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Rowing Machines for Seniors Over 60: Low Impact Exercise to Stay Fit and Healthy

Rowing machines for seniors, if you are over age 60, can help you stay healthy and in shape. You can also do low impact exercise safely with machines such as, ellipticals, treadmills, or stationary cycles. They reduce risk of impact injuries to your joints.

Equipment available in gyms can vary widely. So when you’re choosing the best rowing machine or other exercise machine in a gym – or buying one for your own use – keep these factors in mind:

  • Is your health suitable for a type of exercise, especially if you are out of shape (what does your doctor say?)
  • What can you do that you’ll enjoy enough to make it a habit?
  • Do you have balance issues?
  • How much stress can your joints take without acting up?

What Kind of Exercise Machine Do You Like Best?

The exercise machine I like best is a rower. Here’s why:

  • The idea of using a treadmill reminds me of those rats in lab experiments. If I’m going to walk, I like fresh air and the outdoors.
  • Elliptical trainers are also good because they work many muscle groups. So, if that’s your preference, that’s fine, too. As for me, I like sitting exercises.
  • As for cycling, I prefer to combine small errands around town on a bicycle. So, get the exercise as well as get somewhere, rather than a stationary cycle.

It’d be great to go rowing in a boat, but if you’re not near a river or a rowing club, then a rowing machine is a great alternative. You can even keep one around the house. They don’t take up so much room and are easy and convenient to work out on. And it’s an easy way to get a low impact workout.

Can You Lose Belly Fat on a Rowing Machine?

The short answer is, yes. Belly fat is the most common area people focus on to lose weight. By eating less, creating a calorie deficit, your body goes after fat to make up the difference. Because rowing involves your abdominal muscles, over time that extra flab will diminish.

Senior Moments, and Balance Issues

As seniors, we may find some memory loss or balance issues. Our joints are not what they used to be, and we want to avoid impact caused by running or other types of exercise. So, for that reason, a rowing machine takes care of those issues as well.

Here are four of the best rowing machines for seniors for you to consider.

FITNESS REALITY 1000 PLUS Bluetooth Magnetic Rowing Rower with Extended Optional Full Body Exercises and MyCloudFitness App
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower with LCD Monitor
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 Performance Monitor, Black
FITNESS REALITY 1000 PLUS Bluetooth Magnetic Rowing Rower with Extended Optional Full Body Exercises and MyCloudFitness App
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower with LCD Monitor
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 Performance Monitor, Black
Sometimes returns in case of defects is an issue
FITNESS REALITY 1000 PLUS Bluetooth Magnetic Rowing Rower with Extended Optional Full Body Exercises and MyCloudFitness App
FITNESS REALITY 1000 PLUS Bluetooth Magnetic Rowing Rower with Extended Optional Full Body Exercises and MyCloudFitness App
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower with LCD Monitor
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower with LCD Monitor
Sometimes returns in case of defects is an issue
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 Performance Monitor, Black
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 Performance Monitor, Black

Last update on 2021-02-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Different Types of Rowing Machines – Air vs Magnetic Rowing Machine

There are several different types of rowers:

  • Air rowers
  • Magnetic rowers
  • Hydraulic rowers
  • Water rowers

The two most popular kinds are air rowing machines and magnetic rowing machines. For the average person, it may not make that much of a difference. But for the sake of brevity, here are the key differences.

Air rowers have different levels of resistance, but the resistance increases as you row faster and harder. Magnetic rowers are set to a specific level which doesn’t change.

Air rowers make a ‘swooshing’ sound, using a flywheel and replicate the feel of actually rowing in a boat in water. Whereas, Magnetic Rowers are silent or nearly silent.

The main thing is that athletes do seem to prefer air rowers over magnetic rowers.

Besides, professional athletes like the US Olympic Rowing Team prefer the Concept2. It is also very reliable.

The famous TV series, House of Cards, showed a Water Rower, which is also good, but just doesn’t have the reputation of the Concept2.

But if you are not a professional athlete, prefer a quieter machine and don’t plan lots of use, a magnetic rower may be the best rowing machine for you. It’s also a less expensive choice.

Now let’s take a look at three of the best indoor rowing machines.

Reviewing the Best Rowing Machines

Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine

FITNESS REALITY 1000 PLUS Bluetooth Magnetic Rowing Rower with Extended Optional Full Body Exercises and MyCloudFitness App
  • Enjoy free forever basic workout data tracking on the MyCloudFitness App.
  • Revolutionize your workout with on water and in studio professional co
  • 14 Level DUAL TRANSMISSION magnetic tension resistance for an easy or more challenging workout
  • Patent pending front stabilizer foot pads allows for additional exercises such as curls, upright rows, bent over rows, front raises, shrugs, triceps extensions, standing shoulder presses and more
  • Product extended dimensions – 88.5" L x 21.5" W x 21.5" H | Folded dimensions – 39.5” L x 21.5” W x 53.5” H | Product weight – 63.6 lbs. | Weight capacity – 250 lbs.

Last update on 2021-02-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Fitness Reality 1000 is a magnetic rower. It’s one of the best rowing machines and says it is an all-purpose indoor rower and exercise machine. It makes possible other types of exercise, such as Front Raises, Side Raises, Biceps Curls and Triceps Extensions and more. However, while this is true, other rowers can also be used in similar ways.

Its Bluetooth app and performance monitor allow you to track your progress in terms of simulated distance, calories burned, strokes per minute and time spent. In this way, you can see how to increase your stamina. The key points are:

  • 3.5 inch LCD display, so it’s easy to see how you are doing during your workout
  • 14 magnetic resistance settings, giving you a lot of choices, depending on fitness level and goals
  • Comfortable padded seat
  • Front stabilizer foot pads enable you to do curls, bent over rows, front raises, etc,
  • Free MyCloudFitness app helps you create your exercise plan and track your progress.
  • Designed to provide a full body workout with low impact, saving your joints
  • Its foot pedals are anti slip, plus, they pivot, so they have a good range of motion
  • Its foot pad also allows you to use it for other exercises besides rowing

Click here for the top positive review

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rowing machine

One of the best rowing machines on the market


  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Lots of Reviews
  • Very popular as a moderately priced rowing machine


  • Some buyers complain of their rower having defects when it arrives
  • While this product is supposed to be quiet, sometimes there is a defect and it makes a loud squeak as you pull
  • The tension and resistance are not sufficient for some people
  • The app doesn’t work properly in some cases

Verdict: A good choice for those who prefer magnetic rowers with their generally quiet operation, affordable price and consistent tension, not dependent on the speed with which you row.

Sunny Health and Fitness Magnetic Rower, SF-RW5515

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower with LCD Monitor
9,838 Reviews
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower with LCD Monitor
  • DIGITAL MONITOR: The large LCD console displays time, count, calories, total count, and scan. The convenient scan mode displays your progress to assist you in tracking all your fitness goals.
  • EXTRA LONG SLIDE RAIL: At 48 inches in slide rail length, and 44 inches in inseam length, the SF-RW5515 can accommodate rowers nearly any size.
  • ADJUSTABLE MAGNETIC RESISTANCE: With a simple twist, you can increase or decrease the 8 levels of magnetic resistance, so your workout can remain challenging and effective throughout your fitness journey.
  • TRANSPORTATION WHEELS: Built-in transportation wheels for easy portability. Simply tilt and roll out for use or away for storage, no need for heavy lifting or muscle strain.
  • NON-SLIP FOOT PEDALS: Textured non-slip foot pedals will ensure safe footing during the most demanding and vigorous workouts. Foot straps keep your feet saddled with so you can focus on the workout without feeling unbalanced.

Last update on 2021-02-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sunny Health and Fitness is a company that’s been around for 15 years. They make a variety of health and fitness products:

  • Exercise Bikes
  • Treadmills
  • Elliptical Trainers
  • Rowers
  • Dumbbells, Barbells, Kettle bells, Squat racks, and so on

More Detail on the Sunny Fitness and Health SF-RW515 Magnetic Rower

  • This is a magnetic rower with eight different levels of resistance, depending on your strength and stamina levels
  • The LCD digital monitor uses batteries, and tracks time, count, and calories
  • Use it for low impact (unlike running, jumping, etc.) aerobic and cardio workout
  • Anti-slip pedals
  • Wheels to allow moving it around
  • Rowing targets most muscle groups
  • Weight capacity is up to 220 pounds. So, if you weight more than this, it’s probably better to use a different model
  • Cushioned comfort seat, for a comfortable workout, even for longer periods
  • Foam handle grip bar

The Sunny Health and Fitness Magnetic Rower has all the important stuff:

  • Digital Performance Monitor
  • Foam Grip Handlebars
  • Non slip Foot Pedals
  • Transportation Wheels and Adjustable Resistance

It’s been around for quite a while and people generally like it. At only about 1/5 the price of the higher end “premier’ rowing machine, the Concept 2 Model D. it’s one of the best rowing machines in its price range.

As for customer service, one customer said that when the machine broke, the company replaced it with no charge. That’s a good sign. We want a company that stands by its products!

On the other hand, that is not the case all the time. The company, while generally consistent, has had a few problems. In one case, the person needed to take apart the part of the machine that was making noise. The company would not replace it if they didn’t put it back together properly.

Another strange issue is that it has really mixed opinions on how quiet it is. The vast majority are very happy with it, but then there is this example.

Click Here for the top positive review

Click Here for the top critical review.


  • Relatively inexpensive – 1/4 the price compared with the Concept2 model d indoor rower
  • Has all the basics of a rowing machine
  • Good for beginners and those who don’t use it so often


  • Not as reliable and durable as more expensive models–problems often occur after some period of use
  • The monitor is not so easy to read and seems to be inaccurate at counting calories; it does not track distance or stroke rate
  • Customer service is mixed, with some buyers getting a full replacement, while others feel they got poor service

Verdict: A good basic machine especially if you don’t use it heavily. A good value for the money, however, if you can afford it, or can wait and save up the money, get a more expensive machine.

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 Performance Monitor, Black
  • Your purchase includes One Concept2 Indoor Rowing Machine, D Model. A Performance Monitor 5 computer, One Model D User Manual, One Performance Monitor Quick Start Guide, tools and illustrated assembly instructions
  • Rowing machine dimensions: Assembled: 8 ft x 2 ft (244 cm x 61 cm) With Clearance for Use: 9 ft x 4 ft (274 cm x 122 cm) For Storage: 25 in x 33 in x 54 in (63.5 cm x 83.8 cm x 137.2 cm).
  • Designed to fit most users: 14-inch seat height, 500lb user capacity, adjustable footrests and ergonomic handle. Users with an inseam of 38 inches (96.5 cm) or more may require an extra-long monorail.
  • Separates easily into two pieces for storage; caster wheels make it mobile; easy to assemble with only eight screws.
  • Track your progress with real-time reliable data; the Performance Monitor 5 (included) self-calibrates for comparable results; connect wirelessly to heart rate belts and apps (not included).

Last update on 2021-02-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Here is a video review by a buyerconcept 2 video image

The Concept2 Model D is really the industry standard–most professional rowers including Olympic Athletes consider it to be the best rowing machine. It is the realization of a dream of two guys who were both rowers and engineers. They wanted to make the best equipment for rowers, like themselves. After several models, the Concept2 Model D became the most popular rower in the world.

Here are its key features and benefits:

  • Air rower with 10 tension settings, to fit your fitness level for resistance rowing
  • Relatively quiet with smooth feel
  • Its LCD display is easy to see. It tracks your time spent, distance rowed, as well as intervals
  • Compatible with Bluetooth and various apps, to track your workouts, heart rate etc. on your smartphone or store on a USB thumb drive
  • Easy to assemble, disassemble for easy storage
  • Caster wheels make it easy to move
  • Comes with user manual, startup guide, and even has daily email workouts available
  • Limited 2 Year and 5 Year Warranty
  • Nickel plated chain needs oiling only every 40 hours

What If Your Mobility is Impaired?

If your mobility is impaired due to bad knees or other condition, don’t worry! There is another model, The Concept2 Model E has a higher seat 20 inches off the floor. It is a bit higher in price but has the advantage of being more accessible if you have difficulty bending or moving around.

They are basically the same, it’s just that the Model E has a seat about the level of a chair. This Model E is the best rowing machine for seniors who have trouble moving around and getting up and down.

best rowing machine for seniors


  • Recommended by most athletic coaches and trainers
  • Extremely reliable and durable
  • Very few customer service issues
  • Great for people from all walks of life, from seniors to Olympic Athletes


  • Higher priced than the other models featured here

Click Here for the Top Positive Review

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Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine with PMS

For those that find themselves with limited mobility or are not as flexible as they used to be, the Concept2 Model E sits six-inches higher off the ground compared to other rowing machine models which makes it easier for seniors to operate. It encourages a low-impact workout for all the muscle groups with high calorie burning motions. It features a performance monitor as well with an adjustable angle, so the rower can track their progress with real time reliable data.

Other Key Features and Benefits:

  • This rowing machine separates into two different pieces for easier storage
  • Comes with a 5-year warranty on the frame
  • Recommended in a space of 9 x 4 feet
  • 500 pound user capacity
  • 6-inches higher from the ground for easy on and off
  • Real-time reliable data with the performance monitor
  • Built with commercial grade materials


  • Much easier to get in and out of compared to past models
  • Made of high-quality materials
  • Seat and fan noise are nearly silent


  • Some have complained about the seat being too thin
  • Larger footprint so it requires more space

Verdict: Overall, this rowing machine has stellar reviews and is great for a low-impact workout. People report that it is well-built, durable, and seems as if it were made to last a long time. For those with flexibility and mobility issues, the higher seat made it much easier to get in and out of which helped lead to more of a routine when it came to using the machine instead of sporadic use. The discomfort from the thinly padded seat can also be addressed by switching the seat out completely.

Schwinn Crewmaster Rowing Machine, Grey, One Size

With its oversized rower seat, the Schwinn Crewmaster rowing machine was designed with comfort in mind. It is also incredibly easy to clean. This rowing machine has an easy fold design making storage a breeze and its quiet operation makes it perfect for home use.

Other Key Features and Benefits:

  • It features a large LCD display that helps track time, count, distance, stroke count, calories, recovery, and pulls
  • Console is adjustable and can be adapted for a variety of user height requirements
  • Can be stored vertically when not in use
  • Offers 10 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Features large, stable, and adjustable pedals with foot straps
  • Padded seat for comfort


  • Nylon transmission offers quiet operation without sacrificing on power
  • 10 levels of magnetic resistance with just a turn of the dial
  • High-quality machine that doesn’t slip
  • Has wheels on the front to make it easier to move


  • May sit too low to the floor. Some users found it hard to get up from
  • The resistance feels the same throughout entire strokes according to some users

Verdict: If you are looking for a more than affordable rowing machine for your home that is quiet and relatively easy to store, then this is the one for you. With so many settings, you can customize your workout and how hard you are going to work that day.

Honorable Mentions

If you want more choices and are looking to expand your search for the best rowing machines for seniors, then here a couple more rowing machines to consider for your home and low-impact workout.

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

In a nutshell: This rowing machine allows for full range of motion rowing so you can better mimic being on the water. It has a multi-function electronic meter to keep you motivated, and it has a molded and padded seat to offer you more in the way of comfort during your rowing workout. It folds up for easy storage and is made with a sturdy steel frame construction.

Click here for more details and rowing machine reviews

MaxKare Air Rower Rowing Machine

This rowing machine offers you a full body workout with air resistance. It features a twin drive belt system to help you reach your fitness goals. It needs to be noted, however, that this rowing machine may be harder to pull than other regular air rowers. Because of this, you will have more of a strength and resistance workout. If you find yourself facing limited mobility, then this isn’t the rowing machine to consider. Despite this, its ergonomic design does make it easy to operate and is suitable exercise equipment for almost everyone.

Click here for more details and rowing machine reviews

Other Rowing Machine Considerations

Before choosing a rowing machine for your home, there are a few more considerations to keep in mind as you make your decision.

The Cost

Affordability is always a major consideration when looking for good cardio machines. There are some rowing machines that can be found under $100 while others can easily go up to the thousands depending on what it is you are looking for and the features you want during your rowing workout.


How much space is available in the home and where will you be placing the rowing machine? These are things to consider as well because you want to make sure you have adequate space available for each and every rowing workout. Additionally, if space is a concern, does the rowing machine fold up for easier storage when it is not in use?


Lumbar support makes indoor rowing for seniors more feasible and offers a stable seated position to be in during the rowing exercise without interfering with any movement.

Tips for Seniors

Now that you have made the decision to purchase a new rowing machine, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you become a more active senior.

  • Always get permission from your doctor before you start a new exercise program. They can help you narrow down different activities you can participate in as well as what should be avoided.
  • Any ongoing health conditions we have can also affect our workouts. So, you may need to find the right balance between your physical activity, medications, and meals.
  • Always listen to your body. If you feel as if something is wrong, then slow it down. Never ignore any chest pains, shortness of breath, dizziness, disorientation, or headaches you may be experiencing.
  • Stretch and warm up before each workout and don’t forget the cool down time at the end of each workout.
  • Drink water throughout the day and keep some near you as you exercise.
  • Develop a routine when it comes to a new exercise program.
  • Set shorter term goals that are realistic.


If you are over 55, higher impact type exercises such as running, jumping and highly strenuous workouts may not be best, and might even cause injuries. Gym equipment that requires standing, such as Elliptical or Treadmills are not everyone’s cup of tea. Unless you are near water and can do water rowing.

For that reason, a home rowing machine may be your best bet for an all-around cardio, strength and flexibility program. It exercises most of your muscles but with minimal risk if used properly and increases your pulse rate. Plus, you’ll love how easy it is to get into the habit of rowing…it’s a great mental break from your usual thoughts and cares.

These models have been around for quite some time and the manufacturers have good reputations. That’s important. The Fitness Reality and the Sunny SF-RW515 Rowers go for under $400, which is a factor to consider.

But if price is no object, my overall choice for the best rowing machine for seniors or just about anyone, is the Concept 2 Rower.

Click Here for my full review of this rowing machine.