Exercise is important for so many reasons. It improves brain function, sharpens your memory, strengthens your heart, regulates blood pressure, helps you to lose and maintain your weight, and so many other things. The guidelines from the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services indicate that you should get 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity each week in order to maintain a healthy weight and reap the full health benefits. And if you want to lose weight, you should go for at least 200 minutes, which is more than 3 hours per week of moderate intensity aerobic activity.
There are many reasons to exercise. You may want to lose weight, build muscle, get fit and toned, or just maintain your weight and reap the full health benefits exercising has to offer. But no matter the reason for you wanting to add more exercise to your life, the process of doing so, and being successful at it, is the same.
In this article, I have explained some easy exercises to do at home for beginners. I also explain, in full detail, exactly how to do them. I have even made up a nice routine that my husband and I have decided to do. I also explain, different variations of some exercises to help those that need a different option. I also included tips to help you make moving a new habit in your life.
Add Movement To Your Daily Routine
Adding as much movement to your daily routine will help your body get used to moving more. It can also have many health benefits and add years to your life. Research has proven, people who are more active, are less stressed, liver healthier lives, and have lower medical bills. Even if you make small adjustments, the calories you burn can add up. Here is a list of some things you can do to add more movement to your daily physical activity:
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Walk or bike to your destination.
- Be more active during lunch with co-workers, friends, or family.
- Add a short walk or stretch during your break at work.
- Go dancing with your spouse or friends on the nights you go out.
- Walk to visit friends or co-workers instead of sending an email or text.
- Wear a pedometer every day to remind you to take more steps.
- Park farther away when shopping or dinning out.
- Use a stationary bike or treadmill when watching t.v.
- Walk the dog. If you don’t have one yourself, do it for friend or neighbor.
Before You Get Started
Anytime you start exercising you should discuss it with your physician. It is a good idea to get his or her advice about what kind and how much exercise you can do. The last thing you want to do is hurt yourself while trying to better yourself.
You may want to take the time to make a music playlist, specifically for exercising with music that makes you happy, to help you feel motivated and energized. The last thing to decide is if you want to exercise by yourself, so you can reflect, or would you do better exercising with a friend, so they can help hold you accountable.
Easy Exercises To Do At Home for Beginners
If you are going to start doing these exercises on a regular basis, I suggest you chose 3 days a week to do them on, and take a break on the days in between. This will give your muscles time to rest.
Squats: Squats are considered to be one of the most important exercises, because it engages more muscles than any other move. Starting at the standing position, bend your knees. Keep your knees behind your toes. This protects your knees and back, and it helps you achieve the maximum results. Keep your feet shouldered width apart. Stop half way down. Begin by doing just 3 set of 3 reps (or repetitions). Add a couple of reps, or a set, each time you work out. Until you are doing 3 sets of 10 per workout.AdobeStock_82912398
Planks: You can choose to do planks from your hands or forearms. Either way strengthens your body throughout. Get in a push-up position, your arms should be shouldered width apart. Hug your belly towards your spine to engage your core. Your body should form a straight and balanced line. Make sure it doesn’t drop down or stick up in the air. Planks aren’t effective if you are not in the right position. Hold for 30 seconds, working up to holding for 1 minute and 30 seconds, over time. How fast you work up to it is up to you, but if you haven’t exercised in a while, you should do it slowly. However long it takes, any progress is good. Don’t be to hard on yourself.
Push-ups: Luckily there are different variations of push-ups. If you find them to difficult in the beginning, you can modify them by simply doing them on your knees or on an encline until you build up your strength. Get in a face down prone position, keeping your feet together. Your weight should be on your chest. Position your hands palms-down on the floor, approximately shouldered width apart. They should be next to your shoulders, with your elbows pointed towards your toes. Curl your toes upwards, (towards your head). The balls of your feet should touch the ground. Push yourself up, away from the ground using your arms. At this point, your weight should be supported by your hands and the balls of your feet. When doing push-ups, your chest should come within inches of the ground each time you go down for a rep. Make a straight line from your head to your heels, contract your abdominal muscles to keep your hips from sagging. Repeat lowering and raising at a steady pace. Each pair counts as a single push-up. There are multiple different types of advanced push-ups for when the time comes and you are ready to add more advanced push-ups into your workout. When first starting as a beginner, just do 3 to 5 of them until you build up your strength, working your way up to 20 per workout.
Mountain Climbers: Get into the plank position. Bring your knees-up to your chest, one at a time, as quickly as you can. Make sure to hold your abs in, engaging your core. Also, keep your body aligned straight. As a beginner, do it for 20 or 30 seconds, working up to doing it for 1 minute and 15 seconds per workout
Crunches: They are a lot like sit-ups, but instead of lifting your entire back off the floor, you only lift your upper back. This reduces the injury risks, and targets your abs. Once you get comfortable doing crunches and you are ready to change it up, you can do reverse crunches, bicycle crunches, and other variations of them. Lay down flat on your back on a mat or carpeted surface. Bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor. Your knees and feet should be hip width apart. Cross your arms in front of your chest or behind your head or neck. Lift your shoulder blades off the floor with a smooth controlled motion. Inhale and then exhale as you engage your ab muscles and raise your torso. Lift yourself up just enough to raise your shoulder blades off the floor. Hold that position for 3 seconds. Your lower back, tailbone, and feet should stay on the floor at all times. Lower yourself back down with a slow steady motion. Pause for a moment before you start your next crunch. Start out doing 5 of them per workout. Over time, slowly add a few crunches every time you exercise until you are doing 25 of them at a time.
Lunges: They are easy and effective. They help improve balance, increase your hip flexibility, build muscle size and strength, improve spine health, and enhance your core stability. Start in a standing position. Make sure to stand up straight with your feet hip width apart and flat on the floor. Relax your shoulders. Keep yourself in this position by flexing your abdominal muscles to keep your spine straight and stable. Your hands can be in any position, use them to keep your balance. Keep your head upright, looking straight ahead. Take a big step forward with your right leg. Place your foot on the ground, heel first. Lean forward so that about 70% of your weight is on your front foot. Keep your back and upper body straight. Hold this position. Lower your body until your right knee is at a 90° angle. You need to bend your hips slightly to stay in this position, but keep your back straight. Your right knee should be directly over your right ankle. Push yourself upwards with your right foot. Return your body to the position you started in, standing straight. Make sure your feet are hip width apart. Repeat. Once you have completed a lunge with your right leg, you can switch and do your left leg, and go back and forth between them until you have done the desired amount. When you get good at doing them and want to make it more difficult, you can start doing reverse lunges and side lunges. You can even do a few of both. Start out by doing 5 per leg at each workout and slowly work up to doing 15 on each leg at each workout.
Leg lifts: Leg lifts are some best exercises for your abs and legs. There are a variety of leg lifts you can do. Lay flat on your back with your legs stretched out in front of you, shouldered width apart. Your hands flat down beside you, palms down. If you experience occasional back pain, you can roll up a towel and put it under the arch of your back. Bend your knees and raise your legs. Keep your toes pointed, drawing your abdominal muscles towards your spine. Contract your abs to push your lower back down to the floor, there should be no gap between them. Keep your eyes and face directed at ceiling. Straighten your legs until your feet are pointed at the ceiling. Slowly lower your legs by bringing them as far down as you can while making sure your back is flat against the floor. Your goal is to reach about 1 inch off the floor. Resist letting your feet touch the floor. Make sure to breathe, it is common to freeze up when doing this exercise. Slow down if it is too easy. Start off with 3 sets of 5 and work up to 3 sets of 20. Later on, over time, you can challenge yourself by lifting your straightened legs as you count to 10, slowly, and then lower them slowly, counting to 10.
Bridges: There are several versions of the bridge and different variations for beginners and experts. The move is a good way to work out a number of muscles, including the gluteus maximus, hamstrings, and quadriceps, and it’s also good for stretching the spine and hips. Lay flat on your back. It is performed on the ground, and the shoulders never leave the floor, so it’s a good move for beginners. While on your back, bend your knees to bring your feet in toward your body. Make sure you keep the soles of your feet flat on the ground and your knees shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms down beside your body. While on your back, bend your knees to bring your feet in toward your bum. Make sure you keep the soles of your feet flat on the ground and your knees shoulder-width apart. Lift off the ground. In bridge pose, your feet, shoulders, arms, and hands stay on the ground. Push into the ground equally with these parts to lift the rest of your body off the ground. You want your legs, hips, buttocks, and back to come off the ground and raise toward the ceiling. Lift your chest. This will help stretch out your back fully. At this point, your knees should be bent and your weight evenly distributed between your feet, shoulders, and upper arm area. Hold this position for 3 seconds working up to holding for 20 seconds over time, slowly. When you come back down to a laying position, that was one rep. Then you go back up, hold and come back down. And so on until you have done 10 reps as a beginner, working up to 25 reps per workout.
On the days that you take a break from doing the exercises above, you may want to plan to work your way up to doing 30 minutes of cardio exercise. It is a key component in an exercise plan. It is any movement that gets your heart rate up and increases your blood circulation. It is not only good for weight loss, there is a wide variety of health benefits that you receive from doing regular cardio exercise. Examples of cardio you can do: swimming, biking, stair climber, jumping rope, elliptical,or skiing. And if you want maximum results and benefits, like we do, add intervals into your cardio workout. What I mean by adding intervals is, say you are going for a walk, you would Sprint as fast as you can for 1 minute and walk for 2 minutes, sprint as fast as you can for 1 minutes, walk for 2 minutes, and so on throughout the entire session.
My husband and I have spent the last few years not being active at all, and we are worried it is affecting our health. I decided to come up with a routine, so we may try to make up for our lack of activity. I picked the best exercises to tone myself up and get ourselves back in shape. At first, we will be concentrated on adding movement to our everyday physical activity, and perfecting our form, so that we will be doing the exercises correctly.
We chose to do a 10-minute walk for a worm up, because clinical research suggest if you stretch your muscles before a workout, it can cause damage to your muscles. It is better to stretch when your muscles are warmed up like after you exercise.
Here is what a typical week will look like:
- Monday: 10-minute walk to warm up, jumping jacks, squats, crunches, planks, lunges, push-ups, mountain climbers, leg lifts.
- Tuesday: Walk for 30 minutes, do intervals for the last 15 minutes.
- Wednesday: 10-minute walk to warm up, jumping jacks, squats, crunches, planks, lunges, push-ups, mountain climbers, leg lifts.
- Thursday: Walk for 30 minutes, do intervals for the last 15 minutes.
- Friday: 10-minute walk to warm up, jumping jacks, squats, crunches, planks, lunges, push-ups, mountain climbers, leg lifts.
- Saturday: Off
- Sunday: Off
We are going to start really slow, and just do what we can. Slowly adding time and reps to the routine until we get to our targeted goal. Then we will switch it up. Have fun with it, so you don’t get bored. If this routine is not for you, that’s okay, use the easy exercises to do at home for beginners to make your own routine.
Slowly start adding more movement to your everyday life. It will help you to make moving more of a habit, and that is a good thing. Start out light with the exercises so you don’t injure yourself. Slowly ease into it. We all will get better with time and practice. Make sure you don’t forget to make a great music playlist, it helps! And remember, any movement at all can have health benefits.
If you have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to leave them at the bottom of the post. I also welcome any ideas for a new blog.