Step aerobics used to be very popular some time back. Are you still doing it? If you are I don’t suppose you have done it for many years. To some it was a civilised alternative to straight aerobics dancing.
Step aerobics is based on stepping up and down on a platform, in time to music of course. it can be good fun, and is good for the leg muscles and to get some aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is when your body works hard enough to raise the heart beat by 40 per cent or so.
You use a platform about 30 inches by 15 inches and four to twelve inches high, according to your level of fitness. First, you step on to the platform landing at a particular point, with one foot, then bring the other foot up alongside. Then you step down to a different place with your feet in turn. There are many different movements you can do to make it more interesting, but you always have to lift your body up to get on the step.
More vigorous exercise than aerobic dancing
Proponents of step aerobics point out that it is simpler than aerobic dancing, and that you don’t have to learn many movements. Step aerobics is more vigorous than aerobic dancing, because you have to lift your body weight up instead of just moving it around. How vigorous it is depends on the instructor.
Step aerobics certainly provides aerobic exercise that improves your fitness, strengthen your heart and make you less likely to suffer heart disease. There is some evidence to suggest that step aerobics increases your ‘good’ cholesterol while reducing overall cholesterol levels. However, one eight-week study of a group of women who did step aerobics showed many positive benefits, but did not affect their weight. Don’t expect step aerobics alone to reduce your weight – you will need to eat less, better food.
Is step aerobics really good for you?
Like jogging, though, step aerobics has its detractors. Why? Well, because in doing all that stepping up on a block you are straining your knee joints which are very delicate. In fact if you work too hard at you can damage your joints.
If you are young and healthy, step aerobics is probably OK. But if you are overweight and middle aged, it is definitely not a good idea.
In fact, the old fashioned aerobic exercises like swimming, vigorous hill walking and cycling or roller skating are probably the best forms of aerobic exercise. We could add a new one – power walking – but you need to power along.