Update 1/6/21. 60Up is a balance improvement device you've probably seen on TV commercials featuring game show host, Bob Eubanks. The device is said to reduce falling and make you stronger. So does it really work or is this just another piece of junk soon to collect dust in your basement? As an exercise physiologist who specializes in helping older folks, the TV commercial caught my attention. In this 60Up review, I'll answer all your questions and give you the pros and cons to help you decide if 60Up is right for you.
What's The Name Mean?
The name is catchy and tells you who this balancing machine is for – people aged 60 and above.
Do You Need Better Balance?
Statistics from the National Council on Aging tell us that:
- 1 out of 4 Americans over age 65 falls each year
- Falls are the leading cause of fatal injures sustained by older adults
- Each year 27,000 Americans die from falls
- In 2015 fall-related injuries cost the US healthcare system 50 billion dollars
Going hand in hand with a poor balance is a lack of muscle strength. This is called sarcopenia. Listen to my podcast episode about sarcopenia.
People with poor balance and lack of strength are less likely to take care of themselves and perform their daily activities. Those people have a greater risk of being confined to a nursing home one day.
Bottom line: improving balance and strength can give people a better quality of life.
Science of Balance Boards
I've seen many balance boards in gyms. As you stand on them and wobble back and forth, they improve balance by helping the brain and muscles talk to each other better. This is technically called proprioception (pro-pre-O-sep-shin). The faster the brain can send signals to the muscles, the quicker those muscles react. Having fast relays between the brain and muscles can be the difference between falling and not falling.
The problem however with most balance/wobble boards is they are not designed for people with very poor balance such as older folks or those with multiple sclerosis or stroke survivors. For those people, unsupervised use of balance boards could increase the risk of falling.
How Is 60 Up Different?
After looking at the design, here are 2 ways I believe 60 up differs from traditional balance boards seen in gyms:
- it has poles for you to hold on to. This helps you balance yourself better
- it's less wobbly than traditional boards
The idea of combining vertical poles with a balance board system is smart. It makes the board less intimidating to those who are afraid of falling. As the name suggests, this device is not made for most 20-year-olds. It's created specifically for people who have poor balance. Some of those groups include:
- Older folks
- Stroke survivors
- People with MS and Parkinsons
- Hip/knee replacements
Will It Make You Stronger?
It's possible you will get stronger using 60UP. If your activities are limited because of fear of falling, then anything you do to move more will make the muscles in your legs and buttocks stronger. Since you will be using the yellow poles to stabilize, your upper body muscles will become stronger too.
The degree that you get stronger will depend on your starting point. If you are a frail person who has difficulty getting around the house, then I believe the improvements will be better than someone who is more active.
The 60Up TV Commercial
Here is one of the TV commercials you may have seen.
Any 60Up Clinical Research?
The company has said they have an ongoing clinical study. So far, the results of that investigation have not been published in medical journals. So we don't know how well it works. Also unknown is who it works best with. On the website, it's said 60 Up “builds new neural connections.” Without research, this claim is difficult to prove.
That said, there is evidence that balance training benefits older adults.
Balance Board Research
In one investigation 9 older adults were put on a balance board training program. The study lasted 5 weeks. Researchers saw significantly better balance in those who worked just 10 minutes a day, 3 times a week.
Other researchers recruited 65 older people with type II diabetes and put them on a 12-week balance-training program with Nintendo Wii Fit. The people completed three 40 minute training sessions per week. Results showed a clinically significantly reduced risk of falls.
So far, researchers have not compared 60Up to Wii Fit or other balance training systems to see which is best. Keep in mind The Nintendo Wii program does not have poles for you to hold onto like 60 Up does. As such, the Wii system may be harder to use for some people.
What Are 60Up Balance Board Dimensions
The balance board
This is what you stand on. The board is almost 3 feet wide (35 inches) and 2 feet from back to front. So it's pretty wide and able to accommodate most people's feet.
The balance board is also 4 inches high. This means you will step up 4 inches to get onto the balance board.
When fully assembled, 60Up weighs 19 pounds. Most of this is from the balance board which weighs about 15 pounds.
The poles that you hold onto are 45 inches long. That's a little less than 4 feet. For tall people – those over 6'2″ – you can order 50-inch poles. For shorter people under 5'2,” you can order 38 inch long poles.
You will receive instructions on how to assemble 60Up. If you prefer there is an online video or DVD if you prefer.
Overall 60Up is portable and should fit in most places.
60Up Assembly Video
Here is a video the company created to show you how to put 60Up together
Quick Start Set Up and Safety Video
If you have never used 60 Up before this quick video will give you an idea of how to begin
- To prevent slipping, use 60 Up on a mat or carpet. Don't use it on a hard surface like tile or stone floor. You can purchase an anti-slip mat from the company for $19.95.
- If your balance is poor, do the exercises with a friend/relative present.
Who Makes 60UP?
Dan Metcalfe is the creator. Dan is a professional soccer coach ,so he's familiar with balance, mobility, and stability issues. As an aside, he appeared in several movies and TV shows. Both Dan and Bob Eubanks are on the 60Up tradmark which makes sense given Bob Eubanks TV commericals. Here's a quick video of the history and some of the science behind the balance board. The company website is 60Up.com.
Contact 60Up Company
To place orders, call 800-393-4491. call 24 hours a day. It may take up to 2 weeks to receive the delivery.
Customer service is 800-481-6087, M-F 9 am to 5 pm pacific time.
How Much Weight Can It Support
The balance board can hold up to 300 pounds. So if you weigh over 300 pounds 60up may not be right for you.
Some may be confused because the 60UP website also states that the “base is made of engineered composite compound resin tested to hold over 2000 pounds.”
To clarify, the 60Up will not support someone who weighs 2000 pounds. I called their customer support about this and they confirmed the device is appropriate for people weighing up to 300 pounds.
Tell Me About The 60Up Poles
60Up comes with 2 flexible yellow plastic poles to help you stabilize while you stand on the board. The poles are 45 inches long (just under 4 feet long). The yellow poles flex a little bit to get your legs to improve your balance. These poles can withstand up to 250 pounds of pressure being placed on them. If you are taller than 6'6″ or shorter than 5'2″ you can order longer or shorter poles.
For those with very poor balance such as stroke survivors or people who weigh over 250 pounds, you can order metal poles that do not flex and are more stable. The metal polls can withstand up to 350 pounds.
I think the poles are what separate 60Up from other balance boards. They help you stabilize better on the balance board, reducing your fear of falling.
What Is The Red Ball Used For?
On the board, there is a red ball that has dimples on it. The red ball is used to improve strength and flexibility in the feet. This helps your brain anticipate uneven surfaces faster. The faster you can adjust to uneven surfaces, the better your balance is, and the faster you might re-balance yourself if you thought you were going to fall.
If you just starting out, you won't be using the red ball. The intermediate exercise video included with 60Up shows you how to use it.
How Much Does 60Up Cost?
The cost is $249.95. This includes:
- Non-slip balance board
- Two yellow poles
- Low resistance exercise bands
- The red exercise ball
- Bob Eubanks 3 week workout DVD
- Intermediate and advanced workout DVDs
Shipping is free. Here it is on Amazon too.
What's The 60 Up Warranty?
There are different warranty limits for different parts. Here is the breakdown:
- Balance Board: 2-year warranty
- The poles you hold on: to 1-year warranty
- Stability half ball: 1-year warranty
- Resistance bands: 1-year warranty
- Safety security pins: 1-year warranty
- Safety hole hooks: 1-year warranty
I'd prefer to see a longer warranty on the safety hooks and security pins. You have the option to purchase a lifetime warranty for $39.95 which covers everything if you prefer.
60 Up Money-Back Guarantee
The system comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee. The 2-month guarantee begins when you receive the balance board (not when you order it) This is good because it gives you more time to try it out. You pay shipping costs to return the item if you're not satisfied and want to send it back.
How To Return 60UP
Call the company first at 800-393-4491. If you will be boxing it up and sending it back yourself, you will need a return merchandise authorization number (RMA). You can get this from customer service.
If you prefer, the company can provide you with a prepaid shipping label. The cost of this is $39.95. This amount will be deducted from your original purchase price. I suggest you call the company for the best way to return 60Up and its accessories.
What About International Orders
60Up ships inside the continental US. For orders to Alaska, Hawaii, or elsewhere call customer service at 800-393-4491.
Where Is It Made?
60up is made in America. Their customer service people could not tell me if the component parts are also made in the US or imported from other countries.
Does Insurance Cover 60Up?
At this time, no. The same is true if you are thinking about using your flexible spending account (FSA) o cover the cost too. The company states that getting insurance reimbursement is a long process. They do mention that their study – which has not yet been published – will be presented to insurance companies when it is completed. This gives some hope that maybe insurance may cover it eventually.
The device comes with 2 yellow resistance bands that you can use to do exercises depicted in the 60Up workout DVD. The yellow bands are the lowest resistance. As your strength and stability improve, the company also offers resistance bands of different colors that are more challenging. Here is what they offer:
- Red Level 2 bands (improve bands): $32.95
- Green Level 3 bands (strong resistance): $34.95
- Blue Level 4 bands (rough resistance): $37.95
- Black Level 5 resistance (Beast resistance): 39.95
For most people, I think the yellow bands which are included, will be good enough.
60 Up Nutrition Program
If you want to go full in you can also opt to purchase the 60Up Nutrition program. Currently, the company offers two dietary supplements in this program:
- Ultra Hydration
- Daily Balance Formula
So what are these?
This supplement is a powder you mix in water. It's high in vitamin C and magnesium and contains a soluble fiber called inulin which may improve gut health and help keep you regular. Older folks may not drink enough fluids. Being dehydrated could result in being tired and this may increase the risk of falling. There is evidence for this connection too.
That said, it's up to you if you think you need the Ultra Hydration supplement. There's no proof it works better than water, Gatoraid, or other sports drinks. The 60Up website incorrectly states that coffee dehydrates people.
Daily Balance formula
Despite the name, there's no proof the supplement improves your balance or reduces falls. They call this a memory and strength supplement. For the most part, the Daily Balance Formula is a multivitamin. The Daily Balance also has ingredients like GABA, ginkgo, bacopa, leucine, and glutamine among other things. Some of these ingredients may interfere with medications like blood thinners. Speak to your doctor first if you take blood thinner medications like Coumadin (warfarin).
My opinion is I think both supplements are expensive. There are less expensive options. Leave a comment below if you want to know more about this. For honest reviews on dietary supplements see my other website SupplementClarity.com.
60 Up Pros and Cons
Here is a quick rundown of what I liked and didn't about this balance board system. Your opinions may be different.
|Easier to use than other balance boards||The cost|
|Not intimidating for most people||Lack of clinical research|
|2-month money-back guarantee||The 60Up dietary supplements|
|The guarantee begins when you receive it||Only 1-year warranty on safety pins|
|Option to purchase life-time warranty|
|Easy to assemble|
|Made in the USA|
|Easy to reach customer service|
Does 60Up Work?
I believe 60Up can help improve the balance of some people who are very weak and have a lack of lower body muscle strength and endurance. The big advantage is the yellow vertical poles that should also reduce the risk of falling compared to other balance boards. The benefits of 60Up would likely be best in those with very poor balance caused by weak muscles. More research is needed to determine if 60Up will benefit stroke survivors or people with Parkinson's disease, hip replacements, multiple sclerosis, or vertigo.