November 07, 2023

10 Best Exercises for Everyone

Group of people exercising

There are countless ways to improve your fitness — so many that it can be overwhelming. If you want to create a workout routine, starting with a few basic exercises is best.

Below are 10 fitness exercises that will help you increase your strength and improve your flexibility. Before long, you’ll have a good foundation for bringing other activities into your routine if you choose to.

Benefits of Working Out

You’ve asked yourself, “What are good exercises?” and are reading about the most effective exercise routines. That’s a great start!

When you decide on an exercise regimen that’s right for you, you’ll enjoy many benefits. Sticking with your routine will make you stronger and more flexible. Just as importantly, it can increase your confidence and improve your self-esteem. What’s more, if you work out with others, exercising has many social benefits.

10 Good Exercises to Incorporate into Your Everyday Routine

1. Planks

Planks target your abdominal muscles but give other muscles in your arms and legs a good workout.

  1. Start with your hands on the floor, your arms extended, and your knees and toes on the floor.
  2. Tuck your chin slightly and look at the ground just in front of your hands.
  3. Straighten your legs so your knees come off the floor and your body is in a straight line from the back of your head to the back of your heels.
  4. Hold the position for 30 seconds before returning your knees to the floor.
  5. Complete 2-3 sets of as many 30-second holds as you can.

2. Lunges

Lunges strengthen your legs and glutes, stretching the muscles simultaneously.

  1. Stand with your arms at your side and your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Step forward with your right foot, bending your right knee as you do. Step far enough forward that your right knee doesn’t go past your right foot before your right thigh is parallel to the ground.
  3. Straighten your right leg to return to the starting position. Complete the same actions with your left leg. This is one repetition (or “rep”).
  4. Do three sets of 10 reps.

3. Pushups

Pushups involve multiple muscle groups and are a highly effective strengthening exercise.

  1. Start in the plank position with your back straight, legs extended, toes on the floor, arms outstretched, and hands flat on the floor below your shoulders.
  2. Bend your elbows to lower your body until your chest touches the floor.
  3. Extend your arms, pushing your body off the floor until your elbows lock.
  4. Do three sets of as many reps as you can. If you can’t do a standard pushup, you can leave your knees on the floor rather than your toes.

4. Squats

Squats are a great way to strengthen your core and lower body. And because you’re using large muscles, they burn lots of calories.

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders and your arms at your side.
  2. Keep your chin up, bend your knees, and move your hips backward like you’re going to sit in a chair. Bring your hands together in front of you near your chest.
  3. Continue lowering your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold for one second and then return to the starting position.
  4. Do three sets of 20 reps.

5. Overhead dumbbell presses

This exercise uses two 10-pound dumbbells to engage muscles in your shoulders, upper back, and core.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Position your arms so that your upper arms align with your shoulders, your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle, and the weights are at head level.
  2. While engaging your core, push the weights up until your arms are fully extended.
  3. Pause, lower your arms until your upper arms align with your shoulders again, and repeat.
  4. Do three sets of 12 reps.

6. Single-leg deadlifts

Using one 10-pound dumbbell, this exercise improves leg strength and balance.

  1. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand with your knees bent slightly.
  2. Rotate your upper body forward at the hips, lifting your left leg straight behind you and moving the dumbbell toward the floor.
  3. Continue raising your leg until it is parallel to the floor or to whatever height you’re comfortable with. Then, slowly lower your leg while lifting the dumbbell and returning to the starting position.
  4. Do 10 reps lifting your left leg, switch the weight to your left hand, and do 10 reps lifting your right leg.

7. Dumbbell rows

This exercise uses two 10-pound dumbbells and strengthens multiple upper-body muscles.

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Position your body at a 45-degree angle to the ground by bending forward at the waist. Ensure your core is engaged and your neck is aligned with your back. Let your arms hang down.
  3. Pull the weight in your right arm up near your chest. Return to the starting position and do the same with your left arm. This is one rep.
  4. Do three sets of 10 reps.

8. Side planks

Side planks help strengthen your core.

  1. Start on the floor lying on your right side with your legs straight together and your left foot stacked on top of your right. Prop up your upper body by putting your right elbow under your right shoulder and your forearm flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your hips and knees off the ground to make a straight line with your body.
  3. Lower your hips back to the floor and repeat.
  4. Do three sets of 10 on each side.

9. Glute bridge

This exercise strengthens your glutes.

  1. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor, your knees bent, and your arms at your side, palms down.
  2. Push down on your heels to raise your hips off the ground while keeping your shoulders and upper back in contact with the floor.
  3. Hold for a second or two at the top of your lift, then lower your hips back to the floor.
  4. Do three sets of 10 reps.

10. Burpees

Burpees strengthen multiple muscle groups and provide a great cardiovascular workout.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
  2. Put your hands out in front of you and squat down. When your hands touch the ground, shoot your legs out behind you into the pushup position.
  3. Pull your feet up near your hands in one motion, stand up straight, and jump. This is one rep.
  4. Do three sets of 10 reps.

How to Improve Your Workout

When you’re comfortable with your workout routine and notice you’re completing it with minimal effort, you can amp up the exercises to make them more challenging. For example, you can:

  1. Add more reps (5 more is a good increase for many people).
  2. Enhance an activity, like adding jumps to lunges or squats.
  3. Add more weight.
  4. Change the focus of an activity from reps to how long you maintain muscle tension.
  5. Modify your routine gradually so your body can adapt, and you continue enjoying your sessions.

Get Started with a Fitness Routine Today

Learning and getting comfortable doing these exercise routines may take a little time. But once you do, your fitness will improve steadily as you add more reps and sets.

Before starting any new exercise or fitness routine, talk with your doctor about what’s safe for you. You can learn more about Baptist Health’s weight management program or find a provider near you online.

Learn More.