But where do you start? First, there’s no rule to how hard or how long you have to workout. Although it is recommended you get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week (or a combination of the two). The key to building an exercise and fitness program is to start moving.
Here are a few quick, easy, no-equipment-needed exercises that will help you transition from crashing on the couch at the end of the day to a fitness warrior that has the energy to take on the life you’ve always wanted.
Exercise 1: Interval Walking
Walking is one of the best ways to start a fitness journey. A 30-minute brisk walk burns about 150 calories! Of course, the more you walk and the quicker your pace, the more calories you’ll burn. Walking 30-minutes every day also helps increase your cardio fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, improve muscle tone and endurance. Some tips on how to reap the most benefits: keep your head up, your back straight and your stomach muscles or core tight while you walk. To increase the difficulty level as your fitness level increases, try walking for 1-2 minutes, then switch to a light jog or brisk walk for 30-60 seconds. Keep alternating until you complete 3-5 circuits.
Exercise 2: Bodyweight Squats
Squats are a two-for-one exercise because they are both an aerobic and resistance-training exercise. These will help you build your strength and endurance overall, as well as work your major muscle groups: quads, glutes, hamstrings, and core. To do a proper bodyweight squat, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart then sit into a squat position. Your goal is to eventually squat low enough that your thighs reach a parallel position. Make sure you keep proper form though to avoid injury. That means you need to keep your heels and toes on the ground, your chest up and your shoulders back. Hold the squat for a second, then stand back up, pushing your weight into your heels. Try doing 3 sets of 25 reps to start.
Exercise 3: Standard Wall Pushups
Pushups are great for building upper body strength. They work the triceps, pectoral muscles, and shoulders. They can also strengthen the lower back and core by engaging (pulling in) the abdominal muscles. But if you’re not quite ready floor pushups, wall pushups are the place to start. To do a wall push up, stand about 2 feet from the wall with your feet and legs together, and your arms straight out in front of you. Place your palms on the wall about shoulder-height and shoulder-width apart.
If you feel like you’re reaching too far, move closer to the wall. Bend your elbows and lean your body towards the wall until your nose almost it. Pay attention to your form to get the most benefit. Your back should be straight and your core tight. Push back to starting positing and repeat. Aim for doing 3 sets of 20 to start, adding more sets in as your fitness increases. Or change it up by moving your hands closer together toward the midline of your body. This will place more emphasis on your triceps than your chest.
Exercise 4: Planks
Your core is more than your abs. It actually includes your entire torso. Increasing your core strength boosts your fitness overall. It helps decrease lower back pain, improve stability – making it easier to do everyday activities, improve your posture – making you look great, and can actually reduce your risk of injury. A great beginner core exercise is a plank. To do a plank, get on the floor in a push-up position, but keep your forearms on the ground. Hold your body up as long as you can. It’s okay if you can only do 10 seconds! Take a break and try again. Track your progress for a month, adding a little more time every day. You’ll be amazed at what your body can accomplish by consistently building your endurance over time. Make a goal of holding your plank for two minutes.
Exercise 5: Shadowboxing
Shadowboxing if a fun way to burn calories and get it a good cardio workout. To start a shadowbox workout, get into a boxing stance, then punch slowly for 1 minute. Focus on flexing your arm muscles and making your movements as deliberate as possible. As you feel more confident with the motion, pick up your speed, switching which leg you lead with halfway through. Once you’ve done your minute warmup, set the timer for 3 minutes and do as many air punches as you can. Keep your knees bent and your core centered so you don’t lose your balance.
Best Exercise Tip for Beginners
Remember the key to building fitness is to start slow and add more as you get stronger over time. A lot of beginners start out too aggressively thinking they should be able to perform at a certain level of fitness, only to get discouraged and give up when they become tired, sore or injured. Get into a routine, develop new habits, and track how it changes your body and fitness levels over time. Check out more great exercise ideas here.