Starting Exercise from Scratch: A Guide for the Out of Shape

Hello there! If you’re feeling out of shape and looking to start exercising, you’ve come to the right place. Embarking on a fitness journey can be daunting, but with the right approach, you’ll be on your way to a healthier and more active lifestyle in no time.

When you’re out of shape, it’s important to ease into exercise and acknowledge your body’s limitations. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with beginner workout routines and fitness tips that will help you get back to exercise and start your fitness journey. Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways:

  • Opt for low-impact, slow workouts to understand your body’s limitations.
  • Find enjoyable activities and consider working out with a buddy for accountability and support.
  • Beginner-friendly activities like walking, yoga, and swimming are great options.
  • Start with small steps and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.
  • Listen to your body, set realistic goals, and stay consistent on your fitness journey.

Walking: A Simple and Effective Way to Get Started

Walking is a great exercise for beginners looking to kickstart their fitness journey. It is low-impact, easy to incorporate into your daily routine, and offers numerous benefits for your physical and mental well-being.

Starting a walking routine is simple. You can begin by adding just a few extra minutes of walking to your day and gradually increasing the duration as your fitness level improves. It’s important to listen to your body and avoid pushing yourself too hard, especially if you’re just starting out.

Walking outdoors in nature can have additional mental health benefits. Research shows that spending time in nature reduces stress, improves mood, and enhances overall well-being. So, take the opportunity to get some fresh air and connect with the natural world while walking.

You can make walking a regular part of your routine in various ways. You can explore different routes around your neighborhood, walk to work if feasible, or invite a friend to join you for a refreshing hike. Having a walking companion not only adds enjoyment to your exercise but also provides accountability and motivation.

Walking is an excellent beginner exercise that helps you improve your fitness level while being gentle on your joints and muscles. Incorporate it into your daily routine, explore new environments, and enjoy the many benefits it brings!

Bodyweight Exercises: Strength Training for Beginners

To build strength and improve overall fitness, incorporating bodyweight exercises into your workout routine is a great choice. These exercises require no special equipment and can be done anywhere, making them accessible for beginners.

Here are a few bodyweight exercises that are perfect for those starting their strength training journey:

  • Crunches: This exercise targets your abdominal muscles, helping you develop a stronger core. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Place your hands behind your head and lift your shoulders off the ground, engaging your core muscles. Lower back down slowly and repeat.
  • Wall-sits: Wall-sits are a great way to work your lower body, specifically your quadriceps and glutes. Stand with your back against a wall and slide down until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold this position for as long as you can, keeping your core engaged and your back pressed against the wall.
  • Push-ups: Push-ups are a classic bodyweight exercise that targets your chest, shoulders, and triceps. Start in a high plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart. Lower your body down until your chest almost touches the ground, then push back up to the starting position. If this is too challenging, you can modify by performing push-ups on your knees.

Remember to start with a weight and difficulty level that feels comfortable for you, gradually increasing as you get stronger. Form is key, so focus on maintaining proper technique throughout each exercise.

Stay tuned for the next section, where we’ll explore another beginner-friendly workout option: Spin Class.

bodyweight exercises

Spin Class: A Beginner-Friendly Cardio Workout

When it comes to cardio workouts, spin classes are an excellent choice for beginners. Whether you’re new to fitness or looking for a low-impact option, indoor cycling provides a fun and modifiable workout that can help you improve endurance and burn calories.

One of the reasons why spin classes are ideal for beginners is that they offer a low-impact exercise option. Unlike activities that put stress on your joints, such as running or high-impact aerobics, indoor cycling provides a smooth ride that minimizes the risk of injury. This makes spin class a suitable choice for individuals with joint issues or those looking for a gentler workout.

The dimly lit rooms in spin studios create a comfortable and welcoming environment for beginners. Being in a class setting allows you to go at your own pace without feeling self-conscious. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or completely new to indoor cycling, spin classes cater to riders of all fitness levels.

Another advantage of spin classes for beginners is the supportive community. You’ll find that everyone in the class, including the instructor, is there to encourage and motivate each other. The camaraderie can make the experience more enjoyable and help you form new friendships with like-minded individuals who share similar goals.

“Indoor cycling offers a beginner-friendly workout that combines cardiovascular exercise with a sense of community and support. Spin classes are a great way to start your fitness journey.”

So, if you’re looking for a cardio workout that is suitable for beginners, consider giving spin classes a try. Not only will you improve your cardiovascular fitness, but you’ll also enjoy the many benefits of indoor cycling in a friendly and supportive environment.

Benefits of Spin Class for Beginners
Low-impact exercise Reduces the risk of joint strain and injury
Modifiable workout Allows you to adjust the resistance and intensity to match your fitness level
Comfortable environment Dimly lit rooms create a relaxed and non-intimidating atmosphere
Supportive community Encouragement and motivation from instructors and fellow riders
Improved endurance Regular spin classes help build cardiovascular fitness and stamina
Calorie burning A high-intensity spin class can help you burn a significant amount of calories

Yoga: Improving Flexibility and Mental Well-being

Yoga is a versatile exercise that offers a multitude of benefits. Not only does it improve flexibility, but it also provides significant mental health benefits. Whether you’re a beginner or have been practicing for years, yoga can be easily adapted to suit your fitness level and needs.

One of the great advantages of yoga is its flexibility in catering to individual capabilities. Whether you’re looking for a gentle warm-up or an intense workout, there are beginner yoga poses and advanced variations to suit everyone. As a beginner, starting with basic poses allows you to gradually build strength and flexibility while gaining confidence in your practice.

When incorporating yoga into your exercise routine, it can serve as an excellent warm-up or cool-down before or after other workouts. Its gentle stretches and flowing movements prepare your body for more intense activity or aid in post-workout recovery. The combination of physical movement with deep breathing and mindfulness creates a holistic experience that connects your body and mind.

Aside from its physical benefits, yoga offers numerous mental health benefits. Regular practice can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, improving overall well-being. Studies have shown that engaging in yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation and reducing the body’s stress response. It can also help improve sleep quality and boost self-esteem.

If you’re new to yoga, there are various resources available to help you get started. Online tutorials and classes offer convenience and accessibility, allowing you to practice in the comfort of your own home. Local yoga studios provide a welcoming environment where you can learn from experienced instructors and connect with like-minded individuals.

By incorporating yoga into your fitness routine, you can improve your flexibility, enhance your mental well-being, and experience a greater sense of calm and peace.

beginner yoga poses

Flexibility Exercises in Yoga Benefits
Forward Fold (Uttanasana) Stretches the hamstrings, calves, and hips; relieves stress
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) Lengthens the spine, stretches the back and hamstrings, strengthens the arms and shoulders; energizes the body
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) Opens the chest and shoulders, strengthens the arms and back; improves posture
Tree Pose (Vrksasana) Improves balance and stability, stretches the thighs; promotes mental focus
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana) Stretches the chest, neck, and spine; calms the mind

Swimming: Low-Impact Exercise for All Fitness Levels

Swimming is a fun and effective form of exercise that is suitable for beginners and experienced individuals alike. Whether you visit a community pool, gym, or any body of water, incorporating swimming into your routine a few times a week can help improve your fitness level and boost mental health.

Swimming offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Low-impact workout: Swimming is gentle on the joints, making it an ideal exercise for individuals with joint pain or injuries.
  • Full-body workout: It engages multiple muscle groups, providing a comprehensive workout for your arms, legs, core, and cardiovascular system.
  • Increased heart rate: Swimming increases your heart rate, helping to improve cardiovascular endurance and stamina.
  • Improved flexibility: The resistance of the water allows for increased flexibility and range of motion.
  • Reduced stress: Swimming has a calming effect and can help alleviate stress and anxiety.

To get started with swimming, you don’t need to be an expert swimmer. There are beginner-friendly swimming exercises and techniques that you can incorporate into your routine:

  1. Freestyle stroke: This is the most common swimming stroke. It involves alternating arm movements while kicking your legs. Start slowly and gradually increase your speed and distance.
  2. Backstroke: Lie on your back and perform a backward arm stroke while kicking your legs. This stroke is a great alternative if you prefer not to submerge your head in water.
  3. Breaststroke: This stroke combines arm and leg movements in a synchronized manner. It is a great option for beginners as it allows for easier breathing.
  4. Flutter kick: Practice kicking your legs while holding onto the pool’s edge or using a kickboard for support.
Swimming Tips for Beginners Swimming Technique
Start with shorter swimming sessions and gradually increase the duration as your stamina improves. Focus on maintaining a streamlined body position in the water, with your head, hips, and feet aligned.
Warm up before swimming by performing some dynamic stretches and activate your upper body and core muscles. Practice rhythmic breathing by inhaling through your mouth and exhaling through your nose or mouth underwater.
Invest in a good pair of goggles to protect your eyes and enhance visibility underwater. Use your arms, shoulders, and back muscles to propel yourself forward, while keeping your legs relaxed and kicking from your hips.

Whether you choose to swim laps, participate in water aerobics, or simply enjoy floating in the water, swimming can be a refreshing and fulfilling exercise experience. It’s important to note that while swimming is a low-impact workout, it’s still important to listen to your body and practice proper technique to prevent any potential injuries.


Starting an exercise program when you’re out of shape may feel overwhelming, but remember to take it slow and listen to your body. The key is to set realistic goals and build a balanced weekly routine. Consistency, patience, and the right approach will help you embark on a fitness journey and make exercising a part of your daily life.

When starting, be sure to warm up and cool down before and after workouts to prevent injury. Stay hydrated and fuel your body with a balanced diet to support your exercise program. It’s important to choose exercises that you enjoy so that you stay motivated. Consider finding a workout buddy for accountability and extra motivation.

With the convenience of exercise videos and apps, you can easily find guided workouts that suit your fitness level and preferences. Whether you’re starting with walking, bodyweight exercises, spin classes, yoga, or swimming, there are plenty of options for building a workout routine that works for you. Remember, the most important thing is to start and stay consistent. Your fitness journey begins with the first step!


How do I start exercising when I’m out of shape?

It’s important to opt for low-impact, slow workouts to understand your body’s limitations. Find enjoyable activities and consider working out with a buddy for accountability and support.

What are some beginner-friendly activities?

Walking, yoga, and swimming are great options that can be easily modified to suit your needs.

How can I incorporate walking into my routine?

Start by incorporating a few extra minutes of walking into your day and gradually increase the amount of time each day. Walking outdoors in nature can also have mental health benefits.

What are some bodyweight exercises for beginners?

Crunches, wall-sits, and push-ups are excellent bodyweight exercises that can be done anywhere without any special equipment.

Why are spin classes a great option for beginners?

Spin classes offer a low-impact and modifiable workout. The dimly lit rooms in spin studios provide a comfortable environment where you can go at your own pace without feeling self-conscious. The supportive community of the class can also make the experience more enjoyable and help you form new friendships.

How can yoga benefit beginners?

Yoga improves flexibility and provides mental health benefits. It can be easily modified to match your fitness level and can be a great warm-up or cool-down before or after other workouts.

What are the benefits of swimming for beginners?

Swimming is a fun and effective form of exercise that increases your heart rate without straining your joints and provides a full-body workout. It is suitable for beginners and experienced individuals alike.

What should I keep in mind when starting an exercise program as a beginner?

Set realistic goals, follow a balanced weekly routine, warm up and cool down to prevent injury, stay hydrated, eat a balanced diet, do exercises you enjoy, buddy up for motivation, and use exercise videos or apps for convenience. With patience, consistency, and the right approach, you can embark on a fitness journey and make exercising a part of your daily life.

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