Hey Hot Stuff! You don’t need a leotard or legwarmers for our Step class with Jennifer DeMarco. Your baggy sweats, yoga pants, or shorts will do just fine. “Step Aerobics is a program that most people will recognize as a holdover from the 80’s and 90’s,” says Jennifer. “It’s still popular today because it’s a low-impact, high-intensity workout.”
Our class takes place in the Kuchumaa Gym. We can turn the music up a little louder and have enough floor space to spread out and get stepping. “The ideal tempo, the beat of the music, is between 118 and 122 beats per minute,” she says, smiling. “That’s the safe zone where we maximize Step’s benefits and a great workout.” Faster steps, she tells me, lead to not fully planting our feet, landing more on our toes, and never getting a complete stand with our leg straightening out. And, if you want to skip our morning hikes, a Step class is equivalent to running three and a half miles during the 50-minute class. It’s like climbing the stairs but simplified down to just one stair.
“Another reason this is a great workout,” Jennifer adds,” is that hiking up and down hills can be intimidating if a person has concerns about their knees or lower back. Step is a really great alternative.” The history of Step Aerobics goes back to the 1980s. Gin Miller, a fitness instructor in Atlanta, was told by her doctor to step up and down on a milk crate to rehabilitate her knee. Ta da! Step Aerobics was born.
Maybe the most fun part is the tempo of the music. A research study at San Diego State University by Dr. Peter Francis found that music with a tempo of 118 – 122 beats per minute is perfect to get your body moving. And that’s precisely what disco star Donna Summer delivers. So go ahead and pull up those legwarmers, put your leotard on, and join us for Step class. It’s ok. No one’s taking pictures.