If you want a workout that will get your heart pumping, challenge your balance, test your coordination and memory and improve bone density, then step up. All you need is a step-bench and a good pair of shoes. Step aerobics has come a long way since the 80s, and you no longer need a leotard to try it. Click here if you still want that 80s playlist.
What to expect in the workout: If you’re going to a group fitness class or taking cues from a DVD, expect to sweat. You’ll be using your leg muscles quite a bit, but the impact on the ankles and knees is very limited. You can choose your intensity by changing the levels of the step and taking modifications for most of the movements. Expect to feel winded if this is your first time, and for those fitness junkies out there, expect to work the muscles from a new angle.
The results are in: According to Harvard Health, just 30 minutes of step aerobics can burn 210 to 300 calories. After doing it a few times, you’ll notice increased overall stamina, muscle and cardio endurance, a more stable core and maybe even some weight loss. Leg muscles will begin to tone up, especially the smaller stabilizing muscles that give the body a leaner look.
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Hand weights are often added as well as repetitions of three. The moves will begin simply and advance as you go on. Here are a few common movements you’ll see in almost every step workout:
Around the World: With the bench long-ways at your side, take the closer foot and step up, then lift the other knee up and down, landing on the floor. Take the foot off the bench and move it to the other side, so you’re straddling the bench top. Repeat on the other side. That’s only half of it. Take an inside turn and face the opposite direction and repeat both legs again.
Straddle: With the bench at your side, step both feet onto the bench, one at a time. If you bring your left up first, then step your left off first, back to the ground.
Corner to Corner: With the bench in front you, step one foot up with your body turn diagonally. Lift the grounded leg up with a bent knee, step it back to the floor and have the other foot follow. Repeat on the side.