Women's Beginner Home Exercise Routines

by Robin Reichert, Demand Media
    Exercise at home to save time and money and get fit.

    Exercise at home to save time and money and get fit.

    Women who have never exercised before can start an exercise routine at home. A balanced beginner home exercise routine should include cardiovascular exercise, strength training for the arms and legs, core exercises and flexibility routines. The combination of flexibility, aerobic and strength training improves overall physical fitness and improves cardiovascular fitness for a strong heart and lungs. Do each type of exercise on nonconsecutive days to give your muscles time to recover. You might want to do cardio on Mondays, strength training on Tuesdays and take Wednesdays off to rest. Do core training on Thursdays and flexibility exercises on Fridays. Choose a routine that works for you and your schedule, and get moving!

    Cardio

    Cardiovascular, or aerobic, exercise is an essential part of a good exercise routine. Cardio improves your heart and lung function, increases your stamina and burns fat. Cardio also helps to prevent disease including high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Women who have been sedentary for a while should start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of their cardio workout. Aerobic exercise is any exercise that increases your heart rate and breathing. It's great for burning stubborn belly fat and slimming the hips and thighs. Aerobic exercises that women can do at home include jumping rope, jogging in place, climbing stairs, walking on a treadmill and riding a stationary bicycle. Beginners can start by doing about 15 minutes of cardio every other day, three days each week. Increase the time and intensity of your exercise gradually until you can do 30 minutes of cardio three days each week.

    Muscle Toning

    Muscle toning exercises increase your muscle strength and help to produce lean, strong muscles. Focus on the major muscle groups including the buttocks, hips, thighs and arms. As you build more muscle mass, you will burn calories more efficiently because muscle burns calories faster than fat. Use some light-weight dumbbells to perform biceps curls, triceps lifts and front dumbbell raises to work the arms, chest and shoulders. Lunges and squats are good beginner exercises to start toning and strengthening the calf muscles, buttocks and thighs. Resistance bands are another option for women who want to begin doing some strength training and muscle toning at home. Start with 10 to 12 repetitions of each exercise.

    Core Training

    Women probably fret about their midsections more than any other part of their body, especially as they age. Women's bodies build up more fat in the midsection than men and it can be difficult to burn. The abdomen can be especially difficult to slim and firm after having a baby. A strong core is important for stamina, strength, balance and posture. You can do abdominal strengthening and toning at home by performing exercises such as crunches, planks, hip raises and pelvic lifts. At-home Pilates exercises, including the 100, can help firm and tone the abdominal muscles for a leaner, stronger core.

    Flexibility Training

    Flexibility training will help improve your range of motion and stretch your muscles. Stretch your arms by lifting them over your head as far as possible. Hamstring stretches will improve the flexibility of your hips and knees while you stretch and strengthen the muscles in the backs of your legs. Get on the floor on your hands and knees and flex your back up toward the ceiling. Arch your back so your belly drops toward the floor. Stretch your shoulders by crossing one arm across your chest and gently pulling your elbow across your body with the other hand. Standing up and then bending at the hip to touch your toes will help stretch your lower back and hamstring muscles.

    Avoid Injury

    Consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. Women who may be at risk for bone and joint conditions, such as arthritis or osteoporosis, should not perform high-impact exercises, as these can cause bone damage. If you are a woman over 40, you may have bone loss, which can result in injury. Always warm up before your regular exercise routine by doing some light exercise, such as walking. Cool down after exercising by walking or doing some flexibility stretches. You might experience some muscle soreness at first, but it should go away in a few days. See your doctor if pain persists or worsens.

    About the Author

    Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and professional writer. She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College.

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