Workouts Every Beginner Should Try

We all know that exercise is good for us. But sometimes, starting an intense fitness regime can be daunting. The trick is to start slow and find what you like. Life’s too short to spend time slogging on that treadmill or rowing machine. Here are some fun workouts to get you started:

  1. Boxing

Personally, I love boxing. I attend the Rumble class at Virgin Active if I feel like getting my boxing fix. I feel like the bag just absorbs all my anger and/or irritation at life (read: UCT). Besides getting rid of any build up frustration and aggression, it improves your cardiovascular health and muscular endurance. It also enhances your hand-eye coordination and is almost always fun. Getting a  professional to show you the ropes in order to prevent injury and to assist in correcting your form, is always a good idea. However, if you do not have access to a gym, or you’re more comfortable at home, then try this one at home.

2) HIIT

I hate cardio. I hate walking, climbing stairs, and just moving in general. I almost always avoided cardio in high school, but cardio is something that haunts you: it attacks your legs and lungs and steals your breath (I don’t care if I’m being overdramatic, it’s true, especially those bloody Jammie Stairs). As such, when I made my new year's resolution list for 2018, I decided I’d like to be fitter overall, which meant more exercise. But as university students, we seem to always be running low on time, (despite having our whole lives ahead of us). This is where High-intensity interval training (HIIT) comes in. HIIT is a cardiovascular exercise strategy alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods. They last about 30 minutes in total, so they’re great for staying fit during the semester. They also have numerous benefits (read more about that here). This one would probably be my favourite:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOHJTIIfs9g .

A couple jumping really high in the sky kicking their feet up at Abel Tasman National Park

3) Yoga

Yoga has recently become extremely popular as a workout, relaxation technique and a form of meditation. A practice that is believed to have stemmed from ancient India, it offers numerous benefits, ranging from mental and emotional to physical and spiritual.  Some benefits include improved balance, flexibility and posture, assists in lowering blood pressure and stress levels (always appreciated). It also boosts your immunity and tones your body. Honestly, as a relatively impatient person, yoga always seemed a bit drab and boring, because of it’s seemingly slow and gentle approach. However, there are various fun forms of yoga available that gets your blood pumping if that’s what you like. As a general rule, however, I tend to use yoga more for its balancing and relaxing properties than as an actual workout. Also, it helps me sleep better, so it’s definitely worth a try if you’re struggling to sleep. This is the one I do for relaxation, and here is a more upbeat, fitness-based yoga workout.

4) Strength-Training

A fitness and bodybuilding website defines strength training as “the use of resistance to muscular contraction for the purposes of building strength, anaerobic endurance and size of muscles.” The resistance used can be dumbbells, barbells, resistance bands and even your own body weight. Most women refuse to do this form of training or use really light weights in fear of ‘bulking up’. However (fortunately or unfortunately), women don’t have the same hormones as men that would typically make them appear ‘bulky’ or more muscular (here’s proof). So, lifting heavy weights will not turn you into a hulk lookalike (sadly, in my opinion). However, it will tone you in ways cardio could never (suck it, cardio) and will build more defined muscles. Additionally, strength-training makes you stronger (and who does not aim to be able to crush the souls of a thousand men with their bare thighs? No one but me? Fine). It improves bone density (future, old person you will thank you), assists in weight loss, boosts energy levels and can help in controlling chronic illness, such as PCOS. My favourite strength-training workouts are Fitnessblender’s ones, which I find on YouTube. It’s always a good idea to perfect the actual motion of the exercise, and then gradually add weight to prevent injury. Here’s a simple total body strength workout, which can be adjusted according to your fitness level. All you’ll need is a pair of dumbbells, or even two water bottles if you don’t have those.

 

5) Walking

There are days when a hardcore workout just seems too much. This may be due to a lack of time, space or energy and that’s perfectly okay! A simple stroll in nature, or taking the long way to class is a perfectly acceptable way to get in your daily workout. According to StyleCraze, some benefits include improved cardiovascular health (without the heart/lung/leg/soul ache), regulation of blood pressure, strengthens your muscles and bones as well as the reduction of stress (read more here).

Go forth and slay, you absolute beast!