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Best Rowing Machine for Seniors

Last Updated on October 28, 2021 by JP

Best Rowing Machine for Seniors

In our review of the best rowing machine for seniors, we have included a variety of indoor rowing machines that will keep you fit and active, no matter your age.

Circulatory issues, poor posture, and spinal alignment problems are just some of the inevitable consequences of aging that you might deal with as a senior citizen. 

While genetics play a role in how your body responds to aging, a healthy lifestyle and regular cardio exercise will keep you feeling youthful and vibrant. 

Consistent use of a home rowing machine will improve your cardiovascular health and general fitness, and offer you excellent strength training, too. 

Take a look at our selection of rowing machines, specially picked for seniors, and be the healthiest and fittest you’ve ever been. Even if you’re a beginner, it’s never too late to start leading a healthy, active life.

Best Rowing Machine for Seniors (Our Review)

We have reviewed 7 top-quality indoor rowing machines, with different features and types of resistance, that are suitable for use by seniors.

Merax Water Rower (Best for Small Apartments)

Our pick for seniors who have smaller living spaces, the compact design of the Merax Water Rower enables you to easily fold it down and conveniently store it, when not in use. 

Dimensions: 80.3″ x 18.9″ x 31.5″ 

Folded Dimensions: 32.7″ x 18.9″ x 80.3″ 

Maximum weight capacity: 400 lbs

Product weight: 59 lbs

Heart/pulse rate: Yes

Resistance: Water

Warranty: 1-year warranty

rowing machine workout for seniorsThe best rowing machine for apartments, the Merax Water Rower is foldable and has built-in wheels which will allow you to move the machine elsewhere, when you have guests and need the space.

Despite being so lightweight and compact, it can support a user weight of up to 400 lbs.

Workout metrics displayed on the LCD monitor include time, stroke count, distance, calorie expenditure, resistance level, and pulse rate. 

The Merax WaterRower is equipped with a water tank that you’ll fill up with water to provide 6 different levels of resistance, which correlate to the six marks on the water tank. In the case of all water rowers, the faster you row, the more resistance there will be.

The Merax will also give you the feeling of rowing on water, due to the splashing sound it makes while using it, which can be soothing and enjoyable while working out.

Row in comfort on a wide, comfortably contoured seat. Safety straps attached to the footrest keep your feet secure during higher resistance workouts. An ergonomically shaped extra-long handle enables multiple grip positions, so you can find what works best for you.

Pros  

  • Folds and has wheels, to allow for moving and storage
  • Molded seat for comfort
  • Ergonomically shaped extra length handlebar
  • Foot straps ensure your safety and comfort

Cons

  • The warranty is only for one year.

Sunny Health and Fitness Magnetic Rower SF-RW5515 (Best Budget)

This popular magnetic indoor rower will offer you all of the basic features of other rowing machines, at a much more affordable price. Great news for seniors who are living on a tight budget.

Dimensions: 82” x 19” x 23”

Maximum User Weight: 250 lbs

Product Weight: 59 lbs

Heart/Pulse Rate: No

Resistance: Magnetic

Warranty: 1-year on the frame, 90 days on parts

rowing machine for seniorsMagnetic Rowers operate almost silently. If you prefer a quieter rowing machine, a magnetic rower may be the best option for you. Magnetic rowers are usually more affordable, too.

Magnetic resistance makes pulling on the handlebar smooth and easy, and there are eight adjustable levels of resistance to keep your rowing workout interesting and challenging. Adjust the magnetic tension with a simple twist of a knob. 

The SF-RW5515 has a large LCD screen that displays your workout metrics such as time, strokes and calories burned. It displays these in large numbers, which is helpful if you can’t read small print. A scan mode displays your progress and assists you with tracking your fitness goals.

An extra-long 48” slide rail makes it ideal for users of different heights, but with a maximum weight capacity of only 250 pounds, this machine would not suit seniors who are very overweight.

Non-slip footrests with foot straps keep your feet secure so you can work out in safety, and the handlebar has foam-covered grips. Don’t strain yourself if you need to move it, just wheel it along.

Pros

  • Very affordable compared to other machines
  • Easy to use, even for beginners
  • Compact, for fitting in smallish apartments
  • Wheels for moving

Cons

  • No heart rate monitor
  • Not a great warranty
  • Not suitable for overweight users.

Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine (Best for Fitness Enthusiasts)

The Concept2 ModelD is a favorite of gym enthusiasts worldwide and is the indoor rowing machine that is most used by professional athletes.

Dimensions: 96”x 24”x 14”

Maximum weight capacity: Up to 500 lbs.

Heart/Pulse Rate: Yes

Resistance: Air resistance 

Warranty: 5 yrs frame/ 2 Yrs

This rower is easy to assemble, using only 8 screws. It weighs a mere 70 pounds and easily separates into two pieces so that it can be safely stowed away, yet it can support up to 500 lbs in weight. 

The Concept2 ModelD will give you an excellent low-impact cardio workout that strengthens your body yet is easy on your joints. Designed for use by users of differing heights, it has a seat that sits 14” high, and the footrests are adjustable.

Improving your cardiovascular health and lowering your blood pressure with consistent rowing, will reduce your risk of heart attacks and heart disease by up to 40%. 

With 10 levels of air resistance and an easy-to-use PM5 monitor that tracks your progress, it will be the perfect addition to your home gym.

The Concept2 ModelD separates easily into two pieces for storage and has wheels to make moving the machine quick and effortless.

Pros

  • Easily assembled, and minimal maintenance is required
  • Easy-to-use high-performance PM5 monitor
  • Compatible with a wide variety of exciting Bluetooth fitness apps
  • Separates into two pieces for storage
  • Caters to different user heights

  Cons 

  • The frame does not have folding hinges
  • Not suitable for seniors on a tight budget

Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine (Best for Heavier Users) 

The Model E from Concept supports users weighing up to 500 lbs. That makes it the perfect choice of rowing machine for overweight seniors.

Dimensions: 96” x 24” x 20”

Maximum User Weight: 500 lbs

Product Weight: 65 lbs

Heart/Pulse Rate: Yes

Resistance: Air

Warranty: 5 yrs frame/ 2 yrs parts

Concept2 Model E has a sturdy and reliable aluminum and steel alloy frame which, although it only weighs65 lbs, can support users weighing up to 500 lbs. The handles have practical and comfortable sweat-resistant grips, made of soft rubber. 

Rowing burns about 240 calories in 30 minutes. If you want to get fit and lose weight, this rowing machine will help you do that.

Ten built-in programs on the high-performance PM5 monitor give you a varied and challenging workout experience. Five of these programs are pre-set and five are customizable. You can save your workout data on the monitor and download it to USB. 

If you feel like taking a break from rowing for a while, play one of the console’s built-in games while you rest.

The PM5 monitor is Bluetooth compatible, but although a Bluetooth chest strap can be used with this rower, you will need to purchase one separately.

Like the better-known Concept2 ModelD, the Model E folds down so that you can store it elsewhere when it is not in use.

Pros

  • High-performance PM5 monitor
  • Bluetooth compatibility
  • Download your workout data to a USB
  • Customizable programs and built-in games
  • Foldable

Cons

  • Takes up more space than some other rowers

Schwinn Crewmaster Rowing Machine (Best for Beginners)

Consistent use of a machine such as the Schwinn Crewmaster will improve your balance and coordination, helping you avoid falls. The wide seat and adjustable footrests ensure that you row in comfort.

Dimensions: 89.1” x 21.1” x 31.7”

Maximum User Weight: 300 lbs

Resistance: Magnetic

Warranty: 10 years on frame, 3 years on parts, 1-year labor.

rowing machines for seniorsThis indoor rowing machine offers low-impact cardio exercise as well as muscle toning and definition. It will improve your heart health, aid you in shedding those excess pounds, and strengthen important muscles such as your biceps, shoulders, back, and legs.

The Schwinn Crewmaster is an excellent choice for seniors who are new to rowing. Resistance is supplied by magnets around a flywheel, which means it is far quieter than an air rower. Ten levels of resistance can be selected manually by turning the adjustment knob on the console.

The large LCD gives readings of your time, strokes, distance, and calorie expenditure. The console is enabled for a heart rate monitor, but no preset heart programs are included and you would need to supply your own heart rate chest strap.

Balancing yourself on the rower seat and pushing with your legs while simultaneously pulling with your arms, helps you develop balance and coordination. This is helpful as balance issues are common in seniors. 

The Crewmaster is foldable and has wheels so that you can move and store the machine when it is not needed.

Pros

  • Operates very quietly
  • Good warranty
  • Fairly compact
  • Foldable

Cons

  • Not suitable for users who are very overweight.
  • No preset heart programs

Fitness Reality 1000 Plus (Best for Workout Versatility)

The Fitness Reality 1000 Plus is a Bluetooth-enabled magnetic rower with extended optional full-body exercises and is compatible with the popular MyCloudFitness App. 

Dimensions: 88.5” x 21.5” x 21.5” 

Product weight: 63.3 lbs 

Maximum user weight: 250 lbs 

Heart/Pulse Rate: Yes

Resistance: Magnetic

Warranty: 1 year limited

Rowing Machine for SeniorsNot only is this rower a great rowing machine for tall people, but it is also suitable for shorter people too because it can be used with ease by people between 4’9” and 6’6” in height. 

Because of this range, Fitness Reality 1000 is the ideal rower for short people, too.

Work out in comfort on the wide, contoured, and padded seat. The extra-wide foam grips on the handlebar also prevent chafing and blisters.

The Fitness Reality 1000 offers 14 levels of dual magnetic tension resistance, so you can start off with an easy workout and build up to a more challenging level. 

Enjoy free-forever workout data tracking on the MyCloudFitness App, compatible with IOS and Android phones. A mobile phone holder is included on this rower. The high-performance monitor and life fitness app will track your distance, time, strokes, and calorie expenditure.

The non-slip, pivoting footrests have adjustable safety straps and patent-pending front stabilizer footpads which enable you to do additional exercises. The FItness Reality 1000 is more than just a rowing machine. It’s like having an all-in-one gym.

This machine folds down and has built-in wheels to allow for moving and storage.

Pros

  • A versatile machine that offers not only rowing but other exercise options too
  • MyCloud Fitness App, free forever
  • Folds and has wheels
  • Suitable for a wide range of user heights

Cons

  • 1-year limited warranty

RowWarrior AirRow Fitness Machine (Best Overall Features, Our Top Pick) 

The RowWarrior AirRow is a great machine for all users, including seniors, even if you are new to rowing. It comes with a customized seat cushion, making it ideal for seniors who suffer from lower back pain or sciatica, and has an adjustable footrest. 

Dimensions: 94” x 24” x 45”

Maximum User Weight: 550 lbs

Product Weight: 67 lbs

Heart/Pulse Rate: Yes

Resistance: Air

Warranty: 2 years on frame, 1-year on parts

Air rowers use a flywheel to facilitate the sensation of rowing in a boat in the water. As you begin to row faster and harder, the resistance increases. This commercial-grade heavy-duty machine offers 10 adjustable levels of air resistance and is very user-friendly.

The fitness monitor tracks all the usual metrics including time, distance, strokes, calorie expenditure, and pulse rate. The console also has Bluetooth connectivity and is compatible with the Fitshow app. A free heart rate monitor that fits onto your wrist, is included with this rower.

Adjustable footrests and safety straps keep your feet snug and secure, while you row in comfort. The AirRow is a collapsible rowing machine, and thus it is very easy to separate and store. 

If you’ve put on some excess weight over the years, don’t worry. Seniors who are carrying a bit of extra weight can use this machine comfortably, as it can support up to 550 lbs. Plus, rowing is fantastic for burning calories and losing those unwanted pounds.

Pros

  • Custom-made seat cushion
  • Folds down for easy storage
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Free wrist-strap heart rate monitor
  • High weight capacity of 550 lbs

Cons

  • Limited warranty

Conclusion

In this review of the best rowing machines for seniors, we included a selection of rowers that meet the different requirements of older people, and we are certain you will find the right rower for your individual needs.

Any of these high-quality machines will be an excellent investment in your continued health and the perfect addition to your home gym. If it’s been a while since you exercised, or your back is not very strong, start at the lowest resistance settings and work up to a higher one.

Rowing requires that your back be kept straight, so give yourself time to get accustomed to rowing, and to strengthen your back and core muscles. As with any exercise, consult your physician if you have any medical concerns, before starting a new exercise regimen.

If used correctly, any of these excellent machines will meet your needs as a senior, but our top pick is the RowWarrior AirRow Fitness Machine, with its comfort, hi-tech features, and high weight capacity. Although the Fitness Reality 1000 is a close runner-up, due to its versatility

Best Rowing Machine For Seniors FAQs

What should seniors look for when selecting a rowing machine?

Fitness levels, mobility, and general state of health will influence your choice of rowing machine.

Barring any serious medical condition or physical disability, most seniors find it more comfortable to use a rower with a higher seat as this makes it easier to get on and off the machine.

Ergonomically shaped handles, foam-covered grips, padded seats, and non-slip footrests with safety straps are useful features to look out for.

Is it safe for a senior to use a rowing machine?

If you have serious back problems, rowing is not the right form of exercise for you.

However, for seniors who do not suffer from back problems, consistent use of a rowing machine will make a big difference to your cardiovascular health and general fitness.

Can a senior who is not used to exercise, use a rowing machine?

It takes time to get used to any new form of exercise. If you are new to rowing, start off slowly and progress to more frequent and longer rowing sessions once you’re accustomed to it.

A rowing machine can put a strain on your lower back if you are not used to it, but with regular use, you’ll strengthen the muscles and it’ll be a lot easier.

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