Two Cardio Workouts for Beginners

Woman on stationary bike
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Are you a complete exercise beginner who is ready to get started with cardio workouts? These workouts are for you if you are one of these people:

  • You've never done exercise, at least not since they stopped forcing you to go to gym class.
  • You used to exercise, but it has been a long time. In fact, you doubt you can even find your old exercise clothes (or fit into them).
  • Your lifestyle is the very definition of sedentary.

    Don't go away, here is just what you need to get started. These workouts can be performed on a variety of machines or outside and are designed to ease you into cardio training. If you have access to a treadmill or exercise bike or elliptical trainer, you can do them indoors. If you can ride a bike or walk outdoors, that's also a great way to get started.

    To progress, add a few minutes to the workout of your choice each week.  

    • Modify the workouts according to your fitness level. Add more time or reduce the workout time as needed
    • The RPE's (Rate of Perceived Exertion) help you track intensity on a scale of 1 - 10.  Choose a pace you can maintain for the length of the workout.  
    • If you can't talk or feel dizzy, stop!
    • You can also use a Target Heart Rate Calculator to monitor your exercise intensity. 
    • Perform this workout 2-3 times a week with a day of rest in between.  Be sure to progress each week by adding time and/or increasing intensity.
    • Check with your doctor if you have any medical conditions or injuries

    Beginner 13-Minute Walking Cardio Workout

    The following walking workout is a nice choice for beginners. It requires no equipment (except a good pair of shoes) and you can do it outside or indoors on a treadmill or elliptical trainer. Feel free to adjust the workout according to your fitness level.

      3 minutes RPE 3-4 - Warm up at a comfortable pace 

      4 minutes: RPE 5 - Increase your pace a bit so that you're working harder, but are still able to carry on a conversation
      3 minutes: RPE 4 - Slow down just a bit
      3 minutes: RPE 3 - Slow down to a comfortable pace to cool down
      Try this stretching workout after your cardio to increase flexibility and relax.

    Total Workout Time:  13 Minutes

    Beginner 10-Minute Bike Cardio Workout

    If you've never exercised (or it's been awhile) a stationary bike is a nice choice.  Because bikes offer resistance for you to work against (rather than your own body weight), you can allow your body time to get used to exercise without impact.  Please modify according to your fitness level

      3 minutes RPE 3-4 - Warm up at a comfortable pace and keep the resistance low

      4 minutes: RPE 5 - Increase the resistance a few increments to work harder.  Make sure you can carry on a conversation
      3 minutes: RPE 3 - Decrease the resistance and slow down to a comfortable pace to cool down
      Try this stretching workout after your cardio to increase flexibility and relax.

    Total Workout Time:  10 Minutes 

    More Workout IdeasDidn't that feel great? You can do these workouts two to three times per week. Now if you want to explore more ways to exercise, browse our workouts for more cardio, plus strength and flexibility workouts. Don't stop moving you that you've gotten started!

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