If you’re an exercise newbie and you hate to work out, you’ll love this article. Why? Because we’re going to tell you to skip those sweaty, hard exercise sessions. In fact, easy workouts for beginners at home or outdoors are better choices when you’re just starting out. Easy, beginning-level exercise is essential for good health and weight loss. Workouts for beginners (and especially for or those who have tried and failed to maintain an exercise program) are specifically designed to build confidence and create life-long habits for well-being.
Beginners who start to work out can expect to enjoy a wide range of benefits. If you are completely new to exercise, low-intensity activity sessions will help you burn more calories. And if you don’t compensate by eating more, the pounds will start to fall off. But these workouts have a more important function, as well. Easy exercise sessions are the building blocks of your fitness program. They will help you to create the habits that will lead to significant weight loss and lifelong weight management.
There are also medical benefits to low-intensity workouts. Researchers have studied the ways in which easy workouts affect the body. While there has been quite a bit of media attention paid to high-intensity workouts, easier sessions still remain a core component of weight loss programs for many different populations, including people with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or high blood pressure.
When you’re a beginner, the point is simply to get moving, establish a routine, and build confidence. If you want to increase your enjoyment and boost the health benefits add at least five minutes of easy stretch exercises at the end of your session. The type of exercise you choose to do is less important than the consistency of your program.
Bodyweight exercises are strength training exercises that use the individual’s own weight to provide resistance against gravity. Bodyweight exercises can enhance a range of biomotor abilities including strength, power, endurance, speed, flexibility, coordination, and balance. You don’t need any special gym equipment to burn calories and build stronger muscles. Take 10–15 minutes to try doing 5 incline push-ups (against a surface that allows your body to be at an incline, like a bathroom sink) 5 chair squats, and 5 walking lunges (or a set of stationary lunges holding on to a countertop for support). Repeat sequence 2–3 times.
Sit tall in a chair with feet flat on the ground, holding the sides of the seat for support. Engage your core. Lift your right foot and extend the leg in front of you and slightly to the side, at about a 45-degree angle. Tap your right heel on the floor, then bring the right foot back to the starting position. If you are not yet comfortable standing for long periods of time, grab a sturdy chair and complete 10-15 minutes of movement with this workout several times each week.
Put on some music, grab your kids, your sweetie, or go solo and groove for at 15–30 minutes. If your neighbors see you in the window, give them a few tips about the benefits of easy exercise and invite them to join you. Zumba, Jazzercise, belly dancing, and ballroom dancing are all fun and effective ways of getting in a workout.
If you want to avoid the gym, exercise at home. It’s easy to do with online workouts. The beauty of online workouts is that they can be accessed anytime, anywhere with space for a yoga mat and a Wi-Fi connection. Many of them are free and most offer easy workouts for beginners. Plus you can enjoy the benefit of working out in the privacy of your own living room.
If dancing isn’t your cup of tea, take advantage of the latest fitness craze, and try shadowboxing at home. Shadowboxing is an exercise used in the training for combat sports, especially, as its name implies, in boxing. It is used mainly to prepare the muscles before the person training engages in stronger physical activity. No equipment is required for this workout and it helps to decrease stress as well.
Aqua jogging is a cross-training and rehabilitation method using low impact resistance training. It is a way to train without impacting joints. Participants wear a flotation device and move in a running motion in the deep end of a pool. Equipment, aside from a pool, can include a flotation belt and weights. If your joints don’t feel good when you walk for long periods of time, try pool running, or aqua jogging. Many public pools provide the blue belt you need to keep your upper body afloat. Once you’re in the water you simply walk without letting your feet touch the bottom of the pool. No belt? Just walk in the water with your feet on the pool floor.
Biking is the use of bicycles for transport, recreation, or sport. Dust off your Schwinn and hop aboard. Take a leisurely spin around the neighborhood or better yet, find a continuous path that allows you to keep pedaling for 20–30 minutes or so without stopping for lights and traffic.
You already know how to walk, so why not structure the activity into a 30-minute walking workout and count it as exercise? Walk slowly for five minutes, pick up your pace for 20 minutes, then cool down and walk slowly again for 5 minutes. Walking is typically slower than running and other gaits. Walking is defined by an ‘inverted pendulum’ gait in which the body vaults over the stiff limb or limbs with each step.