You don’t need sweaty, hard exercise sessions to gain the benefits of physical activity. In fact, easy workouts for beginners are better choices when you’re just starting out. And you can do them at home or outdoors, whichever is better or more convenient for you.
Workouts for beginners—especially those who have failed to maintain an exercise program—are specifically designed to build confidence and create life-long habits for well-being. Beginning-level exercise can also help you lose weight and get healthy.
Health Benefits of Easy Workouts
Easy exercise sessions are the building blocks of a beginner fitness program. They will help you create habits that can lead to significant weight loss and lifelong weight management.
These 10 workouts are considered “easy” because they don’t require a lot of fancy gym equipment, their intensity can be adjusted to match your physical activity level, and some can be done from a chair or bed if you have trouble standing for long periods of time. That makes them great for beginners.
Because they are easy, does this mean that they’re not worth doing? Not at all. Engaging in any type of exercise offers immediate benefits, which include getting your brain to work better and improved mood, as well as long-term effects, such as a reduced risk of disease.1
Losing Weight With Easy Workouts
If you are completely new to exercise, low-intensity activity sessions can help you burn more calories. As long as you don’t compensate for this extra physical activity by consuming more calories, you may lose some weight.
If weight loss is your goal, combining diet with exercise can help. This might involve eating lean protein, fruit, and veggies. Watching your portion sizes is important too. But what does the research say about easy exercise and weight loss?
Studies of low-intensity exercise show that the body burns fat when study participants did easy exercise.2 Another study evaluated the effect of easy workouts on cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that is associated with abdominal weight gain when levels inside the body stay elevated for long periods of time. Study authors found that low-intensity exercise was effective at reducing circulating cortisol levels.3
Benefits of Working Out
While there has been quite a bit of media attention paid to high-intensity workouts, exercise remains a core component of fitness programs for many different populations. This includes people with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or cardiovascular disease.5
Easy At-Home Workouts
Set a short-term goal to complete three workouts during your first week, then add workout days gradually until you are doing some form of activity on most days of the week.
The type of exercise you choose to do is less important than the consistency of your program. But if you are short on ideas, here are five simple workouts to get you started.
You don’t need any special gym equipment to burn calories and build stronger muscles. Take 10 to 15 minutes to try doing five incline push-ups (against a surface that allows your body to be at an incline, like a bathroom sink), five chair squats, and five walking lunges (or a set of stationary lunges holding on to a countertop for support). Repeat the sequence two to three times.
If you are not yet comfortable standing for long periods of time, grab a sturdy chair and complete 10 to 15 minutes of movement with a seated workout several times each week.
Put on some music and dance for 15 to 30 minutes. No choreography is necessary; the important thing is to move to the music.
If you want to avoid the gym, exercise at home. It’s easy to do with online workouts. Many of them are free and most offer easy workouts for beginners. Plus you can enjoy the benefit of working out in the privacy of your own living room.
If dancing isn’t your cup of tea, try shadowboxing at home. No equipment is required for this workout and it helps to decrease stress as well.
Take 10 minutes out of your day and walk up and down a flight of steps. If you don’t have a staircase available, use a step or platform.
Easy Outdoor Workouts
Exercising outside provides extra perks. There are stress-relieving benefits to breathing fresh air and enjoying your local park, pool, or nature preserve.
If your joints don’t feel good when you walk for long periods of time, try pool running, or aqua jogging. Many public pools provide the blue belt you need to keep your upper body afloat. Once you’re in the water you simply walk without letting your feet touch the bottom of the pool. No belt? Just walk in the water with your feet on the pool floor.
Dust off your bike and hop aboard. Take a leisurely spin around the neighborhood or better yet, find a continuous path that allows you to keep pedaling for 20 to 30 minutes or so without stopping for lights and traffic.
Enjoy a 30-minute walking workout and count it as your daily exercise. Walk slowly for five minutes, pick up your pace for 20 minutes, then cool down and walk slowly again for five minutes
Gardening or Yard Work
If you like to spend time in your yard, this is a great way to work your muscles and burn calories. Digging, weeding, raking, and mowing are all good sources of activity.
A Word From Verywell
Remember, when you’re a beginner, the point is simply to get moving, establish a routine, and build confidence. If you want to increase your enjoyment and boost the health benefits, add at least five minutes of easy stretch exercises at the end of your session.