How to Stay Healthy When You Don’t Really Want to Exercise

It can be hard to stay motivated to exercise as you get older. Unfortunately, though, exercise becomes even more important with age. This is because it can improve heart health and limit factors that can cause health issues. People who begin exercising in their fifties may experience challenges. However, research and getting in the right mindset can improve chances of success. Here are some easy tips to help you get in the swing of things and find your motivation.

Get in the right mindset.

First things first, know that exercising looks different for everyone because everyone’s bodies have different needs. Take some of the pressure off yourself—you don’t have to head to the gym and bench press a car. A good place to start is just by finding something you like.


  • Finding an activity you enjoy doing increases your chance of sticking with it and developing healthy habits. Plus, you may meet new friends!
  • Try new exercises. If you know you enjoy walking, try other low impact exercises like biking or swimming. Switching up your routine can exercise new muscles and add a spark to your exercise sessions.
  • Pick exercises that make you feel good. Also, avoid exercises that cause aches to flare up. For example, people who enjoyed running in their younger years may find that low-impact exercises suit them better as they get older.
  • Stretch it out. Spending more time stretching and warming up by doing mobility and muscle activation exercises can help prevent injuries.
  • Make the commitment. Regardless of athleticism, every person is susceptible to health problems caused by lack of movement. Exercising regularly is a habit with benefits that will last for a long time.
  • Find your motivation. People who set exercise goals—like improving flexibility or being able to walk one mile a day—struggle less in adhering to an exercise schedule.

Don’t forget about other body parts.

Taking time to focus on other body parts can be a real help for those pesky aches and pains. Here are some tips to get you started.

  • Watch your back. Focus on strengthening the muscles surrounding your spine. This can improve posture and prevent hunching and back pain.
  • Balance your exercises. Implementing balance and stability training can build core strength and help you prevent dangerous falls.
  • Exercise your brain, too. Brain training or cognitive stimulation improves the communication between brain cells and timing within the brain, which improves limb and muscle control.
  • Build up strength. Strength training improves balance, helps you control your center of gravity, and prevents muscle atrophy and bone density loss. More muscle mass also means higher metabolic rate, meaning it’s easier to burn fat.
  • Listen to your body. What worked for you in your twenties might not work in your fifties because your physiology and life has changed. Update your fitness plan to accommodate what you can do and it will become less of a chore.

Be kind to yourself.

It’s important to remember that fitness is a metaphorical marathon, not a sprint. (Well, for some people, it might be literal marathons…) Regardless, make sure to forgive yourself when you miss a day or don’t do as much as you hoped. Being hard on yourself is a sure way to start hating exercise and avoiding it more.

  • Take illness in stride. Illness becomes more common with age, so adjust your workouts to accommodate your physical health.
  • Don’t overdo it. If you feel exhausted by tough workouts, back off. Gentler exercises like pilates and yoga can improve flexibility and strength without putting as much strain on your body.
  • Eat what tastes good. It’s easier to eat healthy meals if you enjoy what you eat. Additionally, this can help you avoid counting calories.
  • Set realistic goals. Setting goals like staying healthy and doing what you love are more realistic goals than achieving melon-sized biceps and six-pack abs. Focusing on enjoyment will help you stay motivated.
  • Give yourself time to recover. You won’t recover as quickly when you’re older as you did when you were younger. Stretching, doing warm-up exercises, and rolling out tight areas with a foam roller can help prevent injury and loosen tight areas.

What are your favorite tips for exercising? Let us know in the comments below!

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