they participate in a fitness program.
Benefits include improved strength and muscular endurance, Improved muscle mass that contributes to improved functioning, Improving bone density, and coping with the effect of osteoporosis.
Achieving an adequate level of functioning is most important in older people in general and particularly in disable adults so that they can perform the daily tasks in a way that allows them to function independently.
A good program should include activities in three important areas for adults and disabled adults: balance, aerobic ability, and strength. It is desirable to strive to combine the three areas.
The importance of strength training in adults
Numerous studies have been conducted on strength training in adults. Men and women found that no matter what age we began the body responds and responds positively to the training process.
An 80-year-old exercise group found an increase in hypertrophy, which meant that muscle mass could be increased as a result of training.
The importance of this finding is enormous because not only does the regression in muscle strength and its depletion stop, but we have an improvement !!
For women especially suffering from osteoporosis, the most recommended activity is resistance work, weight training, which includes strength training and weights.
This activity is the most appropriate action to delay the phenomenon, unfortunately, it can not be prevented but the most significant delay is in resistance training.
Improvements in physiological parameters that were once thought to occur only in aerobic activity, such as a decrease in blood sugar, a decrease in blood pressure, and other studies found that these results are not a monopoly of aerobic activity but also strength and training activities under loading.
The most likely way to improve posture problems is through strength and resistance exercises, while our ability to isolate parts of the body on one hand and to burden another body part.
Improved mood, and a significant reduction in the number of entrances to depression, this effect is similar to that of other physical activity, such as aerobic exercise or others.
We know that as the age increases, each one of us carries a great danger and a significant movement limitation.
The resistance and strength training strengthens the body’s muscles, the self-confidence of the trainee, and his ability to prevent falling becomes better and faster.
Therefore, correct training in the right intensity will bring the effect of positive training. It is recommended at any age and it is really possible to adopt. We must listen to our body because it is not as young as it was, and we must not practice beyond the limitations.
Importance of aerobic exercise For Disabled and Adults
Beginning in the 1980s, professionals in the fields of physical fitness and health began to praise aerobic activity and its contribution to human health, especially to strengthen the heart and lungs.
As more researchers are interested in the field of aging, there is more and more evidence that adults who engage in aerobic exercise not only improve their physical health but also their mental capacity.
True, this does not mean that suddenly they will become runners, but if they want to keep the brain and memory, the proposed solution is 30 to 60 minutes of daily aerobic exercise.
After the age of 40, most people lose each year 1 percentage of physical balance and coordination.
It may not sound very much, but when a person reaches the age of 70, he may lose about 30 percent of his physical balance.
Loss of balance and coordination is the main reason that 65-year-olds cannot be found among professional basketball, baseball, or tennis players.
This gradual loss is the deciding factor for so many people aged 76 and over losing weight, falling, and breaking the wrist or hip.
The good news is that through physical fitness at home that requires a short daily activity of about four minutes, much of the balance lost over the years can be returned.
Blood circulation is a big problem among disabled adults and it is caused by a lack of movement.
It is extremely important to keep fresh blood coming to all your organs in order to keep them in good condition and to prevent lots of problems.
The role of blood circulation is to transport oxygen and nutrients to all cells and organs of the body, as well as to remove toxins and carbon dioxide.
If there is a problem that interferes with the functioning of this cycle, a chain reaction can occur that will affect several systems in the body and harm our overall health.
The most common problem among disabled adults is poor blood flow to the limbs.
This is causing Swelling of the limbs and ulcers in the legs due to fluid accumulation.
In addition, leg ulcers are skin inflammatory areas that begin as a rash that refuses to disappear, and if you notice red spots or swelling in the area of your lower legs or legs, you may have problems with blood flow.
Additional problems caused by poor blood flow are:
- A sense of permissiveness
- Loss of appetite
- Cold feeling in the limbs
- Changes in skin color
- The appearance of varicose veins
- Weak nails and thinning hair
- Chest tightness
- Decreased libido or sexual dysfunction
- Memory and concentration problems
- Difficulty digestion
What can be done if there are suspected blood flow problems?
If you recognize that many of these symptoms affect your life, you will probably want to know how to treat the problem.
First, if your symptoms interfere with your routine or cause pain, contact your family doctor as soon as possible.
The best way to deal with blood flow problems is to stay in motion.
Stay in motion!!
The lifestyle of a disabled adult is typically lacking enough movement, but our blood circulation requires physical movement in order to function properly. 30 minutes of exercise a day (even strenuous walking) is the best way to keep your blood flowing.
Exercise Equipment for disabled adults – 3 Awesome Devices
I have made this list of equipment from my years of experience as a personal trainer and a lot of research.
Please don’t see these pieces of advice as a replacement for medical treatment. The equipment in this list is my recommended and favorite equipment, of course, there is plenty of other equipment that you might find as better for your own needs.
This second group of equipment in opposite to the first group earlier in this article is for disabled adults that have real difficulty with moving and staying active whether from disability or due to a surgery that prevent them to move.
In this case, maintaining blood circulation is the top priority and these pieces of equipment are the best for this job.
1. LegActivator – The Seated Leg Exerciser & Physiotherapy Machine for Seniors that Improves your Health and Blood Circulation while Sitting in the comfort of your Home or Office
This machine is designed for people with mobility problems with the LegActivator all you have to do is sit and place your legs on it, the machine will slowly passively move your legs at a speed that you select.
The Machine has great results in decreasing vascular problems, reducing swell ankles and knees and leg inflammation, decreasing leg cramps, and helps with back pain and other problems caused by lack of movement.
The LegActivator has got lots of good reviews and recommendations. It is not meant for people who are active and able to exercise and move but more for people who can hardly move their legs and needs help with blood circulation for the lower body.
2. IReliev TENS + EMS Combination Unit Muscle Stimulator for Pain Relief & Arthritis & Muscle Strength – Treats Tired and Sore Muscles in Your Shoulders, Back, Ab’s, Legs, Knees and More.
This awesome device uses 2 very helpful technologies both for pain relief and muscle strength:
TENS-Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation is a pain relief method used for about 30 years in hospitals and rehabilitation centers.
It basically sends low voltage impulses to the skin which helps with blocking the pain signals from the brain encouraging it to release endorphins(natural pain reliever) to the body.
EMS-Electrical Muscle Stimulation is basically electrical impulses that make the muscles contract thus making them stronger and healthier and also serves as a great rehabilitation tool.
3. Exerpeutic Motorized Leg and Arm Pedal Exerciser Mini Exercise Bike with Bonus Mat
The mini exercise bikes are great exercise equipment for people who needs their blood to flow.
Being small and portable, you can use them anywhere while sitting in comfort.
This particular machine In contrast to the basic miny exercise bikes comes with an assistant motor so it helps you to pedal even if you have a very limited movement ability.
And another great thing about it is that you can use it both for the legs and the arms and so you can have a great full-body workout.
I hope that you find our exercise equipment for handicapped and disabled adults list useful. There are lots of other equipment that you might find useful for you and for your special needs, the most important thing is that you will find something that will make you move and exercise.
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please leave them below and I would be happy to hear from you and maybe to add some of your ideas to this list.
Hi, my name is Eddie, I am a professional trainer specializing in the elderly population and I’m also a website designer. I love training in the gym, going to the beach, traveling, and having good food.
I combined my love for sport and website designing to make “DisabilitEase” whose purpose is to help elderly and disabled people live a more full and active life, have more fun, and enjoy their unique journey despite any disability.