I am mainly trying to improve overall health. I'm not training for any particular goal. I only wish to get/stay healthy.
Here is my two cents -- I think you can define this more. What does healthy look like to you? Most people asking questions on Fitness.SE want to know how to pack on muscle, developing bodybuilding physique, lose weight (and fast), lose ...
To quote Dan John:
If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there.
You say you're training to get / stay healthy, which is great, but it depends on your definition of health.
Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being in which disease and infirmity are absent (from Wikipedia)
The state of being well, without ...
Since you asked about quality, I'd like to add something to your list, which is posture. I danced ballet for about ten years, and in ballet, bad posture isn't acceptable. When I was too old for ballet, I started lifting weights. The postural habits I see in the weight room are appalling. For example, many people have kyphotic posture - including healthy, ...
The squat is a compound movement that will work every muscle in your legs. The classic squat is the best overall leg and low back compound movement one can perform to build strength with.
Other variations of the squat include but are not limited to
High bar squat, zercher squat, overhead squat, split squat, belt squat, goblet squat and others
As for a beginner, I'd suggest you do both: Cardio and strength all-in-one!
This can be achieved on the spinning bike (by increasing its resistance), on the step machine or on the rowing machine.
Also, hill climbing (essentially running upwards) is considered cardio and strength as well, just read my post about hill climbing here.
partial reps can only give partial results at best and in some cases such as with squats can cause damage by putting stress on the knees without engaging the muscles that a full range of motion (just below parallel) squat is meant to strengthen. Rather than doing partial reps it would be best to focus on proper form with lower weights.
When following a ...