Getting in shape for the first time — or for the first time in a while — can feel daunting. After all, some of the most popular workouts (looking at you, boot camps) aren't exactly beginner-friendly. You know cardio is key, whatever your goals — whether to lose weight or simply be healthier — but building your endurance can take time and patience. Still, with a few simple steps, you can be on the road to making it a regular part of your routine sooner than you think. These tips from trainers can help you ease your body into exercise and find an activity you enjoy enough to stick with it.
I Want More!
Get our Fitness newsletter by tapping the button below.
By signing up, I agree to the Terms & to receive emails from POPSUGAR.
If you frequently walk to work or to run errands, pick up the pace — even a short power walk can help get your heart rate up. Similarly, you could take the stairs when possible at home or at work, adding in a few flights for a short workout when you've got the time.
"Other things that can count as cardio include dancing with your friends, carrying heavy groceries up the stairs, and running to catch the train," Lyuda Bouzinova, an ACE-certified personal trainer and founder of online workout platform Mission Lean, told POPSUGAR.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Matthew Barnes
Running is one of the most convenient and affordable forms of cardio, as you only need appropriate clothing and shoes to get started.
"Finding a safe and convenient place to run is important, especially if you plan to run outdoors," Victoria Nolan, an NASM-certified personal trainer at Suite Time Fitness in Houston, told POPSUGAR. "Ask around on social media for tips on where to run in your area. You will want access to well-lit parking lots and paths, water, and restrooms or changing facilities."
Just be sure to take it slowly when you first start running. It's normal not to be able to run a full mile at the beginning; instead, alternate between a few minutes of running and walking for the first few weeks.
Whether you've taken up running or prefer to walk, signing up for a 5K can give you a goal to work toward and keep you accountable. "Setting a goal for yourself will make sticking to your new cardio routine easier," Victoria said. "Plus, you'll get a shiny new medal to show for your efforts."
You don't have to break the bank to find quality workout clothes, and wearing comfortable gear and appropriately fitting shoes can help you stay committed to your new routine.
"Get properly fitted for a new pair of shoes and give yourself that 'oomph' you need with a new tank, leggings, and so on," said Jenny Harkins, an ACE-certified group fitness instructor and owner of Treadfit in Chicago. "When you feel good in what you are wearing, you'll be more motivated to get that workout in."
Whether you join a gym or pop into a boutique studio, there are a wide range of classes that can help keep you excited about working out. "Many group fitness classes, such as HIIT, Zumba, and indoor cycling, are cardio-based, fun, social, and will give you a great workout," Victoria said. "Try as many as you can until you find a routine you enjoy."