1) You must like the exercises you do or they will eventually pass as a fad, not become part of your daily lifestyle.
2) Your primary exercise must be for the cardio-vascular system. It should be low impact for joint health. Your goal is 45 minutes of elevated heart rate in your target zone 3 times a week. To find your target heart rate Google it. I recommend walking in a hilly area, but I refer back to rule #1. You must like whatever you choose.
3) Your secondary exercise is stretching of joints.
a. The most important joints to stretch are the spinal joints. I recommend my stretching/exercise sheet for easy examples how to do this.
b. The only other joints of the body that need regular stretching are the hips, the shoulders, and the wrists. Ankles, knees, and elbows do not need to be stretched.
4) If you wish to add additional exercise to your lifestyle, this is where toning comes into play. My minimum recommendations are push-ups done on a 1-1.5’ high wall/coffee table. This angled approach to push-ups significantly reduces the risk of shoulder injury while maintaining toning of the muscles involved.
The exercise buff or instructor would point out that this program neglects many muscle groups and ignores many measurable aspects of fitness. He would be correct. I do this intentionally as this article is about practical exercise, not optimal exercise. It is about finding the minimum exercise program for the maximum benefit, or what we could call exercise value.
Stretch your spine every day. Exercise your heart 3 times a week. Do some minimal toning exercises for your arms/shoulders. If you want to do more fantastic, but if you do less, you will one day come to regret your inactivity, your laziness, your inability just to find the time. You have to plan your life around your health, not your health around your life.