Abstract The purpose of this descriptive study was to determine the perceived benefits of and barriers to exercise of a convenience sample of older African American women in senior citizen centers in an urban area in the mid-South. This descriptive study utilized a convenience sample of older African American women over 60 years of age and examined the relationship among their current exercise levels, their perceptions regarding the importance of exercise, and the benefits of and barriers to engaging in regular exercise. The level of exercise was measured using the Exercise scale of the Health Promotion Lifestyle Profile (HPLP), the perceptions of the importance of exercise were measured by a Cantril ladder, and the benefits of and barriers to exercise were measured by the Exercise Benefits/Barriers Scale (EBBS) and one open-ended question on perceived barriers. A significant relationship was found between reported exercise levels and perceived benefits of and barriers to exercise (p < 0.001). Benefits most cited by participants reflected those categorized as life enhancing. Barriers cited most often related to exercise accessibility and availability. Results of this study support the need for community-based exercise programs for specific populations. Nursing interventions are needed that help women in general and African American women in particular to adopt exercise as a daily health-promotive activity.