Step aerobics: The height of the step depends on the individual's aerobic fitness level, leg length, stepping skill and coordination, choreography and music tempo. Individuals should use the lowest possible step height that will allow the individual to stay within an appropriate aerobic training zone (60-75% of an individual's maximum heart rate).
Beginners usually start with a four-inch step. As this height becomes easier, risers can be added. It is recommended to increase height at two-inch intervals to a maximum of 10 inches.
Choreography can also increase the level of difficulty of the workout. Intermediate and advanced step classes will include a series of jumps and hops, also known as power moves, to increase the aerobic intensity.
Kickboxing: 12 or 16oz. gloves may be added to the workout for additional resistance and protection and for sport specific training. Once gloves are added, the duration of punches needs to be reduced. Continuous punchingfor longer than 10-15 seconds is not recommended with the same arm.
Aerobics may enhance cardiovascular fitness and improve muscle tone.
Regular exercise may have a positive impact on an individual's health. For instance, obesity has been linked to an increased risk of hypertension, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and respiratory problems and some cancers. Since exercising regularly can help individuals maintain a healthy weight, it may also help reduce the risk of certain health problems.
Not only does exercise help control weight, but it also helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), regular exercise reduces the risk of dying prematurely or dying from heart disease. It also reduces the risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure or colon cancer. It has shown to reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. Physical fitness also promotes psychological well being.
Kickboxing: According to a study by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), cardio-kickboxing burns an average of 350-450 calories per hour.
In addition to improving and maintaining cardiovascular fitness, cardio-kickboxing increases strength and flexibility, improves coordination and balance and sharpens reflexes, according to ACE. Cardio-kickboxing is also believed to reduce stress
A qualified healthcare provider should be consulted before beginning any new exercise program.
To avoid soreness and injury, individuals contemplating an increase in physical activity should start out slowly and gradually build up to the desired amount. People with chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, or obesity, or who are at high risk for these problems should first consult a physician before beginning a new program of physical activity.
Stop exercising and inform the fitness instructor immediately if dizziness occurs.
Exercise can cause dehydration. Drink plenty of water before and after physical activity.
Step aerobics: The "loaded" knee (the lead leg that lifts body onto the step) should never flex beyond a 90-degree angle. The hip joint should always be a few inches higher than the knee.
Kickboxing: Even if physically fit, cardio-kickboxing poses considerable risk of joint injury, particularly for beginners and those who use incorrect form. Potential injuries can occur if participants overextend kicks, lock joints when throwing punches or kicking, exercise beyond fatigue or wear weights or dumbbells when throwing punches.
Tae Bo®: Most injuries during Tae Bo® occur due to poor form. Individuals are not advised to overextend kicks, lock joints when throwing punches or kicking, exercise beyond fatigue or wear weights or dumbbells when throwing punches.
This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).