Aerobic exercises come in different forms and shapes from running, walking, jogging, swimming, and biking. Then there is step aerobics.
Step aerobics, however, is not your ordinary aerobics. It is a classic high-intensity cardio workout that involves stepping on and off cardio equipment.
Step aerobics trainer Philip Luchebeleli says steps aerobics is an intense entire-body cardiovascular workout involving using steps during training.
He explains that the workout comes in different forms and though intense, combines effectiveness and fun in the process.
“If you want to shed fat fast, take up step aerobic exercises for weight loss. Step aerobics make it more effective and fun as it boosts mood and energy levels,” he says.
Just like aerobic exercises, step aerobics is a great way to lose weight through burning calories, improving lung capacity, and increasing heart rate while also boosting metabolism and kick-starting the body’s normal rhythm and functioning.
This as the moves involved work on the legs, upper body, and core, building strength and flexibility in the process as well as improving a person’s balance, coordination, and agility leading to improved overall fitness and individual's cardiovascular health.
“One needs to be patient as there are moves and terms that one needs to master. If you are overweight, you have to gradually increase the duration of the sessions as you build your fitness,” advises the trainer.
He says that step aerobics is becoming popular with fitness enthusiasts with beginner, intermediate and advanced classes made available to cater to all types of individuals.
“A few years ago I used to have a few step classes but now I am being called to many gyms. I don’t even have free days,” says the trainer.
However, to maximise results, one has to be consistent because skipping any session will mean that an individual will have to start from zero on resumption.
The trainer adds that one therefore also has to be patient, focused and consistent to learn the moves and avoid getting injured.
“Depending on an individual’s objective, if you just want to keep fit then three times a week is fine but for losing weight five days in a week is recommended,” says Luchebeleli.
“Workout is only 30 percent of the work but food intake accounts for the rest. An individual should observe a clean diet and give him or herself between three and four months to start seeing results,” he adds.
Basic left and right
This involves standing in front of a step box and marching along with the music beats as one places the right foot on the step and then the left one.
V-Step For this, place a step box in front of you then place the right foot on the step box in a diagonal direction. Place the left foot on the step box in the left diagonal direction with the feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Place the right foot on the ground in its initial position and then the left foot.
Charleston Place the left foot on the step box in front of the right leg then lift the right foot off the floor, lean back a little, and kick the right leg. Place the right leg back on the floor and then place the left foot on the floor and repeat from step one.
Repeater This involves standing with your feet close together and then placing the left leg on the step box diagonally to the right. After, lift the right leg off the floor, bend the knees, and kick up but do not crunch. Place the right foot back on the floor. Then, place the left leg on the floor. Place the right leg on the step diagonally to the left before lifting the left leg off the floor, bend the knees, and kick it up.
Across the top
Place a step box on your right then step on the step box from the right and get down on the left. Step on the box from the left and get down on the right 20 times.
Begin standing sideways to the step, step up with the right foot and then turn as you bring the left foot up onto the step. Step down with the right foot and bring the left foot down to meet the right.
While performing the moves, Mr Luchebeleli advises that a person should maintain good posture and alignment by gently engaging the abdominals and gluteal muscles.
One should also not use slippery step surfaces, adjust the height of the steps depending on the level of fitness and skills, step softly and take small steps not more than one shoe length away from the platform.
He further recommends that one should get the right sports shoes as there are specific shoes for step aerobics where the soles have to be very soft so that when stepping they can bounce up and down.
The trainer says that the way one steps is key, advising that while stepping up, only the ankles and not the waist should bend and the entire foot should be placed on the step without any part hanging over the edge.
“The tempo of the music you are using should not be very fast as one can run the risk of missing the steps and falling hence injuries. In class, do not depend on your neighbor by copying what they are doing. Focus on the trainer and do what the trainer is doing.”