By Carrie Dorr
I’m from the era of Step Aerobics. I logged many hours teaching double risers, double steps and repeater knees in my day…all while sporting a scrunchie and blasting Maneater.
20 years ago, teacher training did not include learning about safe choreography and class design. We kept it HIGH-impact for about 50 of the 60-minute class with some token abs and a 2-minute stretch at the end. Shocker…many people began to experience pain in their knees, hips, ankles and backs and we saw the Step fade away.
The Step however is a fantastic tool for getting your heart rate up and the problem wasn’t Step Aerobics but rather how we were creating programming utilizing the step.
With each passing birthday, different things subconsciously pop on to my radar. The most recent entrant, Heart Health. Turns out Heart Disease is the number one cause of death for both women and men in America. As we age, plaque can build up on the walls of our arteries making it difficult for blood to flow around the body.
There are 2 ways to reduce the risk of heart disease: a healthy diet which we’ve discussed here on the Blog and aerobic exercise..aka, cardio. If you’re interested in diving deeper, check out this article by The American Journal of Cardiology which compares the effects of aerobic exercise to resistance training on the heart.
Cardio seems to bring polarity. People either love it and only want to do it or they would prefer to do ANY form of strength training before bringing themselves to do cardio. As with all things in life, a balance is key but your heart is a muscle and the way to exercise your heart muscle is by doing aerobic exercise, ab work won’t do it. Running, jogging, biking, CDM intervals (!!) are examples. You need to be moving fast enough to raise your heart rate and breathe harder (although remember you should still be able to talk to someone while you’re doing it).
When you are working on the Step, you have to focus on patterns as well as not falling off the thing. Thus, cardio, sneaks in and you are aerobic before you know it. The step also allows for taking any movement and choosing whether to perform it at a low-impact or high-impact, both choices keeping your heart rate up which is awesome and pretty unique.
So, if you are a person who consistently chooses, yoga, pilates or barre, the Step might be a great way for you to find enjoyment in cardio. If you are a runner or cyclist, it’s a great option for bringing in some cardio variety and mixing things up.
With smart programming, the Step is safe, sustainable, effective and in my opinion, lots of fun! You can find it in on CDM Online as well as In-Studio in Denver, sans scrunchie.