One of the best things about the elliptical machine is that it’s great for almost anyone. You can use it if you’re in your fitness prime to burn extra calories and work your legs. Runners can use it as a recovery tool that keeps them active but takes away that high impact on every step.
And seniors can use it safely to stay active. But the best ellipticals for seniors might not be quite the same as the best choices for younger, more active people, so it’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for before you shop.
Here are our top choices. Each one of these ellipticals is good quality, contains a wide range of features a senior might need to get a good low-impact workout, and is also safe enough for an older person to get on and off with confidence.
- In A Hurry? Here’s Our Best Picks
- Why Trust BoxLife?
- Who Is This Guide For?
- How We Chose the Best Elliptical for Seniors
- How We Tested Them
- Best Elliptical for Seniors – Our Top Picks
- Life Fitness E1 Cross Trainer Elliptical Exercise Machine with Go Console – Best Overall
- Schwinn 411 Elliptical – Runner-Up
- Horizon EX-59 Elliptical – Best Easy-Use
- Sunny Health Fitness Smart Pre-Programmed Elliptical Trainer – SF-E3912SMART – Best With Shorter Stride Length
- Body Rider Elliptical Machine and Stationary Bike – Best for Exercising Seated
- Horizon Fitness Elite E7 Elliptical Trainer – Best Discontinued Elliptical
- Sole Fitness E35 – Best Warranty
- Buyer’s Guide: What To Look For In An Elliptical for Seniors
In A Hurry? Here’s Our Best Picks
Life Fitness Cross Trainer - E1 with Track Plus Console
SCHWINN Fitness 411 Compact Elliptical Machine
Horizon Fitness EX-59 Elliptical Trainer Exercise Machine...
|Best With Shorter Stride Length
Sunny Health & Fitness Elliptical Cross Trainer Exercise...
|Best Hybrid Machine
Body Rider Elliptical Machine and Stationary Bike with Seat...
Horizon Fitness Elite E7 Elliptical Trainer
Elliptical Machine: 2023 E35 Elliptical Gym Equipment for...
|It’s hard to beat the Life Fitness E1 for seniors. Not only is it loaded with a generous selection of built-in workouts, but it’s got an excellent step-up height, well-sized and textured pedals, and a good stride length for mobile seniors.
|We love that this elliptical comes with an engaging app and has a more friendly stride length than the first one.
|We highly recommend this elliptical for seniors who don’t need the bells and whistles that many others come with.
|The reduced stride length and low step-up height make this elliptical machine an excellent choice for those who have mobility problems.
|Seniors who don’t feel that they can stand on an elliptical for long enough will appreciate the seat on this machine, which provides maximum comfort during a workout.
|If you can find one of these and you don’t mind potentially not receiving comprehensive support from Horizon, it’s well worth the buy.
|If we could pick only one, this would be it! The Sole E35 has everything you could want in an elliptical, provided you’re able to handle the stride length.
|User Weight Capacity
|blue LCD screen
|5.5″ LCD console
|2 Window, LED Display
|back-lit lcd display
|8.5" Extra-Wide Blue LCD
|7.5" LCD White Back-lit
|Step-up height of 6.5 in
|The highest height a pedal reaches from the floor is about 12 inches
|Step-up height 10 3/4 inches
|Min 6.9 In/Max 15.2 In
|Step-up height of 6.5 in
|Step Up Height: 14”
|20" stride length with Oversized Non-Slip Pedals
|18” stride length
|18 Inches. The pedals are 15" x 9"
|Stride length of just 15.5 inches
|12” stride length
|20 Inch stride length
|20" with adjustable ,15-inch pedals
|20 levels of resistance
|16 levels of variable resistance
|10 resistance levels
|16 levels of resistance
|8 levels of resistance
|20 levels of resistance
|20 Levels eddy current resistance
|13 Pre-Loaded Workouts
|13 workout programs
|5 preset programs
|24 built-in programs and access to SunnyFit APP
|42 built-in programs: 5K, Calorie, Custom, Distance, Fat Burn, Hill Climb, Manual, Target HRT
|6 pre programmed workouts: 6 Standard Programs
2 Custom Programs
2 Heart Programs
|Lifetime on frame; 5-year on parts; 3-year on console; 1-year on labo
|10 Years Frame, 2 Years Parts, 90 Days Labor
|Lifetime: Frame, Parts: 1 year; Warranty: labor 1 year, Warranty: Brake/Flywheel 20 years
|3 year structural frame 180 days other parts and components
|Frame: Lifetime Home Warranty - Brake: Lifetime Home Warranty - Flywheel: 1 year Home Warranty - Parts: 3 years Home Warranty - Labor: 1 year
5 Years Electronics
5 Years Parts
2 Years Labor
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Why Trust BoxLife?
The BoxLife team is filled with people who have decades of fitness experience between them. We’ve also all had the opportunity to help our family members and friends start their own fitness journeys, so we understand that everyone has different needs.
As fitness enthusiasts and those who work in the fitness world, we have very high standards for our gym equipment. We know what to look for in a quality elliptical, and we also know the red flags to stay away from. As such, we can confidently recommend the machines we really believe would be a great buy.
Who Is This Guide For?
If you’re a senior looking for a safe, easy way to stay active, this article is for you. It’s also for people who have senior parents or friends and want to find a way for them to stay healthy and active.
Even if you’re young and agile, it’s worth taking some notes about what features make great ellipticals for seniors. It could come in handy for either your own parents or yourself down the line!
How We Chose the Best Elliptical for Seniors
Between us, we’ve tried almost every piece of fitness equipment out there. So we sat down and listed all the ellipticals we’ve tried and enjoyed, that we thought would be perfect for seniors.
As well as having real experience on most of these ellipticals, we’re so enthusiastic about fitness that we’ve done a deep dive into all the features of each one of the machines on this list.
That includes checking up with our own senior friends and family members about their thoughts on the machines we chose. From there, we narrowed down the list and took to the internet, online retailers, and forums to get real opinions about each one.
That’s how we ended up with this list of contenders for the best elliptical for seniors. We believe these ones will serve seniors well, whatever their fitness goals!
How We Tested Them
Elliptical machines for seniors need to tick certain boxes. We tested these machines on 7 key features to make sure they’d be suitable for older users. Here’s what we focused on:
- Step-Up Height
- Screen Quality
- Stride Length
- Incline Levels
- Extra Features
Best Elliptical for Seniors – Our Top Picks
The E1 is Life Fitness’s most affordable model, but it’s got everything a senior would need for a safe and effective workout. Our favorite senior-friendly feature is the 6.5-inch step-up height, which is significantly lower than some others and makes it really easy for older users to climb on.
It has a stride length of 20 inches, which is on the longer side for ellipticals. In most cases, this is superb, but keep in mind that shorter seniors or those with mobility restrictions may find it too long for comfort.
There are 13 preset programs that users can choose from when exercising. This makes it easy to just press-and-play—no knowledge necessary about putting together your own workouts!
With a 400-lb weight capacity, you know this elliptical machine is built to last. Not only will it be sturdy enough for safe use, but it can easily be used by other members of the family as well.
One of the things we like about this particular elliptical is that you can choose from a variety of different consoles, to suit your own exercise needs. Seniors aren’t likely to need anything fancy here, which means the price will be a little lower if you’re choosing a less techy console.
We’re also big fans of the warranty on this machine. A lifetime frame warranty, 5 years on parts, 3 years on your chosen console, and 1 year labor. That’s more substantial than most!
|✅ Low step-up height makes it easy to get on and off the elliptical
|❌ Stride length may be too long for shorter or less mobile seniors
|✅ 13 built-in programs to make exercise easy and varied
|❌ Takes up a bit of space
|✅ Has a weight capacity of 400 lbs
|✅ Excellent warranty
|Blue LCD screen
|13 built-in programs
|Lifetime frame, 5-year parts, 3-year console, 1-year labor
|Water bottle holders
All a Senior Needs… And Suitable for Other Family Members Too!
It’s hard to beat the Life Fitness E1 for seniors. Not only is it loaded with a generous selection of built-in workouts, but it’s got an excellent step-up height, well-sized and textured pedals, and a good stride length for mobile seniors.
Schwinn 411 Elliptical – Runner-Up
With a stride length of 18 inches, the Schwinn 411 might be a little more appropriate for seniors who are shorter or can’t stretch as far as the E1 requires. However, it does have a stride length of almost twice the previous machine, at 12 inches, which might make it difficult for those who can’t lift their legs too high.
There’s no incline, but that’s not likely to really be a con for everyone. Seniors can still get a great workout with 13 built-in workouts, there’s more than enough choice for whatever type of workout the user wants to do. Plus, 16 levels of resistance give an excellent range for seniors of all fitness levels.
Something we also like is that the machine can sync with the Explore the World app, which means the user can “walk” or “run” through 19 different, interesting locations on 27 different routes. This could make the workout a lot more engaging for senior users!
It also comes with a variety of nice extra features, like being able to sync up to a chest strap heart rate monitor, a convenient media tray, and a water bottle holder. Plus, the warranty is one of the best you’ll find at this wallet-friendly price point!
|✅ 18-inch stride length is suitable for almost every person
|❌ No incline
|✅ 12-inch step-up height so it’s easy for those with lower mobility to get on
|✅ Has a media tray and water bottle holder for a comfortable experience
|✅ 13 programs built into the machine for a plug-and-play exercise experience
|Around 12 inches
|5.5-inch LCD console
|13 built-in programs
|10-years frame, 2-years parts, 90-day labor
|Chest strap HRM compatible, media tray, water bottle holder, compatible with Explore the World app
Great Alternative to Top Choice
We love that this elliptical comes with an engaging app and has a more friendly stride length than the first one. It’s a good option for seniors who want to really look forward to their workout everyday, plus it has some nice extras that senior users will appreciate.
Horizon EX-59 Elliptical – Best Easy-Use
There’s nothing complicated about this elliptical trainer, and that’s exactly why we like it. Users of all ages and abilities should be able to get a good workout without all the bells and whistles that can be confusing on other machines.
With a step-up height of 10 ¾ inches, it’s fairly easy for most people to get on and off. We also like the 18-inch stride length, which is rare to see on ellipticals of this price range. It should be comfortable for most users of average height.
There’s no incline on this trainer, and only 5 built-in exercise programs to choose from. But we consider that a good thing—seniors can get an amazing workout without being overwhelmed at the amount of choice.
For a comfortable experience, it’s for decent speakers, a built-in tablet rack, a water bottle holder and can also charge USB devices.
One of the best things about this piece of fitness equipment is its warranty. For its price point, a lifetime on the frame and 20 years on the flywheel is exceptional.
|✅ Easy step-up height for all mobility
|❌ No Incline
|✅ 5 built-in programs means there’s no need to choose from too many
|✅ Features speakers, a tablet rack, a water bottle holder, and USB charging
|✅ Superb warranty for its price range
|10 ¾ inches
|2-window LED display
|5 built-in programs
|Lifetime frame, 20-year brake/flywheel, 1-year parts, 1-year labor
|Built-in speakers, tablet rack, USB charging (1A/5V), water bottle holder
No-Fuss Workout Experience
We highly recommend this elliptical for seniors who don’t need the bells and whistles that many others come with. It has more than enough to get good workouts safely, plus you can listen to music through the machine while doing so!
Sunny Health Fitness Smart Pre-Programmed Elliptical Trainer – SF-E3912SMART – Best With Shorter Stride Length
For seniors who need a shorter stride length, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3912SMART is perfect. The stride length is just 15.5 inches, which is ideal for users who are on the shorter side or those who have reduced mobility.
The step-up height complements the easy stride length, at just 6.9 inches, easy for almost anyone to step onto safely. With a rea-located flywheel, the machine is quite stable, as long as it’s on flat ground and you stick to the user weight limit of 330 lbs.
You’ll find 24 built-in programs, all aimed at different goals. Those who want more can take advantage of the SunnyFit fitness app, which has over 100 workouts, uses real location maps and graphics, and adds an element of competition.
A blue-backlit LCD digital monitor is easy to see. Other handy features include a media shelf, a water bottle holder, and Bluetooth capabilities so you can connect your phone or tablet.
It doesn’t have the best warranty, but it is well-priced for its features. Excellent buy if you’re looking for something with a shorter stride length.
|✅ Perfect step-up height and stride length for those with limited mobility
|❌ More limited warranty than others
|✅ Multiple programs plus access to an app if you want more workouts
|✅ Includes a media shelf and a water bottle holder for convenience
|✅ Well-priced for its quality
|Blue-backlit LCD display
|24 built-in programs + access to SunnyFit app
|3-year structural frame, 180-day other parts and components
|Media shelf, water bottle holder, Bluetooth enabled
Fantastic Choice for Those With Limited Mobility
The reduced stride length and low step-up height make this elliptical machine an excellent choice for those who have mobility problems. We also love the accompanying app, which is a good add-on for those who want a more immersive experience.
Body Rider Elliptical Machine and Stationary Bike – Best for Exercising Seated
The Body Rider is a dual-purpose machine. It’s an elliptical, but also includes a comfortable seat, which means seniors who can’t stand for long periods of time can still get a good exercise on this piece of equipment.
With a relatively low step-up height and a stride length of just 12 inches, seniors of all abilities will be able to work out comfortably on this elliptical. The seat is far back enough that it won’t interfere while you’re standing, but it’s easily within reach if your legs become fatigued during your workout.
There’s a manual adjustable tension knob, which is fairly easy to use. A small but easy-to-see monitor gives you all the basic stats you need. There’s also a fan, which isn’t extremely powerful but adds a bit of wind to your workout.
The downsides include no built-in programs and a poor warranty. Of course, you also won’t get the same pedal motion as a proper stationary bike, so if you’re buying it for the main purpose of “riding a bike”, then you may be disappointed.
|✅ Can be used standing or seated, depending on how you feel
|❌ No built-in programs
|✅ 12-inch stride length is suitable for those with mobility trouble
|❌ No extra features
|✅ Easy-to-see LCD monitor
|❌ Poor warranty
|✅ Very affordable
Ideal for Seniors With Physical Limitations
Seniors who don’t feel that they can stand on an elliptical for long enough will appreciate the seat on this machine, which provides maximum comfort during a workout. The lightweight design is not the strongest in terms of construction, but seniors with mobility issues and weakness won’t need anything more. Recommended!
Horizon Fitness Elite E7 Elliptical Trainer – Best Discontinued Elliptical
The Horizon Fitness Elite E7 is no longer being made by the company, but you can still find them being sold by other retailers. Keep in mind that this may mean Horizon doesn’t offer full support for the machine anymore, but if you’re okay with that, it’s a great choice to look into.
We recommend this elliptical for seniors who are fit and healthy and want a serious workout. It has a 20-inch stride length, which is excellent for people of average to taller height and with a good range of mobility in the legs and hips. Getting on and off is easy, with a step-up height of just 6.5 inches.
It comes with an astounding 42 built-in workout programs, so there’s no lack of choice! Plus, it’s one of the few ellipticals around with an incline, which you can set between 0 and 10 degrees to suit your workout. On top of this, there are 20 adjustable resistance levels to choose from if you want to go manual.
While the screen isn’t full-color, it’s blue-backlit and easy to read, at 8.5 inches. Users will also benefit from built-in speakers, a fan, a water bottle holder, and a tablet holder.
You can also use the Passport app on this elliptical to get HD video footage to “ride along” to as you workout. However, because this machine doesn’t have a color screen, you’ll need to connect it up to your television.
The original warranty includes a lifetime on the frame and 5 years on parts, but keep in mind that due to it being discontinued, you may fall under the retailer’s warranty instead. Double check before buying!
|✅ 42 built-in programs for a wide variety of workout choice
|❌ Might be difficult to find as it’s been discontinued by the manufacturer
|✅ 10-degree incline for adding more challenge to your workout
|✅ Extra-wide blue-backlit LCD screen to follow along with your metrics
|✅ Excellent warranty
|8.5″ extra-wide blue LCD
|42 built-in programs
|Depends on the retailer
|Built-in speakers, fan, tablet rack, water bottle holder
Excellent Buy If You Can Find One
If you can find one of these and you don’t mind potentially not receiving comprehensive support from Horizon, it’s well worth the buy. You can find it for less than what it originally sold for, and it’s got commercial-grade features that fit seniors will love.
Sole Fitness E35 – Best Warranty
The Sole E35 is an amazing-quality elliptical for its price. If you’re looking for a piece of fitness equipment that won’t cost a fortune but gives you all the features you could possibly need, this is it.
Not only is it extremely well-priced, it comes with a spectacular warranty that far outweighs any other in the market. A lifetime frame warranty, 5 years on parts and electronics, and 2 years on labor—you won’t find better than that!
It’s backed up by a fantastic array of features. There’s only 6 built-in programs, but that’s all you need. With 20 magnetic resistance levels and 20 Power Incline levels, you can really mix and match to create your own challenging workouts.
Both the step-up height of 14 inches and the 20-inch stride length are aimed more at mobile seniors. We like that the oversized pedals have a textured surface for grip, durable foam padding for light shock absorption, and a slight inward angle to take strain off the ankle and knee joints, reducing joint pain.
Additional features we appreciate are the 7.5-inch white-backlit screen, water bottle holders, a tablet shelf, Bluetooth with built-in speakers, and a USB charging port.
The elliptical machine is a sturdy design, built out of steel and supported by 3 stabilizers, one in the front, one in the middle, and one in the rear. You won’t find a better quality machine for this price… Especially with a warranty like this one!
|✅ One of the best warranties on ellipticals
|❌ No added extra features
|✅ 20 incline levels for adding a bit more resistance and fun to your workout
|✅ Comes with built-in water bottle holders
|✅ Decently-sized white-backlit screen
|7.5″ LCD white back-lit
|6 built-in workouts
|Lifetime frame, 5-year electronic, 5-year parts, 2-years labor
|20 Power Incline levels
|Water bottle holders, tablet holder, USB charging
Superb Features, Superb Warranty
If we could pick only one, this would be it! The Sole E35 has everything you could want in an elliptical, provided you’re able to handle the stride length. Excellent price, excellent features, and more-than-excellent warranty. It’s the best and most affordable option aside from our top choice.
Buyer’s Guide: What To Look For In An Elliptical for Seniors
Ready to go shopping for the best elliptical for seniors? Here’s what you should be looking at to make sure the machine you choose is appropriate for your senior loved one, or yourself!
It’s one thing moving through your full range of motion while standing on the elliptical pedals. It’s another thing to actually get onto the elliptical safely and easily. That’s where the step-up height comes in.
This is the height of the pedal when it’s at its lowest point. It’s the natural step-up point—the pedal won’t move when you step on it and you don’t need to lift your foot too high. But some ellipticals have a higher step-up height that’s just not appropriate for seniors.
The step-up height on these fitness machines range from 6 inches to 14 inches. For older users who have a little less mobility in the up-and-down plane, 6 inches is excellent for getting up and down safely. For seniors who are a little more mobile, 14 inches is still quite decent.
Remember that you’ll need to consider the ceiling height too. The low pedal position is excellent for climbing on and off using the stationary handlebars, but also consider how high the pedal rises and make sure your senior won’t be hitting their head on the ceiling!
Your senior needs to be able to see the screen clearly while they’re moving on the elliptical. Whether or not they’re actually using their data to improve their performance, they still need to be able to see their speed, what resistance level it’s set to, or follow along with the program they’re doing.
A backlit screen is a good choice for seniors, so they can still get a workout in lower light conditions. The size is also important, but keep in mind that this is also different for every senior! Some may need to squint at larger screens, while others can still see perfectly fine.
A stride length that’s too long for the user will force them to move out of their own range of motion. This can be dangerous for seniors, as it places extra stress on the legs, knees, and hips.
On the other hand, a stride length that’s too short means they may not be able to get as good a workout as they won’t be able to stretch their legs fully. However, as seniors aren’t likely to be going all out on the elliptical, this can be easier to get around.
In general, individuals between about 5 feet and 5 foot 4 inches in height can workout comfortably on a stride length of between 14 and 16 inches. Those taller than 5’4” but shorter than 6-foot should have a stride length of 18 to 20 inches. Taller than 6-foot, you should look for something of 22 inches.
However, for seniors who may be more comfortable with a shorter stride, you can go a little shorter than what would be considered average for their height.
Built-in programs are very handy for senior users. They can add some variety and challenge, without the senior user needing to change settings themselves.
It may be a good idea to check the programs beforehand to make sure they aren’t too intense. Some ellipticals come with custom programs, which is handy as you can set it exactly as the user likes it, down to the time and level of resistance.
A good warranty is an indication of the confidence the company has in their own workmanship. It also covers you if anything does go wrong, so it’s a good idea to double-check what warranty you’re getting on a given machine before buying.
Seniors may be less likely to use a high level of resistance, so we’d prioritize incline levels over resistance. Adding a slight incline can more accurately replicate real-world walking, so this is a really nice feature to have.
We do advise against choosing an elliptical with manual incline. Rather choose something that can be easily adjusted while they’re on the machine, instead of having to stop, get off, adjust, and get back on.
Features like a tablet holder and loud speakers might not be a priority for older users. But things like a water bottle holder, a fan, and a USB charging port may be appreciated.
Also, consider if it comes with transportation wheels. The senior user shouldn’t be moving it around on their own, but it is helpful to know that it’s easy to move if necessary.
Are There Benefits to Using an Elliptical for Seniors?
Definitely! The elliptical is a low-impact exercise that allows seniors to get a great workout without extra impact on sensitive joints. It’s easy to do a light workout, but if they’re feeling pretty good, they can up the intensity without difficulty.
One of the reasons the elliptical cross-trainer is a great machine for seniors is that—unlike a treadmill—they’ve got hands on it at all times. It’s a much more stable exercise option, and while they’re well-supported, they’ll be improving their balance at the same time.
It allows seniors to get a light full-body workout, which targets important muscles like the glutes, hamstrings and quads, keeping them stronger for longer. In turn, stronger muscles means more mobility! Seniors who exercise often remain independent for longer.
Plus, regular exercise has a ton of cardiovascular health benefits, and the elliptical is convenient enough to place in the home so you or your senior loved one can get a cardio workout at any time.
Are There Safety Considerations for Seniors When Choosing an Elliptical?
Yes, you’ll need to take certain things into consideration when shopping for an elliptical for seniors. Firstly, the step-up height should be low enough for seniors to stand on it and lift themselves onto the machine.
There definitely needs to be a set of stationary handles to grab when getting on the elliptical. Also, double-check that the maximum pedal height + senior’s height = lower than the ceiling height, to prevent hitting the ceiling!
The stride length should be comfortable. If it’s too long for your senior user, it won’t feel great, workouts can become a chore, and knee pain and back pain might increase.
The elliptical you choose should be sturdy and not wobble, although this also depends on the surface you place it on. Rear-drive ellipticals are usually more stable than front-drive ellipticals or center-drive ellipticals.
When it comes to using the elliptical safely, make sure that even seniors know how to use it with proper form. This will reduce the chances of getting injured.
How Often Should Seniors Use an Elliptical?
As the elliptical is a gentle, low-impact workout, seniors can use them up to 6 days a week. Of course, it depends largely on the health, fitness, and mobility of the user.
It’s a good idea to get the go-ahead from the doctor before leaping into a training routine. However, provided they stick to working out within their capabilities, seniors can workout for up to 40 minutes every day.
That doesn’t mean that every senior should do a 40-minute workout every day. If you—or your senior loved one—can only manage 10 minutes in the beginning, that’s okay too!