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All About Step Aerobics

By: Mike Kiely BA (hons) - Updated: 1 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 step Technique Music Instructor

The fitness industry is constantly coming up with new formulas for making fitness and toning both exciting and challenging. But Step remains an old favourite for many quite simply because it constituted their first venture into an exercise class, and also because it really is fun. It’s low impact, too, so it can be enjoyed by seniors, children and pregnant women as well as individuals who may have issues with their joints.

As the name suggests, we’re talking about a class based around a platform – the step – which can be adjusted upwards in height to intensify the physical challenge.Your instructor will take you through each move, which is accompanied by music tracks from pop and rock to Latin and funk that are designed to capture the mood and inspire.

Off on the Wrong Foot

Learning to interact with the step takes time, but make sure that you don’t become impatient or, worse still, quite literally get off on the wrong foot by ignoring the importance of technique as this can result in injury. For basic moves, aim to land dead centre every time on the step, keep your body shape nice and upright, and when stepping down ensure your foot lands naturally in a sequence of toe-ball-heel.

Don’t worry about step instability, either. As long as you don’t place your weight on either the front or back of the platform, it is not going to topple over. The board isn’t going to slide from under you either thanks to the rubber surface and non-slip feet.

So what is a step class going to offer you physically? Well those large lower body muscles in the bottom and thighs are obviously going to be in the thick of the action. Good technique will tackle those calf muscle issues, too. Good posture will also mean those core areas around the lower back and abdominals are going to be working as well. As regards general fitness, this is a cardiovascular session that will have your heart pumping and your lungs expanding in deep breaths that will release endorphins and promote the feel-good factor that is all part of the exercise buzz.

Up the Work Rate

If you want to up the work rate or give your shoulders and upper arms something to think about, the addition of some hand weights will make all the difference.Newcomers should always remember to start off slowly and build in order that the body can develop at its own speed. Attempting to go too fast, too quickly will drastically effect enjoyment of the class simply because you will be tired out long before the instructor calls for the warm down. Be patient and the rewards will not be too long in coming as you get to grips with moves that glory in intriguing names such as the revolving door, the rocking horse and the mambo.Of course, you can invest in a step for around £50 and exercise at home. But nothing beats the sight of your fellow class mates in full flow. They may even end up looking to you for inspiration. Now there’s a thought.

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