Beginner Workout Plan | From Walking & Jogging to Shredding!

A girl in athletic clothes with headphones lacing her jogging shoes on a gym mat.
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Starting a beginner workout plan can change your life. In fact the benefits of exercise can extend your life, and its quality too.

If people actually knew how much exercise could change their lives, they’d be out there in droves. Gear would be flying off the shelves. Gyms would be popping up on every street corner and disease would slow down.    

Like a guy I once knew who after years of giving a blink, a yawn, and a lackadaisical moan, finally ramped up and now he’s an exercise fiend—hooked on dopamine, serotonin, and endocannabinoids, all neuromodulators of mitochondrial bliss.

In fact according to one report, exercise not only boosts endocannabinoids—mood-improving chemicals with psychoactive effects—they cross the blood-brain barrier and relieve stress, tension, anxiety, pain, and more.

Which is exactly why people who stick with exercise long enough become addicted to its benefits. It’s one of the most powerful mood-enhancing regenerators ever.

It’s also an anti-depressant, blunting “the brain’s response to physical and emotional stress,” says Dr. Dave Linden from John Hopkins University. In fact studies have shown that exercise rivals antidepressants in terms of efficacy, and without all the side effects.

According to Psychiatrist Dr. Craig Miller, “In people who are depressed, neuroscientists have noticed that the hippocampus in the brain—the region that helps regulate mood—is smaller. Exercise supports nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, improving nerve cell connections, which helps relieve depression.” 

And endorphins—your body’s ‘feel good’ hormones—flip a happy switch: “Regular exercise has been shown to enhance powerful mood-elevating substances in the brain known as endorphins. These compounds exert effects similar to those of morphine, although much milder. In fact, their name (endo = endogenous, -rphins = morphines) was given to them because of their morphine-like effects. There is a clear association between exercise and endorphin elevation, and when endorphin levels go up, mood follows.”

Long story short, exercise improves about every ailment under the sun, from heart attacks and strokes to type 2 diabetes, mood disorders, autoimmune disease, and more.

Beginner Workout Plan

Rear view of a girl's calves walking on a gym treadmill by a sunny window.

You may find it inspiring to know that a good workout can flip you from A-Z, and you’re never too old to start. Just ask Deidre Larkin from Johannesburg, South Africa, who didn’t start exercising till 78!—going on to break world records in her age group.

Or Mike Fremont, who crushed an illness after taking up exercise well into middle age, still killing it at the century mark.   

In fact one report showed that “beginning exercise even late in life can be effective in reversing structural and functional changes in the cardiovascular system.”

It’s also been found that a single workout can boost your heart right away, so it doesn’t take long.

Fitness Evaluation

Before beginning a new fitness program it’s important to consult your physician if you take medications, have medical issues, or even if you don’t. Kids are required to get physicals before playing sports, and it’s a good practice for adults.

That said, if you’re reasonably healthy you can usually do this walking to jogging plan with one caveat: Running (or jogging) for folks who are overweight—i.e., your body mass index (BMI) is 25.0 to < 30 or over 30 per CDC guidelines—is a whole lot different than running when you’re slim. 

So if that’s the case, you’ll probably want to save those hard-driving ten-mile runs and marathons for later when you’ve trimmed down.

You can learn more about working out when you’re overweight HERE.

It’s also great to rock superfood protein smoothies and nutritional drinks. You can check out my favorite protein powders here.

Walking to Jogging

Rear view of a female runner in shorts and a tank top sprinting up a hill on a sunny country road.

Cardiovascular exercise is one of the three main pillars of a fitness routine because it conditions your heart. Along with flexibility and strength training, it’s essential.

Also known as endurance training and aerobic exercise, it involves activity that raises your heartrate for an extended period of time, boosting VO2 Max and cardiorespiratory fitness.

Brisk walking is a great place to start and can gradually lead to jogging and running, so when you’ve got a good pair of shoes, here’s the plan:

Starter Cardio Routine

  • You obviously need to walk before you can run, so begin slowly.
  • Limber up. Start stretching, including your calves, before, during, and after walks or runs. There are tons of guides, videos, and tutorials on flexibility and stretching.
  • Pace yourself. I personally like to stop in the middle of a run to stretch, breathe, and catch a view. There’s a perfect little bridge where I prop one leg at a time and flex my hamstrings.
  • When you’re ready, pick up the pace. Start brisk walking.
  • Gradually increase your distance and pace.
  • Move to interval training, like Deidre Larkin did: Walk three steps, jog three steps.”
  • Connect deeply to your body. That’s a key thing. It’ll send signals about what you can and cannot do without over-stressing your machinery: heart, muscles, joints, tendons, back, etc. 
  • Watch your breath. Inhale and exhale steadily through both your nose and mouth.
  • Monitor your heart rate. If you’re concerned, interested, or have medical issues, there are plenty of heart rate gadgets for athletes and exercise plans. You can also check out this guide on resting heart rate and its applications.
  • Warm up. I’m a distance runner so I always start at a slow pace and build, sometimes shaking my hands, rolling my wrists and neck, and loosening my arms, legs, and ankles.
  • Once you’ve started jogging and doing it awhile and feel comfortable, up your game. Follow the same strategies of stretching and breathing as you shift to intervals of jog/run, jog/sprint, run/sprint, walk/run, walk/sprint, etc. Mix it up.

A solid exercise plan that goes the distance across decades absolutely requires a deep connectedness to your body. It’s all about what you can and cannot do without undue stress, strain, or other cautionary symptoms such as sharp pain, tightness in your arms, lungs, or chest, sporadic heart rate, blurred vison, dizziness, nausea, chills, or any other signs that something may be wrong.

Err on the side of caution. Even elite athletes have problems, so don’t overextend.

  • Dress light if you can. It feels better and your skin can breathe. However it may not be a good idea if you jog alone outside. Running at night, in unsafe locations, in skimpy clothing, or in desolate areas that were once a tad safer than they are now, is not advised. Sadly, society has changed. Treadmills and gyms? Not so much.
  • Don’t sweat it if you’re not ‘competitive.’ Plenty of folks run and workout only for themselves and for personal health benefits. Others find it meditative and healing. People who claim you’re not an ‘athlete’ unless you formally compete in high-profile events are wrong. I was no more an athlete on the college swim team than I am now running alone on a treadmill. If you workout regularly and achieve proficiency, you’re an athlete.
  • When you’re ready, add strength training. Join a gym and start pumping weights. Strength training is not only a key component of a good fitness plan, it supports cardio. Good gyms have amazing equipment, guides, classes, personal trainers, and more.
  • Cross-train. Engage in other forms of exercise such as cycling, tennis, swimming, ellipsis, stairs, dancing, whatever’s your thing. Gym machines like the ellipsis can help you lose weight during a weight loss cycle with reduced stress. It also boosts cardio and your walking/jogging/running plan.  

And by the way, to avoid lower-leg inflammation, knee pain, shin-splints, and more, right after you run or jog splash your legs down to your bare feet with ice cold water (or at least the coldest possible) for five minutes. It’s like a cold plunge for your lower extremities and works wonders.

It’s also good to hit a sauna afterwards—you can learn more here—and balance the training zones (Zone 1, Zone 2, and Zone 5):

Heart Rate Zones | Training Zones

  • Zone 1 is light exercise for beginners, the basics. For instance brisk walking, jogging, easy cycling that increases blood flow for 20-40 minutes at 50-60% of max heart rate.
  • Zone 2 is between 60-70% of max heart rate for 45 minutes or longer. It’s not so strenuous you’re breathless and can’t talk. It’s basically the highest mitochondrial exertion pre-lactate.    
  • Zone 5 is high-intensity 90-100% of max heart rate—you’re all in. Once trained, you should do some.        

Beginners can start at Zone 1, gradually adding Zones 2 and 5.

Just listen to your body, nail your sweet spot, then go all in. 🏃 

Fitness Action Plans

  • Fasting and intermittent fasting. 
  • Organic plant-based diet.
  • Saunas and hot baths.
  • Cold plunge and cold showers.
  • Interval training.
  • Cross-training.
  • Increased hydration.
  • Mindful breathing.
  • Restorative sleep.
  • Stress regulation.
  • Yoga and meditation.

In addition you may want to use an infrared sauna blanket at home. I got this one years back and it rocks. Click the image or HERE to learn more. (We may receive a commission if you purchase via our links.)

HigherDOSE Infrared Sauna Blanket clickable image with a girl in the blanket by a data list including ETL certification, 3rd party tested EMFs, non-toxic vegan, non-VOC, etc.

I also suggest taking baths. A leisurely hot soak can burn as many calories as a 30-minute walk. It also boosts cardio and the immune system. You can learn more here.

Click the image below or here for the best soak salt ever—a highly potent magnesium from the Zechstein sea with French green clay, brown algae, ACV, and a blend of turmeric, marjoram, and eucalyptus:

A clickable image showing a bag of Higher Dose Serotonin Soak Salts by a scoop of crystals on a bath caddy with instructions.

Best Workout Shoes

Even though I ran in Saucony for decades, lately I’ve been huge on Brooks. You can get women’s shoes on Amazon here; men’s here.

Home Treadmills

Having your own treadmill at home is convenient, private, and optimal. I haven’t been without one for decades. Check them out here 🏃👇

Nordic Track Treadmill

Peloton Tread

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Sauna to Cold Shower

Sauna Benefits

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Vegan Diet Plan

The medical and health topics covered on the PlateofGrass website and blog have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to prevent or cure any disease. This article and its content are for informational purposes only.

PlateofGrass is supported by our readers. We may receive compensation if you purchase a product through a link on our site.