Exercises for Older Adults Who Want to Stay Active

Regular exercise is important at every stage of life. Exercise is an excellent way to engage the mind and body together, make social connections, and engage with the world around you.

“But staying active as an older adult can be challenging, especially if you’re not used to regular exercise. The good news? It’s okay to start small! In fact, it’s encouraged!”

Even low-impact exercise, if done regularly, can still have a dramatic effect on physical and mental health.

Benefits of regular exercise for older adults

Improved cardiovascular health: Lowers the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke, while improving heart and lung function.

Enhanced muscle strength and bone density: Helps maintain muscle mass, strengthen bones, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

Increased flexibility and joint health: Stretching and flexibility exercises improve joint mobility, reduce stiffness, and support better overall movement.

Better balance and coordination: Balance and coordination exercises reduce the risk of falls and related injuries, improving overall stability.

Weight management: Helps maintain a healthy weight, which in turn reduces the risk of various chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

Mental health and well-being: Releases endorphins, the “feel-good” brain hormones, which can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, enhance cognitive function, and improve overall health.

Exercises for older adults

Of course, knowing the benefits of exercise doesn’t make it any easier to get moving. Finding a form of exercise that you genuinely enjoy makes all the difference. Here are some great exercise ideas for older adults that can help you stay active without putting too much stress on the body.


Walking is a low-impact exercise easily incorporated into daily routines. It’s such a gentle exercise, it’s easy to forget how beneficial walking can be, especially if you do it as a social activity. Walking improves cardiovascular health, strengthens bones and muscles, and improves your sleep.


Spending time in the pool can be fun, relaxing, and a serious workout. Swimming is a gentle, joint-friendly exercise working every muscle in the body. It’s great for your heart, muscles, joints, and coordination, which reduces the risk of injuries caused by falling.

Strength training

Incorporating strength-training exercises, such as resistance bands, weight lifting, and bodyweight exercises, can be a great way to maintain and build muscles that keep you moving. Even better, it’s something you can do from the comfort of home. While strength training is good for staving off muscle loss as we age, it also improves overall bone density and balance.

Yoga and Tai Chi

Both yoga and tai chi use fluid, flowing movements and held positions to increase flexibility and strength, making them a good fit for older adults. They emphasize mindfulness as opposed to strenuous movement – though you can certainly get a substantial workout with some forms of yoga, if desired. These mind-body exercises promote flexibility, balance, and stress relief. And since they’re often done in groups or classes, they can be an excellent social outlet, as well. The Wellness Connection at Three Pillars offers weekly yoga classes! See the full calendar of class offerings on our website.


Cycling, whether outdoors or using a stationary bike, is a low-impact exercise benefitting cardiovascular health, leg strength, joint flexibility, and overall endurance. While it’s certainly possible to push your body to the limits on a bicycle, you can always set your own pace. Even at lower speeds, cycling offers similar benefits to walking while increasing the distance you can cover. Set a fun destination and meet up with friends along the way! Did you know Three Pillars has their own fleet of bikes for the Pillars Pedals program? Residents and staff can use the bikes anytime to enjoy our beautiful campus.

Chair exercises

If you have limited mobility or find it challenging to perform standing exercises, chair exercises can be highly beneficial. These exercises can all be done while sitting or supporting your weight with a chair. Chair exercises can be just as beneficial as standing exercises, especially with regards to strength training. You can get a complete workout that doesn’t put unnecessary strain on your body, while still enjoying the same improved circulation, strength, and flexibility. Each community at Three Pillars has weekly exercise classes for residents – learn more about each community and view their activity calendars on our website!

Are you an older adult looking for an active independent living community? Check out what Three Pillars has to offer, including the upcoming expansion of our active adult community!