The Bristal Assisted Living Blog

Posted by The Bristal  |

Why Exercise Really Is Worth It - And How to Get Started

Do you dislike exercising — even though you know it’s good for you? There are many reasons adults don’t enjoy exercising. You may not know how to exercise, find gym workout settings costly or intimidating, or feel too tired and sore to continue regular physical activity. Fortunately, you’re not alone. 

Despite the challenges of exercising, it’s essential to overcome any barriers because the benefits of routine exercise are worth any hardships you may face. There’s no need to wait until the next New Year to begin a fitness routine that works for you. Get started with the information and guidance below anytime, and reap the benefits of better overall health and quality of life.

Learn the Health Benefits of Regular Exercise

There are several reasons why staying physically active is good for you, making it easy to see why it should be a part of your routine. Here are a few ways exercise benefits your health:

  • It helps control your weight.
  • It can reduce your risk of heart disease and some cancers.
  • It can make you less likely to suffer a fall through improved balance and strength.
  • It can help you sleep better.
  • It improves your mental health and mood and helps keep your brain sharp.
  • It strengthens your bones and muscles for easier movement.

Physical activity can help older adults maintain their independence longer with improved muscle strength, stronger bones, and increased physical function. These combined benefits can help prevent and reduce the risk of falls and make us feel and age better. 

Senior woman walks outdoors in park setting

Understand the Recommended Physical Activity Guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that healthy adults get 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity exercise per week. It also recommends that adults of all ages sit less and move more throughout the day to achieve better health.

Finally, the guidelines suggest doing muscle-strengthening activities at least two days per week, and mixing in balance and stability routines.

Does that sound like an impossible goal? If you break it down into smaller chunks — and consider the fact that physical activity isn’t just going to the gym — you’ll see how easy it can be to fit activity into your routine. 

Remember that visiting your physician before starting a new fitness routine is best. They can verify that you’re healthy enough to do so and offer tips for getting started. Depending on your existing health, they may suggest different levels of exercise.

Related: Learn easy, low-impact exercises for seniors >>

Align Exercise with Your Goals to Motivate Yourself

Many people dislike exercise because it’s potentially uncomfortable. After all, who wants to get sweaty, have sore muscles, and be tired? And who has time for a trip to the gym?

Clear any preconceived notions about exercise from your head. When done correctly, exercise shouldn’t hurt. There’s no need to push yourself to exhaustion, and it doesn’t have to mean going to the gym. Consider the following tips to motivate yourself:

Make exercise fun.

Physical activity is just what it sounds like — moving your body in a way that requires more effort and energy than resting. Once you realize that, it’s easy to think of ways to start incorporating exercise that fits your lifestyle and abilities. Sports like tennis and golf fit the bill, but taking a walk and doing housework do, too.

Related: Get walking tips for seniors >>

Don’t compare yourself to others.

The fastest way to get discouraged is by comparing your abilities to someone else’s. Everyone is different — different ages, genetics, backgrounds. So, if you’re trying your best, there’s no need to worry about someone else. Be kind to yourself. If you’re showing up to exercise, you’ve already faced half the battle.

Senior man joins an outdoor group fitness class

Find an exercise partner.

It’s easier to stay motivated when you have a buddy who can come along. Find a neighbor, friend, or family member who can help keep you accountable and participate in the same activities you enjoy. Or, join a group fitness class. You’ll find that exercising can be a social event, too. 

Related: Learn hiking tips and suggested trails to get you started >>

Pick a goal.

Find the biggest reason you want to start exercising. Is it to lose weight? To be able to play with your grandchildren? To feel more confident walking around the block? Whatever your reason, think about it every time you’re ready to work out — and when you’re tempted to quit — to give yourself an extra boost of motivation.

Related: Explore senior-friendly health and fitness apps >>

Explore Exercises and Resources for Seniors

If you’re looking for some examples of exercises to try, see the list below. This list includes both cardiovascular exercises as well as muscle-strengthening ones. Some exercises offer both.

  • Walking or hiking.
  • Dancing.
  • Strengthening exercises with dumbbells or resistance bands.
  • Bodyweight exercises like pushups, planks, squats, and lunges.
  • Swimming and water aerobics.
  • Riding a bike (stationary or outdoors).
  • Gardening activities.
  • Carrying groceries inside.

If your doctor has cleared you for exercise but you haven’t been exercising regularly, give yourself time. You won’t be able to run a marathon overnight. And to reduce your risk of injury, know your limits. Don’t push yourself too hard, too fast; give your body time to adjust.

Take it slow and recognize that it may take a while to accomplish some of your fitness goals. At the same time, appreciate your body for what it’s doing for you right now — you’re making great progress just by getting started!

Finally, while a personal trainer certainly isn’t required to exercise, a trainer can help you get on track and build an exercise regimen that’s right for you. Ask friends and family if they have recommendations, and check with local gyms to see if they offer personal training.

Consider Moving to Senior Living

Another way to incorporate physical activity into your routine is to consider moving to a senior living community. Assisted living communities like The Bristal encourage an active lifestyle for seniors with easy access to on-site fitness centers, exercise classes, healthy dining options, and more. 

Some of our locations even offer swimming pools, putting greens, and walking trails to enhance your wellness options and campus amenities. You’ll receive the support you need when you need it to live independently, including daily housekeeping services, weekly laundering of your linens, and scheduled transportation to appointments and nearby stores, restaurants, and attractions.

Discover More Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle

The Bristal TopStories newsletter delivers helpful tips and news right to your email inbox. Want to get the latest updates? Subscribe to the newsletter to start receiving your copy.

Sign Up for TopStories



This blog was originally published in 2019. It was updated in March 2024.


  • There are no suggestions because the search field is empty.