Have you ever heard of step aerobics? If you haven’t it might be time to look into it. Stepping up and down in a variety of ways may not seem all that beneficial to your health, but that is not quite so. The benefits of step aerobics are actually quite diverse and pretty big too. Things like cardiovascular health, mental health, bone strength, and muscle strength are just a few of the many benefits that you can reap from this type of exercise. Keep reading and find out why you might want to start doing some step-ups on a regular basis!
What is Step Aerobics?
Step aerobics is a form of exercise that involves stepping up and down onto a stationary block. This is a high-intensity exercise that combines cardio with weight training to provide for a great workout. For step aerobics you can use a specialized stepping block, your stairs, or even a sturdy box too. There are a vast variety of step aerobic exercises that you can do including the basic step, the tap up, the grapevine, the repeater, the “A”, “I”, and “V” steps, the corner to corner, and the turn step too. Step aerobics is great for everybody so you might just want to give it a try.
Benefit #1: Cardiovascular Health
One of the things which step aerobics is best for is your cardiovascular health. Several studies have shown that engaging in 1 hour of step aerobics is roughly equal to running 7 miles. We don’t mean jogging 7 miles, we mean running 7 miles at a very fast pace. Step Aerobics is a fantastic way to get both your lungs and your heart to work at an increased rate.
Of course, forcing your cardiovascular system to work at an increased rate means that you are training it to be better and stronger. Some simple step aerobics will train your heart, a muscle, to be more efficient and to pump blood throughout your body much easier.
A more efficient heart means that you have a decreased chance from suffering from heart and artery diseases and will also improve your workout results. More blood being pumped to your muscles at an increased efficiency means that your muscles are getting more oxygen.
Therefore step aerobics causes your muscles to have more stamina, to grow quicker, and to recover faster too. This is combined with the fact that aerobic exercise helps your lungs process oxygen better, yet another factor which leads to increased cardiovascular health and an easier time working out as well.
In essence, step aerobics makes your heart and lungs much healthier, thus reducing the chance of cardiovascular related illness and improving the way you can work out at the same time.
Benefit #2: Musculoskeletal Health
The next reason as to why you should try doing step aerobics is because it helps to increase your musculoskeletal health. Your musculoskeletal health has to do with the density and strength of your bones, hence the word skeletal being present. In other words, doing step aerobics can increase your bone health and ward off problems in the future.
Step aerobics is a weight bearing exercise, the type of exercise which is best for increasing bone mass and bone density. This is because weight bearing exercises such as stepping up and down like with step aerobics forces your bones to generate more mass.
The constant strain and pressure caused by weight bearing exercises stimulate your bones to create more bone cells, thus increasing their density, size, and strength. You may not think that bones can do that, but it’s actually more or less the same process as muscle growth. Working out the bones causes them to grow.
Healthier bones are great because they make you more mobile, help you balance better, and of course combat the effects of degenerative bone diseases too. Studies show that weight bearing exercises such as step aerobics are great for reducing the effects of degenerative bone diseases such as osteoporosis, that or even prevent it from occurring in the future.
Benefit #3: Step Aerobics Is Low Impact
One of the biggest benefits of engaging in step aerobics as a primary form of exercise is that it is low impact. Low impact exercises are defined as those which make you keep 1 foot on the ground at all times, therefore lowering the stress and impact on your joints. There are some studies which show that high impact exercises are good for the joints and can make them stronger, which may be true in some cases. Yet this is only true for people that have healthy joints to begin with and may actually make them stronger.
However, for people that already suffer from bone and joint problems such as osteoporosis, high impact exercises like running can cause more harm than good. People who have weak ankles or knees or for those who suffer from degenerative bone diseases definitely want to engage in low impact exercises as opposed to high impact ones. The same is true for beginners who are not used to strenuous exercise.
One convenient thing about step aerobics is that it can actually come in the form of both a high impact and low impact exercise. You can engage in moderate step aerobics which is classified as low impact or you can step things up, make your routine more intense, and turn your step aerobics routine into a high impact affair.
The choice here is yours to make and whether you want to engage in low or high impact exercises depends on your own health and fitness level. Thanks to the nature of step aerobics it can be both of those things. You should be aware that the high impact version will help you burn more calories as opposed to the low impact version, however depending on your health it may better for your bones.
Benefit #4: Weight Loss
One of the biggest benefits that you can get from doing step aerobics is that it will help you lose a ton of weight. Since step aerobics is a form of cardiovascular exercise and weight bearing exercise, the number of calories that you burn with a good routine is outstanding. Step aerobics burns a lot of calories, thus keeping them off of your belly and waistline. Plus if you burn more calories than you consume, you will also burn off existing fat.
It is shown that a 45 minute of step aerobics can help you burn up to 450 calories. Keep in mind that the number of calories burned from step aerobics does depend on the intensity of your routine, but even a simple routine can burn several hundred calories.
That means that you can eat an extra burger every day without gaining weight, that or you can have a good diet and actually trim down on your belly fat. High-impact step aerobics is one of the best ways in which you can burn fat and lose weight. If you want to burn as many calories as possible you need to step up and down faster, plus you need to increase the height of the steps as well.
Having a healthy body weight is, of course, essential for a number of different reasons. Being overweight or even obese can cause bone and joint issues, heart problems, lung issues, stroke, diabetes, and even more. Step aerobics is a great way to stay in shape and help reduce the risk of all of those health problems.
Benefit #5: Mental Health
A really great part about step aerobics is that it can help increase your mental health. Exercise of any form including step aerobics causes your brain to release chemicals known as endorphins. Endorphins are the things which make you feel happy, give you a sense of elation, and make you feel more satisfied with everything.
Without enough endorphins, you might become depressed, tired, and you may be severely affected by things like stress and anxiety. The feel happy chemicals produced by your brain during exercise help to combat all of those mental issues. People suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental issues may greatly benefit from engaging in exercise such as step aerobics.
Benefit #6: Leg Strength
Since step aerobics involves using your legs for the vast majority of the routine, your leg strength will greatly benefit from them. One of the reasons as to why it is so great for your leg muscles is because step ups are a unilateral movement. This means that doing a step up forces you to exercise each leg separately, thus increasing your single-legged balance and the ability to use each leg separately.
Step aerobics and step ups are great because they utilize virtually every leg in the muscle, therefore making it one of the best ways to increase leg strength. Step ups are a type of strength training for your legs, thus they are also great for cyclists and runners because it will complement any cycling or running routine. Step aerobics will tone your muscles and definitely make your glutes look better too.
Benefit #7: More Efficient Metabolic Rate
Another benefit to be had from engaging in step aerobics and other forms of cardiovascular exercise is that your metabolism will increase drastically. Your metabolism functions by producing proteins which break down fats in your body. These proteins break down both the calories that you ingest as well as the fat which is already stored on your body.
The more you exercise the more of these proteins your body produces. When you exercise your body goes through a modification of the DNA, which results in more of those proteins being created and ultimately more fat being burned. In other words, engaging in step aerobics will let you eat more, burn more fat, and keep more weight off with ease.
A high-intensity exercise routine can also increase your body’s production of HGH or human growth hormone. As you get older your body produces less human growth hormone, thus spurring on the aging process and also decreasing your metabolism. Step aerobics will increase the amount of human growth hormone that your body produces, therefore also increasing your metabolic rate.
Benefit #8: Step Aerobics Is Versatile
The final benefit of step aerobics that we want to talk about has to do with the fact that it is very versatile. First of all, people of all fitness levels can engage in step aerobics because it can easily be modified. Beginners can go slow and not have the stepping level up too high or fitness experts can go full speed and elevate the stepping platform as high as possible.
Step aerobics is also very versatile because you can do it virtually anywhere. With a stepper, a ledge, or a sturdy box, you can engage in step aerobics pretty much wherever you want. It can be done in your home, at the gym, on the sidewalk, or in a park as well.
This type of exercise is also great because it is very cheap. Sure you can buy a stepper to use, but you can also use something as simple as the stairs in your home, thus making it very cost efficient. The other great part about step aerobics is that it is very easy to do. Not to mention that you can do these exercises by yourself or you can take a class too.
The benefits of step aerobics can be reaped by everybody. Beginners and experts, men and women, young and old, everyone can engage in this type of exercise and get all of the advantages from it. Simply stepping up and down onto some steps for 45 minutes will let you burn up to 450 calories and will keep you looking great. A simple step up routine will train your heart, lungs, bones, muscles, and much more. When it comes to aerobic exercise, step aerobics is one of the best options out there. If you have never tried step aerobics before, you might want to start soon because the benefits are numerous!