Beginning a fitness program is among the very best things we can do for our health. Physical exercise can lower the risk of serious disease. It can improve balance and coordination and help with weight loss, self esteem and sleep quality.

Mayo Clinic gives us 5 steps to start a successful workout plan:

Measure your fitness level. We need to know how fit we are at the beginning, with definite numbers, which will become benchmarks. We need to write down:

  • Our pulse rate before and after walking a mile
  • The length of time needed to walk a mile
  • How many push-ups we can do at one time
  • Our waist circumference at the belly button

Design a fitness program.

  • Assess your goals. Are we trying to lose weight, to train for a marathon, to improve our athletic skills? Our objectives must be clear.
  • Strive for balance. We need at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. Or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. We also need to train all muscle groups at least twice per week. One set per muscle group is a good start, with enough resistance to challenge our muscles for 12-15 reps.
  • Start slow and proceed slowly. Beginners need to very carefully build to moderate or vigorous levels. Increase intensity by no more than 10% per week. With any injury or medical condition, consult a medical professional.

  • Build activity into your daily routine. Retired people (like me) will have plenty of time to build a workout program. Others may need to get started earlier in the morning, exercise during lunch orĀ  walk on their treadmill as they watch TV. Or form like minded groups for walks or jogs. Remember – a 30 minute workout is only 2% of a 24 hour day. We only need to manage our time efficiently.
  • Include different activities. We need to avoid the boredom that will come from repetition of the same activity day after day. We could swim one day, work out with resistance the next. Walk one day, play a sport the next. Varying our exercise also will produce better overall fitness.
  • Try high intensity interval training. H.I.I.T. is mixing short bursts of intense activity with low intensity periods. Maybe running for 2 minutes, then walking for 5 minutes. See my prior post on H.I.I.T. programs.
  • Allow time for recovery. We may be tempted to overdo our workouts in the beginning, since our energy is fresh. But we must take time for recovery so that our muscles can grow. See my prior post on taking rest days.
  • Put it on paper. We must keep track of our progress. See my prior post on this.

Gather your equipment

  • We may walk, run, do push-ups and do free squats with our bodies as resistance and with no equipment.
  • We will need running shoes or cross-training shoes. Running shoes are lighter. Cross-training shoes provide more support. I strongly recommend Dick’s Sporting Goods for any athletic shoes. See the DSG link at the side of my website. Check out the July 4 specials.
  • For other equipment see my “PRODUCT RECOMMENDATIONS” later in this post.

Get started

  • Start slowly and progress gradually. With improved energy after a few weeks, set a goal of 30-60 minutes several days per week.
  • Do short sessions rather than nothing when time or energy are in short supply. Maybe 3 ten minute jogs at different times during a day will be appropriate for some.
  • Choose activities that you enjoy! Those are the ones you will stay with. With me, it was tennis. I enjoyed the competition and never thought of tennis as a fitness activity.
  • Listen to your body. Stop when you feel pain or dizziness. Don’t push too hard.

Check your progress

  • We should assess our fitness after about 6 weeks and decide if we need more or less workout time. If motivation begins to lapse, we should try different activities, different sets and reps, different equipment.


The pieces of equipment listed below are items that I use on a daily basis. I have used Amazon as a source for equipment since I like their service and huge inventory. As an Amazon associate, I may earn from activity on their links. This is affiliate marketing. See my upper menu – BECOME AN AFFILIATE MARKETER -for information on how this works.

Each link will show images, details, prices, reviews and suggestions for similar items. Look around.

6 pound medicine ball. This is the exact medicine ball I use. It has been an excellent core exerciser as well as a tool for physical therapy. Since I don’t like floor exercise for abdominals, I do standing “woodchops” with the medicine ball, with very good results. The ball comes in different weights and colors.

Nordic Track treadmill. This is the treadmill that I use at home. It is placed in front of a window, so that I can see outside as I walk on it. I raise the speed every 3 minutes and play music as I work out.

Resistance bands with handles. I use these bands for a full body workout. Every muscle group may be worked and in several different ways. Less than $25.

Loop bands. I use these for physical therapy and also for biceps curls. Curling with bands works well for me, since the resistance is greater at the top, not lighter as with dumbbells. Women tend to like these as “booty bands”. Less than $12.

Dumbbells. I still use dumbbells, but I found them at used sports outlets. Amazon has many dumbbell choices. Look around.

Bulklworker Fitness tools. These are available directly from the Bullworker company. They are small but powerful pieces of workout equipment. We can get both isotonic and isometric benefits from Bullworkers. I have the Steel Bow and the Bow Classic. I use both every other day in my workouts. See the Bullworker link at the side of my website, Click on the red link for full information. See my prior post on Bullworker Fitness Equipment.


Much of the process of creating a workout plan at home is predicated on personal needs, goals and preferences. My home workouts tapered off drastically as I played tennis and increased during the winter months.

Now retired, I do home workouts more than ever before. At age 18, I used heavy barbells for 6-8 reps. At age 82, I do core workouts, cardio and high reps with lighter resistances.

Fortunately, there are many sports to play, many venues for exercise and an abundance of equipment from which to choose.

Let’s not be one of these. See below.

Please leave me any comments or questions in the “Comments” section below.



  1. Great post, very easy to read with easy-to-follow steps. Thank you so much for sharing, this post was made for people like me. I know I need to be more physically active but have difficulty deciding where to start. Thank you for these recommendations, looking forward to reading your other posts like the HIIT training program.

    • Hi Katlynn! Thanks for participating. My link on HIIT will take you to that post. My general recommendation is to keep exercise simple and as enjoyable as possible. Start slowly and carefully. Progress will be quick if you stay with it.

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