Best Rowing Machines For Seniors & Alternative for Home Use | Buyer Guide 2021

Rowing machines are excellent aids for strengthing the heart and overall health of the elderly. If you are looking for the best rowing machine for seniors, you are in the right place.

What makes this machine ideal for seniors is that it is a low impact exercise. The benefits are many including higher physical stamina, bone growth stimulation, and increased bone density, boost energy, a healthier heart, improve flexibility and mobility, reduce stress, and more.

Without Further Ado, let’s begin

Senior-Friendly Rowing Machines and Best Alternative

Best Overall Rower for a Senior

Best Rowing Machines For Seniors - Horizon Oxford 3 Rower

Horizon Oxford 3

  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 80.7″ x 24.5″ x 43″
  • Max User Weight: 350 Pounds
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Transport Wheels: yes
  • Tension Control: Manual ECB Magnetic Resistance
  • Handle Bars: Ergonomically Correct Straight-Grip Handlebar
  • Warranty: Lifetime on the frame 2-years on electronics 1-year on labor and parts

With this model you get a sleek and modern design. It comes with a 5.4″ LCD monitor which will help track your progress easily. I like it alot for seniors because it looks modern but is also intuitive when it comes to its use.

It comes with 5 preset workout programs to accommodate different fitness goals. On top of that, the Premium aluminum rail can support up to 350 lbs., which is a higher capacity than the 300 lbs industry standard.

 Its main feature, which caught my attention, is the magnetic resistance that the Oxford 3 uses that helps it achieve a more controlled and predictable row.This type of rower has the advantage of being quieter than a water or wind rower, and will allow you to watch your favorite tv show without distraction.

Additional features you will be pleased to see on this machine.

  • The rail is easy to adjust for people that are 4 feet tall to over 6 feet tall.
  • The seat and footrests are well padded so you can workout with comfort.
  • Is not packed with technology like the NordicTrack but is simple and modern with a good amount of features.
  • It features 10 magnetic resistance levels which is a very reasonable amount for beginners and seniors to start their journey and increase their fitness level
  • Easy to tilt up for a small footPrint Storage
  • Generous lifetime warranty
  • Good Customer service

Best Runner Up


Fitness Reality 1000

  • Resistance Type: magnetic tension
  • Weight Limit: 250 lbs.
  • Resistance: 14 Level Dual Transmission Tension
  • Fold-able Frame: Yes
  • LCD Display: Yes
  • Transport Wheels: Yes
  • Dimensions: 88.5Lx24.5W x 21.5 H inches
  • Folded dimensions – 39.5 L x 21.5W x 53.5 H inches

Seniors who choose this rowing machine have the advantage of a full-body workout because of the multi-function option. It allows you to row while you are sitting or standing. You can do curls, bent over rows, front raises, and more.

I like the resistance range which gives room for progress or to do progressions exercises. It is great for beginners as well as more advanced users alike. Moreover, since it uses Magnetic resistance the machine is silent.

You also will appreciate the foldable capability since you can fold it really easily after a workout.

What I like…

  • 4 levels of resistance
  • The versatility that allows multiple types of exercises
  • Bluetooth capability
  • Comfortable seat and handlebars
  • Ability to set workout goals & Heart rate
  • Foldable and portable
  • Easy to assemble

What I don’t like…

  • The LCD screen doesn’t have backlight
  • Basic 1-year limited warranty

Most Comfortable with back Rest


ProGear 750 Rower

  • Resistance Type: hydraulic resistance
  • Weight Limit: 220 lbs.
  • Resistance: 3 Hydraulic resistance levels
  • Fold-able Frame: Yes
  • LCD Display: Yes
  • Transport Wheels: No
  • Dimensions: 53” L x 26.5 W x 36.3” H, 54 lbs.
  • Folded dimensions: 45.5” L x 26.5” W x 7.8” H

The ProGear 750 Rowers has an innovative and multipurpose design. This rower machine features a large seat for a safe and smooth experience and multiple online users find it very easy to put together.

I also like to see that the length and each of the arm handles can be adjusted to suit everybody’s comfort level. Controlling the resistance level on each of the arms handles lets any senior work each arm according to its own strength.  If the senior pulls the handle slow the resistance will be lighter than if the user pulls faster, they will get stronger resistance.

It has built-in an LCD screen to help you track your progress and including data such as time, repetition, and calories burned and can easily be folded for easy storage.

What I don’t like so much is the fact the seat resides just 3-feet off of the ground which may be difficult for people with mobility impediments.

Apart from that, you can easily change the setup of the ProGear 750 Rower machines to perform several other exercises, from rowing to shoulder presses or pull down to Bent Over Rows.

What I like…

  • Easy to set up
  • Ability to perform multiple types of exercises
  • Great rower for a lower price
  • 3 Customizable Resistance ideal for upper body
  • Foldable capability.

What I don’t like…

  • Basic warranty – 1 Yr. on the structural frame. 90 days for all other components
  • Not much room to grow

Best Entry-Level


Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399

  • Resistance Type: Dynamic Air Resistance
  • Weight Limit: 250
  • LCD Display: yes
  • Fold-able Frame: Yes
  • Transport Wheels: Yes
  • Dimensions: 77L x 18 W x 28 H inches
  • Folded dimensions: 18 W x 48 L x 28 H inches

Rowing machines generally get good marks for low impact fitness improvement for seniors. One of the reasons is that it is practiced on a seat, there is almost zero impact placed upon the knee joints, making it safe for elderly people with arthritis or bad knees condition.

I like this particular model because of its air resistance feature. This type of model is more intuitive meaning seniors can operate without difficulties and allows for a wide range of intensity.

The way air rowers work is comparable to rowing an actual boat on the water, you can’t change the resistance setting but you can get a better workout by rowing faster or harder.

With the Stamina ATS, you can expect to tire out your arms since the exercise is quite similar to a resistance band. Seniors will enjoy seeing the large and easy-to-read LCD monitor. It allows you to track speed, distance traveled and calories burned. It is suited for people up to 6 feet 4 inches tall and up to 250 pounds.

I also love the folding capability since you can free out space after exercising.

What I like…

  • Constructed to last
  • Provide a smooth and comfortable workout
  • Intuitive and easy to follow resistance responses
  • Easy-to-read LCD Screen
  • Built-in wheels and a folding frame make it easy to storage
  • 3-years frame warranty and 90-day parts warranty)

What I don’t like…

  • Not suitable for people whose weight is more than 250 pounds

Best Senior Water Rower


MaxKare Water Rowing Machine

  • Resistance Type: Water
  • Resistance Levels: Adjustable
  • Weight Capacity: 264lbs
  • transportation wheels: Yes
  • Folding: No
  • Dimension: 79″ x 22″ (W) x 34″ (H)

At first glance, the MaxKare Water Rowing machine has a very elegant and robust design. It features a solid steel frame with a large water tank so you can fill at your convenience. You can control the resistance by adding more or less water.

Generally, Water rowing machines are more expensive than magnetic rowers because of the realistic feel. As a downside for some, you will hear a little sloshing water noise. To me though, it is quite a pleasant accompaniment.

The grips on the handlebar and the adjustable footplates are comfortable and well-made to give you a good experience. You also will love the seat track because it provides room for either short or tall people with 45.3” length.

Although the machine doesn’t fold like other rowers in this list, you can always flip it upright. The built-in wheel will also help you move it around into any corner of the house for easier storage. This rower is also very well backed up in terms of the warranty which provides two years warranty when the standard usually is around a year.

What I like…

  • Solid and stable steel frame at high stroke rates
  • Good length to suit people up to 6.2 feet
  • For a budget Rower, it has a large height-adjustable LCD monitor
  • Very well priced for a water rower

What I don’t like…

  • The seat could use a little extra padding

Best Budget-Friendly


Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050

  • Rowing Beam: Aluminum
  • Weight Limit: 250
  • Resistance Type: Adjustable Hydraulic Resistance
  • Fold-able Frame: Yes
  • Rower Dimensions: 50 inches x 12 inches x 10 inches

A basic budget model, the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machines has a compact design and can accommodate users up to 250 lbs.

The hydraulic cylinder makes this machine easy to use but you will have to manually adjust the resistance control knob.

It is perfect for seniors and women looking to row for about 30 minutes a day at a middle level of resistance.

With this machine, you will be able to exercise from the comfort of your home. Starting from level 1 and going all the way to 12 as your strength and resistance increases.

The resistance can be adjusted by way of a hydraulic-piston, which allows you to row slowly with the same level of resistance.

Many online users, including ones who exercise regularly, share that this rower provides a full-body workout. Some male users say they wish it would provide more resistance levels.

It is good to know that hydraulic-piston rowers do not offer the same resistance, in general, as other types of rowers.

The display panel of this rower includes a few features such as your workout time, stroke count, calories burned, and total overall strokes accumulated.

It can unfold for training and fold easily for storage when done for space-saving.

In general. The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing is an excellent machine for the price you are paying.

What I like…

  • Hydraulic resistance that allows you to row slowly.
  • Smooth rowing stroke
  • Compact Design and Solid steel frame construction
  • Create a minimal amount of noise

What I don’t like…

  • The display is difficult to see in dimly lit areas.
  • Does not track your heart rate
  • The shocks get hot really fast so you need caution when changing to a new resistance level.
  • Offer one-year on the frame and 90-day on parts warranty
  • Not enough resistance for advance users

Other Great Alternatives

Several factors need to be taken into consideration for the best exercise equipment for seniors. We need to think about possible back or knee problems and some other issues such as possible injury, arthritis, and even obesity. Rowing is in fact one of the best low-impact machines but you can also take advantage of other alternatives as described below.

Cellerciser Rebounder

Cellerciser® Bi-Fold Rebounder

  • Weight Capacity: 300 Pounds
  • Frame: 40″ Solid Steel
  • Sprigs: 36 patented TriDaptable
  • Rebounding surface: 28 inches diameter
  • Available Models: the Bi-Fold or Tri-Fold
  • Legs are 8.5″ Long, the mat is 10.5″ above the ground

Cellerciser is a high-Quality rebounder. What I love the most about this unit is the halfway folding feature for portability. It also comes with 40” solid steel frame to ensure safety and durability.

Moreover, the hooks that are usually attached directly to the frame on other rebounders, Cellerciser has an improved design to avoid friction and for added durability. It has hooked the springs to stainless steel pins instead of them directly to the frame which helps avoid frame warping and breaking.

The mat is made of Space-Age Permatron so your feet do not suffer from ankle or feet pronation while bouncing. This trampoline is safe for both pros and beginners and even seniors since it also comes with an adjustable bar to accommodate people who may need extra support. The trampoline legs have a rubber material to hold it even on slippery surfaces firmly.

The mat is made of Space-Age Permatron so your feet do not suffer from ankle or foot pronation while bouncing.

And there is even more,

  • The Cellerciser uses a patented Tri-Daptable spring that is unique in the market. As the FlexBounce connectors feature present on the JumpSport, the springs on the Cellerciser auto-adjust to the weight or high of anybody bouncing. Meaning everyone in the family can bounce with the same amount of comfort.
  • Jumping and bouncing on a cellerciser rebounder eliminate up to 7/8 of the jarring effect while jogging on the pavement. So, you can bounce with no worries.
  • There is no cost-cutting, you will not find any plastic piece on this unit.
  • You also get a generous 5-year warranty for all the parts and superb customer service.

Related:

1. Confidence Fitness Slim Full Body Vibration Platform


This is a great addition to expand your exercise program. These machines are increasingly found in fitness clubs because of their multiple benefits especially for people with debilitating conditions.

Anybody can use this machine as it is designed to improve circulation and muscle strength without stressing the joints. Perhaps the greatest aspect and innovation of this product is easy navigation and this means that seniors can use this without limitations.

The confidence fitness machine comes with lots of features that make it a great option for seniors. The first is that it is simple and easy to control. This model boasts of fifty-speed settings and you can achieve a perfect workout with this product within 15 minutes of use.

There are several benefits you can derive from using this wonderful workout and exercise equipment especially if you are suffering from sciatic, bad knees, or back.

What I like…

  • Designed to enhance muscle strength when you use it
  • This makes for better circulation
  • Compact design
  • Easy and simple to use

What I don’t like…

  • Not good for stretching

2. Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stepper Step Machine


This model is another wonderful exercise equipment for seniors. The design is focused on strengthening the legs and knees without the jarring effect. Despite that, this model is effective when it comes to the development of your deep muscles. It operates through its twist action and in the process, it tones the whole body.

Some actions you can perform with this equipment include side to side as well as up and down movement. The other interesting feature is the adjustable stepping height. It is comfortable for your height as you can adjust it to suit your needs. Most importantly, this product is constructed with heavy-duty parts and supports up to 250 pounds.

What I like…

  • For balanced use, it comes with a handlebar
  • It can work on the buttocks and thigh
  • Built-in LCD Screen
  • Heavy duty and durably constructed to last
  • Very good rates online

What I don’t like…

  • It is not good for compact storage

The Use of Rowing Machines Among Seniors

Rowing machines consist of rhythmic muscle contractions that include flexion of the arms, trunk, and legs. In other words, it targets multiple muscle groups. The even spread of the load across the arms, neck, shoulders, abdomen, and legs will result in amazing muscle tone.

A story by the Washington Post specifically points out the benefits of rowing for women. It focused on four women, all above 60; who shared a passion for rowing. It is an interesting read if you want some motivation. According to the article, the benefits of rowing include respiratory and cardiovascular advantages.

The lungs can use oxygen more efficiently and this could be because rowing targets the major muscles, which consume a lot of oxygen.

It Allows Seniors to Remain Physically Active

Body fat increases with age as well as a physical impediment and mental health. You are going to be less prone to heart disease, Alzheimer, obesity, or even dementia if you exercise regularly. It also slows down the aging process, increases energy, and reduces stress.

Rowing exercises can give you the advantages of both aerobic and resistance training. This type of exercise is also one of the best exercises for building a strong back as well as pushing your heart rate to burn fat efficiently.

You can target different body muscles such as legs, hips, back, and arms. Therefore, rowing is a safe way to promote and maintain a healthy body.

A rowing machine saves you from having to go outdoors if you want to get in some exercise. From the comfort of your home, you can still enjoy the activity. Thus, whether rain, snow, or sunshine, you have no excuse not to get in some exercise.

The Phys Fitness Sports Medicine of Japan and the ACSM concluded: “rowing is an efficient and safe exercise for elderly people to promote and maintain their health. It helps them improve aerobic capacity, increase skeletal muscle size, and prevent atherosclerosis as well as vascular dysfunction”.

How Often Should a Senior Exercise?

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) if you are above 65 years, strive for at least two and a half hours every week. However, remain as active as possible every single day. Aerobic exercises, such as walking and hiking, jogging, rebounding, aerobic dancing such as Zumba, rope skipping, stair climbing, swimming, and various endurance activities are also great.

Now that we know rowing machines help seniors with bone density, increase stamina, energy booster, muscle tone, and most importantly, weight distribution is even, we can also say that it does not put a negative strain on your joints or back.

Final Thoughts

It is never too late to start exercising. Rowing machines are one of the best exercise equipment for seniors. It can help build muscles, give you more stamina, and help keep the weight in control.

All the rowers we have recommended in this list are great for stacking up against a wall, are very well rated online as well as to deliver a great performance.

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