"Exercising - Beginner Level"

Updated on March 09, 2016
R.B. asks from Aliquippa, PA
17 answers

Hi Mommies!!! I am looking to start stretching/excercising to lose some weight, and start living a healthier life. I am a SAHM of two, and do not have extra income to join a gym, buy a lot of exercise "gear" (weights, exercise balls, books, DVD's, etc.). I have a stationary bike and 3 lb. hand weights..... and a jump rope (Lol, the kids each have one so, I got one too, however, I'm not nearly ready for that!!!!!) All I need to get started is some advice/tips on proper stretching beforehand, and suggestions on how to target certain areas. If there are any sites anyone has used in the past or are currently using that might be helpful, or any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!! Thank you in advance!!!

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answers from Phoenix on

Walk! Also, every time I go to the bathroom I do 10 squats and 10 push-ups on the sink. Gotta find ways to work this stuff into my day!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

Although I have a few DVDs that I like, but mostly I walk. A normal non-push walk for me is 2 miles. I am a brisk walker so it takes 20-30 minutes depending weather (slower in the snow) and motivation.

When my kids were little I used a double jogging stroller. Now that I don't have to take them with me I prefer to walk alone while listening to music. Other women like to walk in pairs or packs, so if that appeals to you maybe you can find a buddy for motivation.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from New York on

Walk. Then walk longer. Then walk faster. It is the best place to start. Walk your stairs, walk the drive way. Walk and raise your knees high. Walk sideways. Walk and lunge each step forward. Walk backwards. It is easy, it is free, and it is always at your disposal.

F. B.

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answers from Dallas on

Start by walking. How old are your children? Use a stroller or pull a wagon but get out and walk to the park, take stairs vs elevator/escalator, park further than the front door of a business and walk.

I use the health app on my IPhone. It keeps track of how many steps I take everyday. I also walk with a friend several times a week or any pretty day and our route is a bit over 4 miles. We've been known to be chatting and end up walking more than that.

You don't have to spend any money unless you don't have good shoes to go walk and you can tell a difference pretty soon with your endurance and your butt and legs start shaping up as well... especially if you include some hills!

Drink lots of water and stay hydrated. That will fight your hunger urge. Eat in moderation.

Good luck.

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answers from Sacramento on

I read Cooking Light and they offer fitness tips in every issue. Here's a link to their online content:

I wouldn't worry about stretching beforehand. The latest research is showing that you don't need to do that anymore and that it can even be harmful. What is critical is making sure you're exercising the right way. I love the suggestion below of checking out workout DVDs at the library, so you can get tips from the professionals.

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answers from San Francisco on

I purchased a dvd on Amazon for $5, I use Hulu and Amazon Prime for free videos as well. I also google "best AB exercises" and such for ideas on exercises. I also run outside now that the weather is above 40 degrees. I do squats when I wake up, extra trips up and down the stairs, park on the edge of the parking lot, if I am moving, I find a way to make it into an exercise. I don't own a single piece of exercise equipment. For hand weights I use two unopened bottles of water.

You didn't ask about diet, but I do low/no carb (which works for me, but may not for you). However, I write down everything I eat BEFORE I eat it. If I don't want to write it down because I know it is not on the diet list, I don't eat it (I do have "cheat day").

Finally, take pictures. The most motivating thing I have ever done. I took mine without my face showing for a truly objective look at myself. Wow, after some crying, I realized I could change this if I wanted to. I look forward to what I have accomplished each week and rely less on the scale and more on how my body is changing.

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answers from Washington DC on

Try your local libraries! They all carry DVDs now and you can check out and try out different types of workouts. Much better than spending money on workout DVDs and getting bored with the workouts after a while. In our area, we are not limited to just what the local public library has in stock -- we can request that materials be sent to the local branch from other libraries in the region. That opens up even more possible DVDs to try. See if your library can do that too.

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answers from Boston on

The absolute easiest thing to do is to go down to your public library and take out a couple of DVDs by exercise instructors/trainers. Each of those should include warm up and cool down activities in addition to the main exercises on different body areas. Watching something on TV with proper form and cautionary comments is the safest thing - getting long instructions from a bunch of us will confuse you and give you too much to read at every exercise session! You can "rent" each DVD for about a week - try a few, see who you like, and then either keep borrowing them or invest in your own copy if you find one you think you really want to do over and over. But variety really keeps people motivated - if you absolutely hate one of the instructors, return the DVD! You can also borrow from other libraries in your network - just request them, they'll be delivered to your local branch, and you can return them there. If you keep a regular rotation, you'll have plenty of DVDs without buying your own.

Start with a general body conditioning DVD - don't just go for "killer abs" or "awesome arms" - you want a little of everything. If you build muscle overall, you will lose more weight and be stronger with a better conditioned body. A lot of beginners make the mistake of thinking, "Oh my arms are flabby but my legs are good, so I don't need to do leg exercises" - that's not really true. If you just concentrate on, say, your stomach, you can wind up hurting something else (the back is a big one) because you overdo it in one area and you don't build up an efficient metabolism that burns fat on a regular basis.

These DVDs willl include some music to help you keep your rhythm, and you'll keep going with a "partner" more than if you are just focusing on counting your own reps. That's boring, and that's why people give up.

In general - start with less weights than you think you can manage. 3 pounds is a very starter level, so stick with those so you don't get hurt or sore and then quit. And absolutely concentrate on your knees and your back - proper form and posture. You can always go to the local high school track to walk in good weather. Check on line for local nature trails where you can hike for free - they are usually marked with longer and shorter routes. Jumping rope is great - put on some music, learn to go forward and backward, running, jumping side to side, etc.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Go on YouTube. You will learn a ton and there are many free workout videos. Google best yoga poses, or stretching exercises. I healed my back by googling physical therapy exercises for lower back pain.

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answers from St. Louis on

You don't need any of the things you mention. You have plenty. Go on youtube, there must be tons of videos.

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answers from Savannah on

Try for 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. You can break it up into 3 parts if needed. Also Pinterest and YouTube have plenty of ideas.

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answers from Norfolk on

Do as many stairs as you can.
Walk as much as you can - park further away from the store and walk.
You don't have to stretch a whole lot.
Drink plenty of water, and don't snack (although the exercise might drive your appetite up a bit).

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answers from Portland on

I would walk.

It's so easy and it gets you out. You can walk with a friend or plug in your music. I do both.

I have DVDs. I have a yoga one and the Dummies ones. I also have harder ones (Jillian Michaels). I grow bored of those very quickly. So I can't recommend DVDs personally.

You may not think walking does much, but if I don't do it - I feel myself jiggle (more than normal) very quickly. So it tones.

I do have an exercise ball. Just a cheap basic one. The thing I use it for is crunches. I can do a proper crunch on a ball, can't on the floor. I had abdominal surgery done and the plastic surgeon told me if you buy one piece of gear, get a cheap ball. He said tell yourself to suck it in when you come up. That way you're clenching the right tummy muscles. The core ones. So for me, it was worth the $15.

I also do my squats with it. Again, perfect form. I never could do it right otherwise. So you prop the ball against the wall, and roll down and up. So I turn on my TV in my room and do this little routine (you can use it for push ups too) - so tummy, arms and legs and butt - whenever I think of it.

So walk and a $15 ball. That's what I would do. With both, you start out super easy/short and can build up. I've never hurt myself doing either. Good luck :)

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answers from Philadelphia on

I love the app my fitness pal. It tracks your calories and how much you should be eating. Also there are a lot of easy beginner 10 minute workouts on On Demand under Sports/Fitness if you have access to that. I love the walking ones...great for just starting out!

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answers from Springfield on

i used my fitness pal to drop a few lbs. you enter your food intake, and your exercise and it helps you track your calories sugars and such so that you can be successful

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answers from Washington DC on

I personally like Zumba but if you don't have a class near you (usually inexpensive) google "zumba for beginners". All I really needed was clothing I could move in, and a good pair of shoes. Over the last year I've upped my game a bit but you can decide what you need as you get moving. Dance videos are also something the kids can get into.

OR...go for a walk, WALK to the park, play hide and seek/tag, etc. Bike ride with the kids, etc. I have a friend who started dog walking (for a company) when her DD got into K...she walks PT, but puts in several miles a day with different dogs (varying speeds) and that's all the exercise she needs.

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answers from Washington DC on

good for you!
stretching comes AFTER the exercise. don't stretch cold muscles.
you have more than enough to get you started. remember to start out slowly- maybe walk in place for 5 minutes before you get on the bike, or set a timer to make sure you don't jump into it too enthusiastically. warm-up is very important.
don't worry about targeting certain areas. you can't spot reduce, and spot strengthening will come naturally (and be more apparent) once you've worked on your most important spot, your brain, and got yourself into the working out groove.
the most common mistake is to hit the ground running (so to speak) and either hurt yourself or get discouraged. 5 minutes of walking to warm up and cool down, with 10 or 15 minutes on the bike, is plenty to begin. you want to push it until your heart rate elevates, but you should still be able to carry on a (breathy) conversation. don't make yourself gasp.
most of all, keep it interesting. bike one day. walk briskly the next. go out into the yard and hula hoop with the kids for a half hour the next.
good luck!

1 mom found this helpful
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