Aerobics is a program of physical conditioning designed to enhance circulatory and respiratory efficiency that involves vigorous sustained exercise.
Certified instructors lead a wide variety of aerobics classes at fitness centers or gyms. However, television programs and videos are also available so individuals can workout in the privacy of their own home.
A typical aerobics class lasts about 30-60 minutes. Aerobic workouts typically begin with a warm-up routine and end with a cool-down segment that includes stretching exercises.
Step aerobics: Step aerobics is one form of aerobics that involves stepping up onto and down from a portable platform (the step). While step aerobics is an aerobic activity, the platform also allows for strength training.
Kickboxing: Kickboxing is a generic term for a sporting martial art that, while similar to boxing, uses the feet as well as the hands for striking. Kickboxing classes (also known as cardio-kickboxing) have become a popular form of aerobic exercise.
Cardio-kickboxing classes vary but generally feature a variety of punches, kicks, knee strikes and other self-defense moves interspersed with a bouncing "base" move.
Some cardio-kickboxing classes spend at least part of the time kicking and punching weighted, padded targets or engaging in actual sparring. The class may also incorporate traditional exercises, such as jumping jacks, abdominal crunches, leg lifts and push-ups to create a total body workout.
Tae Bo®: Tae Bo® is an exercise program combining elements of boxing, dance, and tae kwon do to provide an overall workout. It combines self-awareness and control of martial arts, the focus and strength of boxing and the grace and rhythm of dance. Tae Bo® stands for: Total, Awareness, Excellence, Body, Obedience.
Tae Bo® was developed by seven-time World Martial Arts Champion Billy Blanks in 1976. The first Tae Bo® workout video was released in 1998.
Certified Tae Bo® instructors lead the classes at fitness centers or gyms. However, instructional videos are also available so individuals can workout in the privacy of their own home.
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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.