Starting your fitness journey can be overwhelming with so many exercise options and conflicting advice available online. But don’t let that deter you from getting started because regular exercise is crucial for overall health and wellbeing. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the various types of workouts that are suitable for beginners, including cardio, strength training, as well as flexibility and mobility exercises.
Beginner Tips to Consider Before Working Out for the First Time
Before we go over our recommended exercises for beginners, here are some workout tips to keep in mind.
- Start slow: as a beginner, it’s especially important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. Not only can starting too quickly lead to injury, but it may also discourage you from continuing on with your fitness journey.
- Don’t forget to warm up and cool down: a proper warm-up before your workout will help prepare your body for exercise by increasing blood flow, loosening muscles, and improving range of motion. On the other hand, a cool-down after your workout can help your body recover by slowing your heart rate and easing tension in your muscles.
- Listen to your body: while working out, it’s important to pay close attention to how your body feels. If you are experiencing a lot of pain or discomfort, it may be a sign that you need to modify your workout or take a break.
- Seek guidance: keeping good form is incredibly important while exercising in order to avoid injury. If you’re unsure about proper form or which exercises are best for you, consider seeking guidance from a personal trainer who can ensure you are exercising safely and effectively.
- Hydrate and fuel your body: Don’t forget to drink water before, during, and after your workouts. Also, remember to fuel your body with healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains to help you maintain your energy levels while you exercise.
Beginner-Friendly Cardio Exercises
Cardiovascular exercise involves vigorous activities that elevate your heart rate. These activities include walking, swimming, cycling, dancing, and much more. By incorporating cardio into your workout routine, you’ll benefit from the following:
- Improved heart health
- Increased endurance
- Better mood
- Improved sleep
Sample Beginner Cardio Workout
- Warm-up: start with a 5-10 minute warm-up of light cardio exercise such as walking, jogging in place, or jumping jacks.
- Main workout: choose a low to moderate intensity cardio exercise that you enjoy such as cycling or dancing and perform it for 20-30 minutes. If you are struggling, start with a shorter duration and gradually increase as you build endurance.
- Cool-down: Finish your workout with a 5-10 minute cool-down of light cardio exercises such as walking or light jogging, followed by stretching exercises that are specific to the muscles you used during your workout.
Beginner-Friendly Strength Training Exercises
Strength training is a type of exercise that uses resistance to build muscle and increase strength. It can include exercises that use free weights, weight machines, or body weight. By incorporating strength training into your exercise routine, you’ll benefit from:
- Increased muscle mass and strength
- Better balance and stability
- Improved bone health
- Boosted metabolism
Sample Strength Training Workout
For this workout, you will need a set of dumbbells.
- Warm-up: Start with 5-10 minutes of jogging to increase your heart rate and warm up your muscles.
- Goblet squats: Hold a dumbbell with both hands at chest level and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down, keeping your back straight and your knees behind your toes. Push back up to the starting position. Do 2 sets of 10-12 reps.
- Dumbbell rows: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and bend over with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight and your arms extended towards the floor. Pull the dumbbells up towards your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position. Do 2 sets of 10-12 reps.
- Plank: Get into a plank position on the exercise mat, with your elbows on the ground and your forearms extended out in front of you. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds, keeping your body in a straight line from head to heels.
- Cool-down: Finish your workout with 5-10 minutes of stretching, focusing on the muscles you used during your workout.
Beginner-Friendly Flexibility and Mobility Exercises
Flexibility/mobility exercises are especially important for beginners as they provide the following benefits:
- Improved range of motion
- Reduced risk of injury
- Reduced muscle soreness and tension
- Improved posture
- Enhanced athletic performance
Sample Flexibility and Mobility Workout
For this workout, you will need an exercise mat.
- Warm-up: march in place for 5-10 minutes.
- Cat-cow stretch: Get down on all fours on your exercise mat. Inhale and arch your back, lifting your head and tailbone towards the ceiling. Exhale and round your spine, bringing your head and tailbone towards the floor. Do 5-6 repetitions.
- Standing Hamstring Stretch: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hinge forward at the hips, reaching towards your toes with your hands. Hold for 20-30 seconds, feeling the stretch in the back of your legs.
- Shoulder Circles: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides. Lift your shoulders up towards your ears, then roll them back and down in a circular motion. Do 10-12 repetitions in each direction.
- Quad Stretch: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold onto a wall or chair for balance if needed. Bend one knee and bring your heel towards your buttocks, holding onto your ankle with your hand. Hold for 20-30 seconds, feeling the stretch in the front of your thigh. Repeat on the other side.
- Seated Forward Fold: Sit on the exercise mat with your legs extended in front of you. Reach towards your toes with your hands, keeping your back straight. Hold for 20-30 seconds, feeling the stretch in your hamstrings and lower back.
- Cool-Down: Finish your workout with 5-10 minutes of stretching, focusing on any areas that still feel tight or sore.
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Starting your fitness journey can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By incorporating cardio, strength training, and flexibility/mobility exercises into your routine, you can make great improvements to your overall health and fitness level.
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