How to Do a Beginner Workout at Home

A Step-by-Step Guide to Lose Weight and Boost Your Health

Smiling mature woman with hands raised doing yoga
Stígur Már Karlsson /Heimsmyndir / Getty Images

You don't have to do long, difficult workouts to lose weight or improve your health. In fact, short, beginner workouts at home can produce real improvements in just a matter of weeks. Most easy workouts for beginners don't require expensive equipment, so there's no reason not to get started.

If you're ready to lose weight, boost your confidence and increase your energy levels, begin with any of these easy workouts for beginners. Within just a few days, you should notice a change in your fitness level. As you improve, use these tips to challenge yourself and achieve 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. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting this or any other workout program. And if you have a health condition, such as an injury, a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes, you should discuss exercise modifications to stay safe during your workout.

Enlist the help of friends or family to support you in your journey to better health. Telling others about your new fitness plan may help you to stay accountable.

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). Post it in a place where you will see it on a regular basis as a constant reminder of your commitment.

How Much Home Exercise Is Needed for Beginners?

When you are just starting out, setting a realistic time goal for exercise 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, you might be eager to get fit. This could drive you to embark on long, grueling workouts. Unfortunately, your body may need to start at 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 each day 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 who offers a creative approach for beginner workouts 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 for beginners to lose weight at home. However, finding enough time, along with the right location to go for a walk doesn't always pan out. What if the weather isn't cooperating? Or, what if you need to be home at a certain time to care for a child or another loved one? Luckily, simple, everyday activities can turn into an at home workout for beginners in no time.

Chesworth highlights three everyday movements that will burn a few extra calories, build muscular strength, balance, and improve your flexibility. Try doing multiple repetitions within a short time frame.

3 Beginner Exercises to Do at Home

For a quick five-minute workout, repeat these individual activities several times.

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 engage your leg muscles. Getting into and out of a chair repeatedly can be a great beginner exercise to do at home. This movement mimics a squat, which is a fundamental body-weight exercise in more advanced gym workouts.

Walking up and down the stairs. A set of stairs can easily transform into a home workout challenge. Making your way up the stairs builds strength in your upper and lower legs. It's also a good workout for your glutes (the muscles in your backside). Your heart rate increases when doing the stairs, causing you to breathe heavier as you climb. This makes for a great cardio workout as well. While going up the stairs can be difficult, walking down the stairs also requires balance and knee stability. Use the handrail as needed, especially when you are first starting out.

Getting up and down from the floor. Got a yoga mat or an area of soft carpet to 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. Functional movements like this will help you build the skills needed for more complex activities in a gym or an exercise class.

Beginner Circuit Workout

Once you get comfortable with each movement, Chesworth suggests combining all three into a home circuit workout. Do each activity 1-5 times before moving on to the next exercise. Repeat the series two to five times in a row for a complete workout that you can do from the comfort of your home.

Beginner Workout to Do at Home #2

If you don't have enough time to work out at home, consider multitasking to burn calories while completing chores at the same time. Huggins says that she uses housework sneak in a few toning exercises 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 for the broom and sweeping it across your body works the oblique abdominal muscles along the sides of your midsection. Lifting the broom back to the starting point builds the rectus abdominus (which flexes the torso) and the transverse abdominus (which holds 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 helps strengthen your calves. Adding a lunge movement to your vacuuming routine will tighten and tone your hips and thighs.

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

More Beginner Workouts to Do at Home

You don't need fancy or expensive equipment to exercise at home. When you're ready to try new workouts, use one of these ideas to boost your metabolism and increase fitness level.

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 once the kids go to bed.

The 30-Minute Celebrity Workout for Beginners. Want to work out like a movie star? Celebrity trainer, JR Allen, designed this 30-minute at-home workout. Variations are offered to keep beginning exercisers from becoming overwhelmed.

Burn 300 Calories While You Watch TV. Now you don't have to miss out on your favorite show to get fit. Exercise while you watch TV with this simple workout. Burn calories, lose weight and build muscle during an hour-long episode!

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 away body fat. Each trainer offers beginner tips to help you see greater results and exercise with confidence.

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 specifically for beginners. No equipment required!

2 Easy Exercise Plans for Faster Weight Loss. Looking for a speedy route to weight loss? These two exercise plans can help. The first workout plan is designed for beginners who don't exercise at all. Use this to get started. When you're ready for a challenge, the second workout plan will put your weight loss plan into hyper-drive. 

What's Next After Beginner Home Workouts?

Once you've been consistent with your home exercise program, you may be inspired to branch out and try new fitness programs. Here are a few options to consider.

Buy home exercise equipment to add variety to your current program. Even the most basic fitness gadgets can provide a new workout experience. Chesworth says resistance bands are a good option because they are easy to use and inexpensive. Go for bands with handles, which tend to be easier to manage. He also suggests investing in a mat, dumbbells, or a stretching strap to mix things up and avoid getting stuck in a rut.

Online workouts are another great option. Many different websites offer online classes and even one-on-one training for beginners.

If you get tired of exercising at home, consider joining a gym. Chesworth notes that many people benefit from the social aspect of group exercise classes. The accountability and support from a group can vital for sticking with an exercise program long term.

Lastly, you might to visit a healthy living resort to build on your base for lasting health and wellness. Destinations like Hilton Head Health, Duke University and the Pritikin Longevity Center 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 and find the motivation to maintain a healthy, strong body for a lifetime.

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