Beginner Cardio Workout - 20 Minutes of Basic Cardio for Beginners

This basic cardio workout takes you through a moderate 20-minute routine where you'll alternate between a baseline moderate level and a slightly higher level by changing your settings. 

The idea here is to spend most of your workout time just slightly out of your comfort zone, while pushing your boundaries just a touch to burn more calories and begin building more endurance and strength.  This is a great way to push your limits just enough that you're doing more, but not so much that you feel breathless or uncomfortable.

If you do feel breathless, slow down or take a break and come back when you're ready.  Each workout will give you more strength, endurance, and conditioning so it will get easier.  You just have to be consistent.

This workout is designed to be used with any cardio machine or any activity outside and you'll use this Perceived Exertion chart to match how you feel to the suggested Perceived Exertion levels (learn more about how to monitor your intensity).  Your baseline level should feel harder than your warm up, taking you just out of your comfort zone.  Keep in mind that your settings may change as you get deeper into the workout and start to get tired.  The idea is to find your baseline wherever it may be, even if you have to reduce your speed, incline, resistance, etc.

Precautions

See your doctor before trying this workout if you have any injuries, illnesses or other conditions.

 

Equipment Needed

Any cardio machine or activity.

How To

  • Complete each segment of the workout, setting speed, incline, resistance or ramps to match the suggested Perceived Exertion Levels.  This is very subjective and it may take you a few workouts to match how you're feeling with how hard you're working.  There are no right or wrong answers, so just do your best.  Over time, you'll get better at it.
  • Modify the workout as needed to fit your fitness level, preferences and goals
  • Slow down or stop the workout if you feel any pain, dizziness or shortness of breath 
Time  Intensity, Speed, Incline or ResistancePerceived Exertion
5 min.Warm up at an easy-moderate pace.  You should feel comfortable and be able to talk easily.  Allow your heart rate to rise gradually by slowly increasing your pace, resistance or incline throughout the warm up.4
5 min.Baseline: Increase speed, incline or resistance (or use a combination) to find your baseline.  In this phase, you should be just a little out of your comfort zone and feel that you're working, but able to talk5
2 min.Increase your incline, resistance or ramps until you feel you're working  a little harder than baseline.  Start with 1-2 increments at a time and go from there.6
3 min.Reduce your incline, resistance, ramps or speed to get back to your baseline level.5
1 min.Increase your incline, resistance or ramps until you feel you're working  a little harder than baseline.  Start with 1-2 increments at a time and go from there.6
4 min.Reduce incline, resistance, ramps and/or speed until you're working at a comfortable level.4
Total:20 Minutes 

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