Aerobic exercise is an important part of a well-rounded exercise routine. Many different forms of exercise can give you an effective cardiovascular workout, and step aerobics is one of them. Step aerobics was introduced in the 1980s as part of the aerobics craze, and is still utilized in gyms and health clubs for a complete body workout. Step aerobics can be an intense workout, so consult your doctor for a check-up before you start.
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A step aerobics session typically consists of sets of choreographed movements performed on a raised platform. The movements are usually accompanied by music and are designed to work the lower body, upper body and cardiovascular system. The step can be any type of raised bench, but in gyms and health clubs, plastic aerobic steps with nonslip surfaces on the top are used. You can do step aerobics at home by creating your own routine or following a video, or as part of a class at your health club.
Exercising with an aerobic step provides several fitness benefits that can help you in other sports and in daily life. Regular sessions will provide both cardiovascular and muscular endurance. Incorporating both upper and lower body movements together will improve your coordination and agility, and the constant push up onto the step will increase leg strength.
Along with making you a better athlete, aerobic stepping will also benefit your overall health. The intense cardiovascular workout will make your heart and lungs work more efficiently. The calorie burning aspect of the exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight, and avoid weight-related problems such as diabetes, heart disease and joint pain.
As you progress with step aerobics, it is possible to make the exercise more challenging with a few modifications. Most aerobic steps come with extra sections to make the step higher. Increasing the height will make your workout more difficult. You can also incorporate more arm movement into the routine, raising your arms up over your head, or even using light weights for added resistance. Lastly, you can always increase the tempo of the music and your moves for greater fat burning.
While performing step aerobics is safe compared to many other types of exercise, certain precautions should still be followed. Remember to do a proper 10 to 15 minute warmup and cool down with each exercise session to avoid injury. Also, when working out, place your whole foot on the step each time, in a heel to toe motion to help avoid injury to your Achilles tendon just above your heel.