5 Cardio Workouts for Beginners

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When you start working out, it can be overwhelming. If you haven’t done any form of exercise since PE class, you might feel scared or insecure. Where do I go? What do I do? Well, one solution is to try a class, maybe some dance cardio. After all, it is easier for you to stick with a routine if you’re accountable to other people.

However, if you’re picturing cardio as boot camp—high energy, high impact, high amounts of sweat—even that can be too overwhelming if you’re a true-blue beginner. It doesn’t have to be, though. There are several options for low impact cardio that are suited to beginners and that you can adjust to your fitness level. (Remember: Always change your workouts, so your body doesn’t get too comfortable, so you’re always pushing yourself.)

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#1. Hiking

This is one of my favorites. I do a variety of workouts, but I love nothing more than prowling through my local woods like a happy wolf. Not only do I feel at one with nature, but I feel unembarrassed when I do something embarrassing, like the time my foot caught a root, and I hit the ground like a spring-loaded hinge. The different terrain means that my body has to adjust constantly, so I never do the same workout twice.

#2. Rowing

It may seem too easy—you’re exercising while sitting down—but you can really work up a sweat on a rowing machine. You don’t even need to spend that much time on one to get a killer workout. In fact, you may exhaust yourself, so break up your time on the rower with other exercises.

#3. Resistance work

Grab yourself a set of resistance bands and use your body weight to work it out. If you’re unconvinced that just your weight is enough, remember how you feel when you’re doing planks. You don’t even need to do individual exercises because you can just add resistance bands to the body weight moves you’re doing already like lunges.

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#4. Biking

If you’re not ready to try a spinning class, jump on a real bike instead. You can stick to flat terrain to begin and then find some hills once that gets too easy.

#5. Yoga

This is another easily enhanced way to exercise. You can start with beginner’s moves to build your strength and get more flexible, but you can also switch to intermediate or advanced poses once you get the hang of it. There are also cardio-heavy practices if you decide to ramp it up.