i recommend searching forums for threads such as 'which distro best for me', as there are countless threads about this.
any distro will work. and many people will tell you different distros to try.
since the hardware is on the older and less powerful side, i think any distro with a light desktop environment would work nice.
for an out-of-the-box distro, and for a new user, i recommend xubuntu
. its based on Ubuntu, but with the XFCE desktop environment, which is easier on older hardware. this is a pretty straight forward distro with alot of automatic hardware detection and installation and easy software management.
if your serious about learning linux, i would recommend slackware. it includes many desktop environments, such as GNOME, KDE, fluxbox, and blackbox. the latter two are incredibly light window managers which would run fast on your hardware. slackware is a more manual linux distribution, though. so it takes more time, learning, and reading. which are all good.
in the end, its up to you. i say start with anythign.