A woman working out with two small weights

Wonderful workouts: A guide to getting active for beginners

We all know that exercising regularly is important. However, how many of us actually put in the time and effort? Some of us do and some of us don’t, but there is no doubt most of us could improve our fitness level and become healthier.

How much exercise does the average person need?

According to the Harvard School of Public Health:

  • Children should get at least one hour of physical activity daily. Activities should be age-appropriate and be a combination of aerobic exercise and muscle- and bone-strengthening activities.
  • Adults should get a minimum of 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise per week. They should also engage in strength training exercise at least twice per week.

Always consult your doctor before beginning any workout program. Keep in mind that your ability to exercise may be impacted by your current health and medical conditions.

Fitness basics

There are three main types of fitness training:

  1. Strength and resistance training: These exercises and routines improve muscle and bone strength. You use a combination of free weights and exercise machines for your routine. 
  2. Cardiovascular training: These exercises help you improve your physical endurance, stamina and cardiovascular health. Programs involve running, walking, cycling and other aerobic exercises.
  3. Flexibility training: These exercises help improve your range of motion and joint health. They can also improve your core strength, balance and coordination.

Workouts you should try at least once

Whether you are new to exercise, looking to change up your current routine or want to get more active, the following workouts are worth trying out:

Weight training

Weight training can be intimidating. There is a lot to learn, but it can also provide you with the results you are looking for. There is no shortage of free weight programs to try and countless ways to customize them to meet your specific health and wellness goals. Consider talking with a personal trainer at your local gym to get you set up with a consultation and fitness assessment.

Hot yoga

Hot yoga continues to increase in popularity because of its many health benefits, including improved flexibility and detoxification from the heavy sweating. The major difference between traditional yoga and hot yoga is the temperature, as the room is heated to about 37°C for hot yoga. If you are a beginner, try traditional yoga first. The best thing about yoga is that you can do it at your own speed and adjust the poses to meet your current physical limitations. With practice, yoga can help you overcome these limitations.

High-intensity interval training

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an effective workout for burning fat. Rather than spending hours on a treadmill doing low-impact cardio, HIIT involves working through a series of exercises quickly (with or without weights), making it the perfect option for people who have limited time to work out.

It is also more effective than the traditional cardio workout. According to Bodybuilding.com, "a study at Laval University found that HIIT cardio helped trainees lose nine (yes, 9!) times more fat than those who trained the traditional way (moderate speed for 20-60 minutes).”

Circuit training

Circuit training is a workout that involves doing one exercise after another with little or no rest until you finish all the defined workout stations. You then take a brief rest and do the entire circuit again. Typically, you perform the circuit three to six times to complete the workout.

Circuit training is the perfect workout for people who get bored easily or for those who want to keep moving. It adds cardiovascular and endurance elements to a weight training workout.

Aerobic classes

Aerobic classes are the perfect option for people who want to have fun while they exercise. Most classes include a combination of stretching, aerobics and strength training, and they are available in various difficulty levels, making them ideal for beginners and experienced gym-goers.

Kick-boxing or mixed martial arts

Kick-boxing and mixed martial arts-style workout programs continue to grow in popularity. They are one of the best workout programs for getting stronger and fitter, and you even learn a few self-defence moves at the same time.


If you want a real challenge and are looking for something different than a traditional gym workout, CrossFit may be for you. These workouts incorporate elements from almost all other forms of exercise, including HIIT, Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, plyometrics and many others to offer one of the most challenging workouts you can do.

Outdoor training

If the gym is not for you, but you still want to exercise and get in shape, outdoor workouts are a great option. Getting outside and walking, jogging, cycling or even running stairs are all great ways to get in shape. You can even incorporate exercises such as squats, lunges and push-ups to create your very own outdoor circuit or HIIT exercise program.

Regardless of which exercise program you prefer, the important thing is to stay active. Do your best to exercise daily. Create a workout schedule and stick to it. Other ways to include exercise into a busy day are taking the stairs instead of an elevator, walking instead of driving, or parking farther than you normally would and walking to where you’re going. HIIT can be incorporated into any of these!