Stretch long and slow. This is true for beginner cardio exercises as well as more advanced workouts. Never jump directly into an exercise without stretching.
Visualize your muscles long and lean. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then repeat. Gradually increase the length of each stretch.
Warm up for at least 5 minutes. Warm up to stimulate blood flow, stretch muscles and give your body time to adjust.
Focus on your breathing. This is especially important in beginner cardio exercises because your body may have trouble adjusting to the increased strain and your muscles will require more oxygen. A good recommendation is to take a few yoga or Pilates classes as part of your cardio workout regimen to learn proper breathing techniques.
Swim laps. Swimming is the perfect beginner's cardio exercise because it provides a cardio workout as well as overall body and muscle toning and is extremely low impact.
Try a spinning class. Spinning is another excellent beginner cardio workout to participate in because it is lower impact than running and it burns a lot of calories. Spinning can burn upwards of 600 calories per hour while toning you thighs, calves and buttocks. Learn more about spinning at iVillage Total Health (see Resources below).
Hit your target heart range, about 60 to 70 percent of your maximum for fat burning purposes, and keep it there. Beginners should keep do this for about 30 minutes at least three times per week, then gradually increase it to 60 minutes as fitness improves.
Let your body cool down. Slow down gradually and let your heart rate decrease for about 5 minutes before stopping, then finish off the workout by stretching.