If you have been inactive for some time, starting to exercise may seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, there are many simple exercise routines for beginners that may help you to improve your health and fitness level. Most low-impact activities can easily be performed at your own pace. This allows you to gradually increase the duration and intensity of each workout as your body adapts to your new routine. Activities such as dancing or tai chi may also be beneficial for your sense of balance and coordination. As your athleticism improves, you may discover that you enjoy your new hobby more than you thought possible. The key to enjoying exercise is to choose activities that you find both comfortable and interesting. 

Getting Started: Focus on Increasing Duration

No matter which mode of exercise you prefer, consistency is key. The American Heart Association (AHA) advises all adults to aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity, five times a week. If you find that thirty minutes is too difficult, perform ten to fifteen minute intervals of activity throughout the day. Gradually increasing the duration of your exercise sessions will build your endurance. It may also allow you to advance to more challenging activities. We’ve come up with some simple, easy exercise routines for beginners that can be made more challenging over time. Consider if these activities might help you get moving:


Of all the physical activities out there, you may find it easiest to stick with walking. The AHA notes that people are more likely to stay committed to a regular walking plan than any other fitness program. Better yet, according to the AHA, walking for just thirty minutes a day, five days a week, may help you to reduce your risk of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and many other illnesses. Once you are comfortably walking for longer periods of time, you can increase the intensity of your routine. You may try to include a stretch of speed walking or choose a path with hills. You can also incorporate brief intervals of jogging into your walks as your strength and endurance improve. You may be surprised to find yourself training for your first 5K race before you know it!

Water Aerobics

Water-based exercise is a great choice for anyone who wants to become more active, while avoiding strain on their joints. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes that water-based exercises have been shown to improve mental health and lift the mood of participants. A number of studies cited by the CDC also found that water aerobics may improve joint health in people with arthritis. Once you feel comfortable with water aerobics, you could consider adding swimming to your regular routine. Or, for an exciting twist, plan a vacation that would allow you to try snorkeling. As you swim laps in the pool, just imagine how you would feel exploring an underwater world full of beautiful, tropical fish and corals.


If you love to bounce to the beat of your favorite tunes, then dance or dance-based aerobics classes might be an excellent fit for you. From salsa to ballet to Zumba, it’s only a matter of time before you find a style that spurs your imagination. If you prefer a slower-paced activity, consider beginner ballet or a yoga-ballet fusion class. Those seeking a higher energy routine might opt for Zumba, salsa, or jazz. Zumba, for example, is a full-body, dance-based workout that blends infectious Latin music and dance with traditional fitness moves. Before you know it, you might even find yourself tapping your toes at work.

Tai Chi

Tai chi is a low-impact, slow-motion form of martial arts that is often described as “meditation in motion.” While practicing tai chi, participants are instructed to breathe deeply and naturally, and focus their attention on moving their body through a series of easy, relaxed movements. The Harvard Women’s Health Watch reports that tai chi may be adapted for all fitness levels, from people in peak physical shape to those recovering from surgery.  After you’ve gotten into the flow of tai chi, you might find you’re interested in branching into other forms of martial arts, such as beginner kung fu or karate.

Take the First Step

Getting started is the hardest part of any new physical activity. But don’t get discouraged too quickly! Make time for a short session of low-impact exercise and gradually increase the duration of your activity when you feel ready.  Most physical activities can be done in a social setting or alone, so you may even choose to start in the comfort of your own home. With time, it’s likely you’ll start to feel more comfortable exercising around others. What’s more, you may soon be ready to start exploring new activities, and discovering new passions. Once you find a physical activity you enjoy, you may find it easier to stay committed and make exercise a part of your everyday life.