How to Do a Beginner Workout at Home

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You don’t have to do long, difficult workouts to lose weight or improve your health. In fact, you can do a short, beginner workout at home and see real improvement in a matter of weeks. And the great news is that most easy workouts for beginners don’t require expensive equipment.

If you’re ready to lose weight, boost your confidence and increase your energy level, use any of these easy exercise programs for beginners to get started. Within just a few days, you should notice improvements. Then as your fitness level improves, use the tips and guidance to add challenges and see greater results.

Before You Begin a Home Workout

Smiling mature woman with hands raised doing yoga

Stígur Már Karlsson /Heimsmyndir / Getty Images

Before you start a beginner workout at home, it’s important to follow a few precautionary measures. As always, you should consult your healthcare provider before starting this or any workout program. And if you have a health condition such as a musculoskeletal injury, a history of heart disease or high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes, you should discuss exercise modifications to stay safe during your workout.

In addition, you may want to enlist the help of friends or family to support you in your journey for improved health. Telling others about your new fitness commitment and asking for help may help you to stay accountable.

And lastly, it’s important to set a goal for your new home workout program. Write out your SMART goal (a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) and post it in a place where you can see it on a regular basis to remind you of your commitment.

How Much Home Exercise Is Needed for Beginners?

When you are just starting out, setting a realistic time goal for your program is key. You don’t need to sweat for hours every day to gain benefits. In fact, just a few minutes each day can make a real difference in the way you look and feel.

David Chesworth, B.S., ACSM is the Fitness Director and a Wellness Coach at Hilton Head Health, a weight loss and wellness retreat located in South Carolina. He works with clients of all levels to develop healthy exercise habits. He says that it is often smart to “do less than you think you need.”

While this might seem like an odd recommendation coming from an exercise trainer, he explains that it is not uncommon for our mental readiness to be in a different place than our physical readiness for exercise.

For example, if you haven’t exercised in many years, your brain might be excited and eager to get fit with long metabolism-boosting workouts. But your body may need a slower pace.

“Do whatever you can do to get started,” Chesworth says, noting that even a five-minute workout has benefits. “Just a few minutes of activity helps to build the right mindset. Completing five minutes of exercise regularly can help you to build the confidence to complete an additional five minutes and your commitment builds from there.”

Elizabeth Huggins, M.E.S.S., RDN, LD, CDE agrees. Huggins is a registered dietitian at Hilton Head Health and offers a creative approach for doing a beginner workout at home. “You can simply move your body for the duration of two or three of your favorite songs,” she says. Eventually, you can add to your playlist to lengthen the workout and mix up the songs to keep it interesting.

Basic Beginner Workout to Do at Home #1

Walking is one of the best forms of exercise that many new exercisers might enjoy. But what if the weather doesn’t allow for your stroll? Or what if you need to be home to care for a child or another loved one? Simple everyday activities can turn into a beginner home workout.

Chesworth highlights three everyday movements that can help you to burn a few extra calories, build muscular strength, balance, and flexibility if you do multiple repetitions for just a few minutes.

3 Beginner Exercises to Do at Home

Each of these activities can be completed several times individually for a quick five-minute workout.

Getting in and out of a chair. The simple act of sitting down in a chair and standing up requires you to tighten your tummy, stabilize your hips, and use your strong leg muscles. Getting into and out of a chair several times can be a great exercise for a beginner to do at home. The movement mimics a squat—a basic bodyweight exercise that is a foundational move in many gym workouts.

Walking up and down the stairs. A set of stairs can be a challenging home workout tool. As you walk up the stairs, you’ll build strength in the upper and lower leg, and in the glutes (the muscles in your backside). You’ll also notice that your heart rate increases and you might breathe heavier as you climb the stairs. Your walk down the stairs requires balance and knee stability. Remember to use the handrail as needed when you are first starting out.

Getting up and down from the floor. Got a yoga mat or an area of soft carpet where you can comfortably sit down on the ground? The simple act of sitting down on the floor and then standing up again, requires full body strength, flexibility, and coordination. Activities like these help you to build the skills needed for more complex activities that you might do in a gym or in an exercise class.

Beginner Circuit Workout

Once you get comfortable with each individual movement, Chesworth suggests combining them into a home circuit workout. Do each activity 1-5 times before moving on to the next exercise. Then repeat the series two to five times for a complete workout.

Beginner Workout to Do at Home #2

If you feel like you don’t have enough time to do a workout at home, consider multitasking to burn calories and complete chores at the same time. Huggins says that she uses housework to get a few toning exercises completed each day.

“Sweeping my porch is a great way to exercise the muscles in my midsection,” she says. “I can sweep away leaves and tone my core at the same time.”

The rotational movement involved in reaching the broom and sweeping it across your body works the oblique abdominal muscles that run along the sides of your midsection. And lifting the broom to carry it back to the starting point helps to build the rectus abdominus that flexes the torso and the transverse abdominus that helps to hold your torso steady.

And there are many household chores that can turn into a quick workout. Standing on your toes to dust a high shelf can help to strengthen the lower leg. Or add a lunge movement to your vacuuming routine to tighten and tone the hips and thighs.

Use this guide to see turn your housework into a beginner workout for home.

More Beginner Workouts to Do at Home

No fancy or expensive equipment is required to exercise at home. When you’re ready to try new workouts, try one of these ideas to boost your metabolism and increase your level of fitness.

The Super Fun Workout to Do on Your Couch. Hollywood trainer-to-the-stars Craig Ramsay designed this workout for beginners just like you. Do it tonight in your living room while you watch your favorite show.

The 30-Minute Celebrity Workout for Beginners. Want to workout like a movie star? Celebrity trainer JR Allen designed this 30-minute workout for you to do at home. Variations are offered so beginning exercisers don’t feel overwhelmed.

Burn 300 Calories While You Watch TV. Now you don’t have to miss your favorite show to work out. You can exercise while you watch TV! It’s easy and fun. Do this simple workout during your favorite one-hour show to burn calories, lose weight and get in shape.

5-Minute Exercise Routines to Lose Weight. No time to exercise? No problem! These exercise sessions take just five minutes. Two expert trainers provide detailed instructions to burn calories and blast fat. Each trainer also provides tips to help beginners exercise with more confidence and see greater results.

3 Home Workouts to Tighten and Tone Your Body. When you’re ready to tighten your arms, tone your tummy and strengthen your legs, do these workouts at home in your living room. Each workout is designed for beginners. And you don’t need expensive equipment to complete them.

2 Easy Exercise Plans for Faster Weight Loss. Need a fast path to weight loss? These two exercise plans can help. The first is a workout plan for beginners who don’t exercise at all. Use it to get started. Then when you’re ready for more challenge, use the second workout plan to put your weight loss plan into hyperdrive. 

What’s Next After Beginner Home Workouts?

After you’ve been consistent with your home exercise program, you might become inspired to branch out and try new workout opportunities. There are a few options to consider.

You can buy home workout equipment to add variety to your program. Basic exercise gadgets can provide new workout opportunities. Chesworth says that resistance bands are a good option because they are easy to use and inexpensive. Bands with handles tend to be easier to manage. He also suggests that you may want to invest in a mat, dumbbells, or a stretching strap.

Online workouts are another option. Many different websites offer online classes and even one-on-one training for beginner home exercisers.

But if you’re getting tired of exercising at home, you might want to consider joining a gym. Chesworth mentions that many people benefit from the social aspect of group exercise classes.

Lastly, you might to visit a healthy living resort to build the base for a long-term wellness program. Destinations like Hilton Head Health, Duke University, Pritikin Longevity Center and many other locations have programs designed for people of all ages and fitness levels. An investment in one of these comprehensive programs can help you to learn important skills that you’ll use to reach and maintain a healthy strong body.

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