Why Pneumatic Strength Training Equipment Is Great for Seniors

Pump air, not iron.

Strength training is one of the best things you can do to stay active and healthy. Strength training exercises build muscle, increase bone mass (reducing your risk of osteoporosis), strengthen tendons, keep your joints supple and boost your mood. Strength training also reduces your risk of falling and may even help prevent arthritis. All good reasons to hit the gym, where you’re likely to find a bewildering array of dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells and weight machines waiting to transform you from a 99-pound weakling to the hero of the beach.

With the help of a qualified trainer to show you the correct form and weight to use, weight machine workouts are an excellent way to get started on a strength training program. But there’s an alternative to weight training for seniors that’s growing in popularity: pneumatic resistance machines.

What is pneumatic strength training?

Pneumatics use compressed air to create resistance instead of weights and pulleys. They’ve been around for years. Early adopters included Olympic and professional athletes. Today, you’ll find pneumatic equipment at leading fitness clubs, physical therapy centers and senior living communities.

What are the advantages of air training versus weight training for seniors?

  1. Less risk of injury. When you lift free weights or use traditional weight machines, you put a lot of stress on your muscles and joints, especially at the start of the exercise. That’s why you see people straining to lift weights at the gym. Straining, bouncing and jerky movements can cause injury. Pneumatic resistance is different. Resistance stays the same throughout the exercise. The motion is smooth and consistent, reducing your risk of injury.
  2. More control over resistance level. Pneumatic machines allow for small incremental increases of weight — as little as 100 grams. That’s less weight than a quarter-pound cheeseburger. And if you’re recovering from injury or just haven’t worked out in a while, you can set the resistance level at close to zero and gradually increase the resistance as you gain strength.
  3. Faster, more effective workouts. Because resistance is consistent, your muscles are engaged throughout the entire range of motion. Weight machine workouts force your muscles to work harder at the start of the exercise when you’re lifting dead weight. But as you continue your motion, you build up momentum, so your muscles aren’t working as hard at the top of your lift and as you lower the weight. In effect, momentum helps you cheat during each rep. It may look impressive, but weightlifting is a less efficient form of exercise compared to pneumatic resistance training. In short, you can work your muscles harder in a fraction of the time.
  4. Easy to use. Instead of reaching down to adjust a pin in a weight stack, you set the resistance level on a pneumatic machine by simply pressing a button. Some machines even come with a touch screen. Swipe your smart wristband, and the machine automatically loads your personalized exercise program, adjusts the seat and sets the resistance level. How easy is that?
  5. Enjoy quieter workouts. It seems there’s always someone at the gym clunking and clanging weights as they huff and puff through their reps. Pneumatic machines keep noise pollution (and showoffs) in the gym to a minimum because there are no weights to bang around.

Get pumped about a lifestyle bursting with opportunities.

A fully equipped fitness center with pneumatic strength training equipment is just one way we support an active, healthy lifestyle. Explore more opportunities for wellness and lifelong learning at Broadview. You’ll discover a community where flexing your mental muscles is easy, too.