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10 Best Exercises for Everyone to Try

Exercises are physical movements suitable for most fitness statuses that promote proper health and wellness. Good exercises give you optimal motivation for gaining strength and endurance while avoiding injury.

Best exercises to try
The best exercises fit your schedule, lifestyle, and fitness goals

Starting a new exercise regimen requires finding the right movements and schedule for your lifestyle and fitness goals. It’s important to start with easy exercises if you’re a beginner to avoid wearing yourself out or feeling inexperienced. The more you enjoy the exercises you choose, the more you’ll want to stick with your workout goals.

Understanding basic exercises gives you a well-rounded selection of movements that span strength, cardio, and balance to benefit your entire body. Intensity levels can be altered to your liking and scaled up over time to achieve a more exhaustive workout. Incorporating different exercises and exercise variations into your schedule will break up the monotony of a boring workout and help you hit your goals.

Below is a comprehensive resource for anyone looking to enhance their physical activity routine, offering exercises to improve strength, flexibility, endurance, and overall well-being, as shown in Figure 1. 

Best exercises to try
Figure 1. This infographic shows ten exercises everyone should try to improve fitness.

1. Squats

Squats are a functional exercise that strengthens the lower body and core by simulating squatting on a stool. Correctly performed squats develop posture, mobility, and balance, and burn calories by fully engaging major muscle groups.

To perform, stand with a hip-width stance and initiate the movement by pushing your hips back and lowering down while keeping your chest upright, knees tracking over your feet. Descend with control, then drive back up to standing without rounding the spine.

Squats hit the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteals for tone and everyday strength through a natural pattern mimicking bending to lift objects. However, those managing back or knee issues should pursue modifications after professional consultation given joint loading. Moreover, relying solely on squats limits holistic fitness development compared to diverse programming that complements the movement.

You can get the most out of squats by incorporating them into a dynamic exercise routine that gets your heart racing and reinforces strength training. For example, squat jumps are a combination exercise that will boost your basic squat cardio.

2. Lunges

Lunges are a lower body exercise working the quads, glutes, and hamstrings by striding forward into a knee bend, then returning upright. Lunges are beginner-friendly exercises that build stability and strength. The unilateral lets you have a more well-rounded exercise while enhancing posture, coordination, and athleticism.

To perform lunges, you need to step forward with the heel, then lower yourself down while keeping the front knee over the ankle and the back knee hovering off the ground. You should pause in the bottom position, then drive back up to stand. Complete equal repetitions on each side, keeping an upright posture to properly target your core.

The one-legged nature of lunges allows them to target stabilizers that bilateral training exercises ignore. This bolsters symmetry, injury prevention, and confidence during lateral movements. Moreover, alternative lunge types offer continual progression options and enhanced strength training. For example, you can boost your workout by adding dumbbells when ready.

However, those with sensitive knee or hip joints should pursue modification under guidance, as sloppy form stresses joints. Novices should first perfect the basics before adding load or testing alternative styles.

3. Walking

Walking is a low-impact cardio activity that activates muscles throughout the body to enhance fitness. This beginner-friendly cardiovascular exercise involves maintaining a brisk stride to raise the heart rate. Walking improves stamina, muscle tone, joint health, and weight management with regular training.

The proper walking form begins with good posture. You should keep your head lifted, shoulders back, and core engaged. Generate a vigorous pace fueled by pumping arms and a heel-to-toe gait, rolling through each step. Then, incorporate gentle stretches and cooldowns before and after. You can keep your walking routine exciting if you seek routes with scenic nature or listen to motivating music when possible for enjoyment.

Walking provides positive physical and mental health returns like lower disease risk, stress relief, and mood boosts linked to its innate integration of muscular, respiratory, cognitive, and social domains. It can serve as a jumping-off point for those new to exercise while adapting across all fitness levels by manipulating duration, distance, route terrain, or adding weights.

However, walking alone won’t satisfy specific athletic goals or adequately challenge conditioned individuals seeking intense training stimulus. For example, if you’re trying to have an intense cardio workout in a short period of time, then walking won’t satisfy your demand the way running will. Additionally, those with joint limitations may require customized programs that consider their strengths and abilities.

4. Glute Bridges

Glute bridges are a beginner-friendly exercise that works the glutes, hamstrings, and spinal stabilizers by raising the hips off the floor from a supine position. Glute bridges counteract prolonged sitting’s unhealthy posterior chain effects and strengthen the backside for improved posture and daily mobility.

To start glute brudges, lie flat with bent knees and feet planted hip-width apart. Engage your core for spine neutrality, and drive heels down to lift hips upwards until thighs are parallel to the floor. Then, squeeze the glutes at the top and control your return down. Repeat for as many repetitions as doable while maintaining form.

The bridge movement strengthens key areas like the glutes and lower back, reducing pain and heightening stability for exercise and everyday demands. They’re especially suited for beginners due to joint friendliness. However, very fit individuals may require added challenges to the traditional bridge exercise. Additionally, those with pre-existing hip/spine issues should first clear glute bridges with clinicians since discomfort can indicate contraindications.

Strong glutes manifest in confident walking, stair climbing, and athleticism for most adults. Their direct action aids prevention and rehabilitation simultaneously. So prescribed appropriately, glute bridges deliver quick yet lasting sculpting and functional fitness gains.

5. Burpees

Burpees are advanced calisthenic exercises combining explosive squat, plank, and jump components to challenge the entire body. This cardio-based resistance training movement works for major upper and lower body muscle groups while torching calories. Burpee’s athletic demand improves endurance and agility to give you a time-efficient exercise choice.

Performing burpees requires you to begin standing, then squat down, placing hands outside feet before thrusting legs backward into a high plank. Complete one push-up, then immediately hop feet towards hands to resume squat stance. Explosively leap upwards, extending arms overhead to activate core before landing to repeat.

Mastering complex sequencing takes practice for fluidity and stamina. Scaling options like eliminating the push-up or jump accommodate different fitness levels. However, conditions like pregnancy or joint instability may require substitutes to avoid injury. Beginners should focus on technique with walk-through motions and then build capacity by adding layers once established to make their progression easier. Once you gain more experience, you can increase intensity with added weight or rapid repetitions.

Incorporating burpees is a way to forge formidable full-body fitness to amplify power, coordination, and cardiovascular capacity efficiently. However, those new to exercise should progress cautiously and opt for low-impact alternatives if overly strained.

6. Planks

Planks are a core conditioning exercise for sculpting abdominal muscles and enhancing postural control. This beginner-friendly exercise involves maintaining a straight, rigid body position as if bracing for a push-up and then holding statically to build muscular endurance. Planks reinforce proper shoulder mechanics and spine neutrality when aligned correctly to reduce back pain risks.

To start in a plank, evenly distribute weight between toes and forearms directly below shoulders, wrists stacked straight. Engage abdominals, tightening torso while aligning ears, hips, and ankles in one long line. Hold tightness in the torso, glutes, and quads for a designated time before completing the rotation. You can lower your forearms or lift your arm for an added challenge when ready.

Regular planking offers support around the midsection, improving stability and confidence during rotational movements and everyday activities. However, certain shoulder instability or back injury cases require clinical guidance to avoid discomfort or harm when holding forced positioning. Additionally, planks require modification for optimal challenge levels among trained athletes compared to novices.

When tailored appropriately, simple planking offers profound improvements in posture, body awareness, and core control for those committed to skill and drill. Steady practice builds the pillar required to actualize potential.

7. Interval Training

Interval training incorporates short bursts of high exertion with periods of low activity or rest for cardiovascular and metabolic improvements. Interval training is a quick way to gain results typically achieved through hours of steady-state exercise condensing into minutes. By alternating sprint-based movements with active recovery, muscles strengthen while the heart and lungs gain efficiency.

A beginner session might entail cycling through 30 seconds of all-out mountain climbers, squat jumps, or running push-ups followed by 60 seconds of walking. The more your conditioning improves, the more work-to-rest ratios can progress to 2:1. Session length, exercise selection, and intensity all provide modification tools to scale difficulty for any aspirational fitness level.

While interval training is extremely time efficient, it requires caution and careful on-ramping for novices to avoid burnout or injury, given its demanding fluctuating pace. The hypercharged metabolic boost can prove overly taxing if underlying health issues exist. However, gradual exposure exponentially strengthens the heart, muscles, and aerobic metabolism, elevating performance in sports and daily life. Through dynamic effort, the body synthesizes mighty resilience reserves.

8. Abdominal Crunches

Abdominal crunches work the rectus abdominis or the front sheath of connective tissue spanning the midsection. Crunches build muscular endurance through the abdomen for a toned core. They specifically hone deep core layers versus general calisthenics involving secondary stabilizers. Minimal equipment needs make crunches conveniently accessible at home and to beginners.

To perform abdominal crunches, lie supine on the floor or mat with knees bent at 90 degrees and feet flat. Place hands gently behind the head without pushing the neck forward. Engage abdominals to lift shoulder blades a few inches off the floor, concentrating contraction in the upper abdominals below the rib cage. Slowly return back down and bring your shoulder blades close but not fully touching the floor.

The isolation of crunches enables targeted etching of rectus abdominis fibers. However, overemphasizing crunches risks underdeveloping posterior chains and auxiliary stabilizers essential for comprehensive core training. Those recovering from back issues should pursue clinical guidance before attempting crunches.

While the classic abdominal crunch deserves some role for focused abdominal etching, wise programming pairs it with diverse stabilizer moves. Planks, chops, carries, and anti-rotational maneuvers encourage cohesive capability by working adjacent tissues interdependently.

9. Push-Ups

Push-ups are foundational for sculpting arms and shoulders while amplifying core control with bodyweight resistance to lift and lower the torso. Hand placement, which is wider or narrower than shoulder width, emphasizes pectoral and triceps development. Performed correctly with rigid plank posture, push-ups strengthen stabilizers for injury resilience while stoking metabolism.

Push-ups require rigid balance in the top plank position while conducting a controlled descent until the chest grazes the floor. Then, you have to press back up without sinking your hips. Keep your neck neutral and body in one straight line as your core and glutes engage fully. Bend your elbows at 45 degrees to reduce wrist strain and repeat as necessary or until failure.

Push-ups are useful because of their accessibility and lack of necessary equipment. Moreover, they progressively develop functional strength critical for daily demands like lifting, reaching, and carrying. The movement pattern transfers to many athletic endeavors and can be changed to fit alternative stances or weight distributions. However, certain cases of shoulder instability from past injuries or joint conditions require personalized form adjustments or substitutions.

10. Bent-Over Rows

Bent-over rows tone the upper back muscles by pulling weight upwards with a hinging hip motion. Bent-over rows improve posture and strengthen the backside for balanced development with pressing muscles.

Bent-over rows involve holding dumbbells or a barbell with a neutral shoulder-width grip. Hinge slightly forward at the hips to a 45-degree angle with a flat back. Allow your arms to hang straight down perpendicular to the floor, then drive your elbows upwards as you pull the weight toward the lower ribs by contracting the back muscles. Focus on squeezing the shoulder blades at the top position. Control the weight back down without rounding the spine and repeat.

Bent-over rows are an efficient way to secure a full-body workout. The compound movement engages the biceps, forearms, and legs for greater coordination and functionality. Correctly performing rows will help you balance your strength training days and help you combat the side effects of a sedentary lifestyle, such as back pain or poor posture.

However, working out with poor form puts you at risk of disc herniation or back strain when weights exceed safe capacity. Beginners should master movement patterns with resistance bands first before adding load. Those with previous spinal conditions should avoid loaded flexion without medical guidance.

What are the benefits of exercise?

The benefits of exercise include improved physical and mental health, which leads to a better quality of life. One of the advantages of routine exercise is that it reduces heart disease risk. Regular physical activity strengthens the heart muscle, improves blood circulation, and helps control cholesterol and blood pressure levels, which are crucial factors in preventing heart disease.

Additionally, exercise has been shown to enhance sleep quality. Regular physical activity can help regulate sleep patterns, leading to deeper and more restorative sleep. This improvement in sleep quality is linked to balancing sleep hormones like melatonin and reducing stress and anxiety, which often interfere with sleep.

Finally, exercise is beneficial in building and maintaining healthy muscles and bones. Weight-bearing exercises like lifting, running, and walking stimulate muscle growth and bone density. This is especially important as one ages, helping to prevent conditions like osteoporosis and muscle atrophy. The process involves releasing hormones that promote muscles’ ability to absorb amino acids, thereby growing and reducing their breakdown. Moreover, exercise increases bone density for bones by stimulating the cells responsible for bone formation.

How to choose an exercise for you?

The list below offers five tips to guide you as you choose an exercise routine that’s right for you.

  1. Define your health goals: Determining personal health goals involves identifying if you’re seeking weight loss, muscle building, or enhanced flexibility to guide your choice of the most suitable exercise regimen.
  2. Consider your limitations: You should consider your limits by acknowledging any physical, medical, or time constraints to ensure that the exercise you choose is safe and feasible for you. This could include chronic health conditions, injuries, or a busy schedule that keeps you out of the gym.
  3. Find adaptable exercises: Finding adaptable exercises entails selecting ones that can be modified or adjusted to suit your skill level, health status, and progress over time for a personalized and evolving fitness routine.
  4. Consider your budget: Consider your budget by evaluating the financial aspects of different exercise options to find a workout that fits within your financial means.
  5. Find an exercise you enjoy: An enjoyable workout increases your desire to exercise and keeps you engaged, as enjoyment is key to maintaining motivation and consistency in your fitness journey.

How often should you exercise?

The frequency of exercise varies depending on your fitness goals, but research indicates 150 minutes is ideal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 150 weekly minutes of moderate aerobic activity plus strength training twice weekly creates a thriving everyday workout routine. Blending moderate and vigorous activities throughout the week prevents lackluster or dangerous overload. For example, gentle yoga or walking restores between intense powerlifting or HIIT sessions that require longer recovery.

Additionally, diversifying training through multimodal workouts enhances adaptation so sessions stay engaging. This diverse approach works multiple muscle groups and energy systems for integrated, time-efficient benefits. Though duration is less important than consistency, those crunched for time can accrue 10-15 minute micro-workouts to keep their heart and joints healthy.

Relentless intensity isn’t necessary for you to see improvements in your body and health. To avoid overdoing it at the gym, you must implement rest and recovery periods. Listen to your body and look for indicators like energy and soreness to determine if you need more or less time to recover. Optimizing exercise science through mind-body awareness unveils the sweet spot between effort and ease.

How do you have a daily exercise routine?

You can cultivate a daily exercise routine by aligning activities to individual needs and preferences to help you stay active. Before slotting workouts into a weekly calendar, outline attainable goals for why you want to hit the gym. Scheduling sessions to energize and rejuvenate you throughout the week will make exercise a ritual, not a chore.

Strategically adding modalities like HIIT, yoga, and weights sustain progress holistically to prevent imbalances while circumventing fatigue. Furthermore, rest is an equal priority for tissue repair and renewed motivation. You should ensure you give yourself adequate rest days to avoid burnout from preventing you from getting a workout in.

Moreover, approaching fitness as personalized medicine for the body and mind facilitates lifestyle integration. Small milestones acknowledge consistency that compounds over the years into extraordinary feats of strength and vitality. You can build camaraderie through classes, friends, or online groups to gain access to supportive communities that work as motivators to keep trying for your goals.

What are the best indoor exercises?

The best indoor exercises help you stay active and fit when outdoor conditions or circumstances limit your options. Indoor workouts offer convenience and versatility to maintain your fitness regimen in the comfort of your home. Below is a list of five of the best indoor exercises.

  • Yoga: Yoga enhances flexibility, strength, and mindfulness through a series of calmly adaptable movements and poses.
  • Jump rope: Jumping rope boosts cardiovascular endurance, coordination, and agility in a high-intensity, space-efficient workout.
  • Dancing: Dancing involves expressive movements to music that improve cardio, flexibility, strength, and mood through rhythmic, artistic choreography.
  • Push-ups: Push-ups are a classic bodyweight move that strengthens the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core by using arms to lower and lift the body.
  • Bodyweight squats: Bodyweight squats are a lower-body exercise that tones the thighs, glutes, and hamstrings by mimicking the motion of sitting in a chair.