No plugs. No batteries. No smartphone apps. Many low-cost, easy-to-use exercise and therapeutic devices can help motivate users with fundamentally simple techniques. 

Physical and occupational therapists have long touted the benefits of hands-on interactions with patients, especially in conjunction with basic, affordable equipment that can be used at home and has shown to be effective for decades. 

While these products are widely available, it’s important to consult either a physician or physical therapist before undertaking a new workout regime. Another option is to complete the Get Active Questionnaire, developed by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, to determine the appropriate level of physical activity your body is prepared for. 

1. Balance Pad

Maintaining and improving balance is a great way to increase core muscle strength and stability, and a sturdy, foam balance pad offers a great tool to practice certain exercises and challenge your stability and coordination. Simple moves like squats, single-leg raises, step-ups, and planks are aided by the flexibility and sturdiness of the pad. 

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2. Ankle Weights

Strapping on ankle weights (from 5-10 lbs.) for donkey kicks or leg lifts can further target muscles in the legs and hips. Users with back or joint problems should avoid them for walking, but 3-5 lb. weights can add light impact forces to help with bone density. 

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3. Resistance Bands

Sometimes called exercise or therapy bands, these elastic bands are extremely versatile and offer different colors to indicate the progression of resistance, as well as handles and continuous loops.

Exercises like biceps curls, chest presses, and lunges can be done standing, seated, or lying down. Remember that thinner bands are designed for wider movements and small muscle groups, while thicker bands apply to short movement and larger muscles. 

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4. Stability Ball

The classic exercise ball, sometimes called the Swiss Ball, was primarily used for abdominal and core strengthening exercises but has been proven to be far more versatile. Standard movements like bicep curls and squats can get a boost when performed on a ball and can challenge balance and stability. 

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5. Foam Roller

Long-distance runners swear by rollers as recovery tools to help with cooling down during training. Their high-density foam provides steady, even pressure and can relieve tension and sooth sore muscles after a workout. 

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6. Muscle Roller

Unlike softer foam rollers, muscle rollers utilize sturdier, harder material. By targeting stiff muscles and joints, the handheld roller can loosen trigger points and tough Myofascial tissues that hinder movement. 

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7. Hand Exerciser

A fuzzy tennis ball is a pretty good old-school exercise tool, but a resistive hand exerciser offers a more ergonomic shape, multiple densities, and can be heated or cooled for comfort. 

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8. Lumbar Roll

Lower back pain can be caused by an injury, poor posture, even subpar mechanics during a workout. Proper alignment of the spine, using the renowned McKenzie Method, and a lumbar roll strapped to a chair or seat can yield tangible results. 

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9. Peanut Massager

Sometimes called a double lacrosse ball, this two-sided ball is another device aimed at relieving Myofascial discomfort. Simple maneuvers on the neck can ease pain and headaches, and can also be used on forearms and achilles tendons. 

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10. Hiking Poles

Even if trekking up a mountain isn’t an easily accomplished goal, hiking poles are still an effective assistive device for those who don’t need a lot of additional support but would like relief for sore or arthritic knees and hips. Studies have shown that the poles can lessen forces acting upon the knee by up to 25% by displacing weight and decreasing stress on the lower extremities.

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