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How to Start Working Out As a Total Beginner

A woman exercises at home

Working out is a fantastic way to improve your overall health and well-being. Whether you are new to exercise or simply looking to make a change, this guide will help you get started on the right track. With a focus on heart health, muscle strength, and mood boosts, you can begin your journey to a healthier, happier you.

The Benefits of Working Out

A woman with headphones works out

There are many benefits that come from working out regularly. Regular exercise is great for your body as it can improve heart health, prevent chronic diseases, strengthen bones, and improve flexibility and balance.

Regular physical activity can help to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, boost self-esteem and confidence, and improve cognitive function. Exercise often provides a sense of accomplishment that can improve your mood and make you feel proud of yourself.

One of the most appealing aspects of working out is stress management. Exercise can reduce the effects of stress and anxiety by releasing endorphins and other natural mood-boosting chemicals in the brain.

Regular exercise has been linked to improved cognitive function and concentration, which can result in increased productivity at work or school. It can also help to reduce fatigue and increase energy levels, allowing you to tackle your daily tasks with more ease. Plus, it can help you sleep better, which will make you more energized and productive during the day.

Types of Workouts

A man on a stationary bike

If you haven’t worked out much (or at all) in the past, it can be intimidating trying to figure out what to do. There are many different types of workouts that can be performed at home or at the gym to help you achieve your goals. Whether you want to improve your cardiovascular health, increase your muscle mass, or improve your flexibility and balance, there is an option for you.

Cardiovascular workouts are probably what most people think of when they think about exercise. These are designed to increase your heart rate and improve your cardiovascular health.

Some examples of cardio workouts include walking, running, swimming, cycling, and jumping rope. Cardio workouts can be performed at home with a treadmill, stationary bike, or jump rope, or at the gym with a variety of machines and equipment.

XTERRA Fitness FB150 Folding Exercise Bike

An affordable stationary bike great for beginners.

Any form of cardio can be beneficial, so try out different workouts until you find something that you enjoy. To perform a cardio workout, start by warming up with 5-10 minutes of light exercise, then perform your chosen workout for 20-30 minutes, and end with a cool-down of 5-10 minutes of light exercise.

Strength training workouts are a different kind of exercise that focuses on building muscle mass and increasing strength. This can be accomplished through lifting weights, using resistance bands, or performing bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, and squats. When using weights for the first time, start light and work your way up to avoid injury.

Amazon Basics Neoprene Workout Dumbbell

A three-, five-, and eight-pounds color-coded dumbbell set complete with a rack.

Flexibility and balance workouts are another form of exercise that you might want to explore. These include yoga, tai chi, and Pilates. These workouts can be performed at home or at the gym, with or without equipment. To get started with these types of exercises, you should look to YouTube videos, online classes, or personal training to make sure that your technique is correct.

BalanceFrom GoYoga All-Purpose Yoga Mat with Carrying Strap

A great mat to have at home or on the go.

If you feel really unsure about where to start your exercise journey, you may want to enlist the help of a personal trainer or friend who is familiar with the exercise you want to try. Not only can they help you feel more comfortable working out, they can also make sure you are performing the movements correctly and don’t injure yourself.

How to Start Working Out

A group of people jogging
Ground Picture/Shutterstock.com

With the right approach, working out regularly can be enjoyable and effective. Here are some tips to help you get started on your fitness journey.

Set Realistic Goals

Think about why you want to start working out and use that information to set goals that will help you stay motivated throughout your journey. Stick to goals that focus on how you feel instead of how you look. At the end of every week, take inventory of how you feel and use that to help you keep track of your progress.

Workout Log Book & Fitness Journal

Keep track of your progress.

Start Slow

Jumping into an intense workout plan will leave you tired, sore, and burnt out. Don’t try to do too much too soon. Begin with light workouts and gradually increase the intensity and duration over time. You’ll be amazed at what your body can do, but you need to give your muscles and lungs time to adjust to this new routine.

Find Something You Enjoy

The most important factor in a consistent workout routine is finding movement that you actually enjoy. Exercise should be fun! There is at least one form of exercise out there that you will enjoy once you try it out.

Doing something you enjoy also leads to increased motivation, consistency, and the likelihood of sticking to your routine. This in turn will lead to better physical and mental health benefits as you move your body every day.

Get Proper Gear

We totally understand not wanting to drop hundreds of dollars on activewear and sneakers when you’re just beginning a workout routine. That being said, having the correct clothing and gear is very important for working out.

Wearing proper clothing will help you be more comfortable, increase your range of motion, and wick away sweat while you’re exercising. High-quality, sturdy shoes are also essential for preventing injuries while working out. Other gear that you might need will depend on what type of workout you’re doing, so do a little research before trying any new form of exercise to see what the pros recommend.

There’s no need to spend a lot of money on clothes and gear right off the bat, but wearing the right stuff will make a world of difference in how you feel.

Rest and Recover

Rest is important regardless of your fitness level, but it is especially important when you are starting out. You will likely be more sore and tired than usual when you start an exercise routine, and your body will need extra time to recover between sessions.

Pushing yourself too hard can lead to injuries and burnout. It can also make your new routine feel too difficult to continue, increasing the chance that you won’t want to continue. You should dedicate at least one day each week to recovery, although it’s totally fine to rest more than that if you feel like you need it.

AERLANG Massage Gun

Help those sore muscles feel better fast.

Starting a workout routine can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to fitness. But by setting realistic goals, getting the right gear, and choosing activities that you enjoy, you can make fitness a sustainable part of your lifestyle.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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