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Step aerobics is an up-tempo way to get your heart pumping and stay fit.

Doing this choreographed cardio workout as part of a group exercise class can help build motivation and create a sense of community. You can also do it on your own as long as you have an adjustable step or a similar item to use.

Step aerobics has all the benefits of a high-intensity cardio workout without putting stress on your joints. It improves overall fitness by building strength, reducing fat, and boosting your cardiovascular health.

It also burns calories, making it an ideal way to maintain your target body weight.

Research has even shown that doing step aerobics can boost mood and energy levels.

The moves target your legs, upper body, and core, building strength and flexibility. They also improve your balance, coordination, and agility. The social component of a group class can be beneficial in forging new connections and may help to raise motivation levels.

Step aerobics is helpful in managing blood pressure and diabetes. People with osteoporosis or osteopenia can do this low-impact exercise to improve bone strength. People with arthritis can use a chair or stable object for extra balance during a step class.

All you need to do step aerobics is some type of step or platform. You can do some of these moves on your own to gain confidence before joining a class or make them part of your regular home practice.

Here’s a routine that you can use as a base to build your own program. Alternate sides and don’t use the same leading foot for longer than a minute.

Basic right

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  1. Step onto the step with the right foot.
  2. Step up with the left foot.
  3. Step down backward with the right foot.
  4. Step down backward with the left foot.

Basic left

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  1. Step onto the step with the left foot.
  2. Step up with the right foot.
  3. Step down backward with the left foot.
  4. Step down backward with the right foot.

Turnstep move

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  1. Begin standing sideways to the step.
  2. Step up with the right foot.
  3. Turn as you bring the left foot up onto the step.
  4. Step down with the right foot.
  5. Bring the left foot down to meet the right.

A-step move

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  1. Begin standing next to the bench, facing sideways.
  2. Step up to the center of the step with the right foot.
  3. Lift the left foot to meet the right.
  4. Step down and back to the opposite side with the right foot.
  5. Bring the left foot to meet the right.

Across the top move

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  1. Start facing sideways.
  2. Step up sideways with the right foot.
  3. Step up with the left foot.
  4. Step off the other side of the step with the right foot.
  5. Step down with the left foot.
  6. Tap up.
  7. Step up with the right foot.
  8. Step up and tap step with the left foot.
  9. Step down with the left foot.
  10. Step down with the right foot.

Charleston

  1. Step forward with the right foot to the left side of the step.
  2. Step forward with the left foot and raise your knee, kick, or tap the floor.
  3. Step the left foot back.
  4. Step backward and lunge back with the right foot.
  5. Hop turn.
  6. Stand sideways and step up with the right foot.
  7. Raise the left knee as you pivot on the ball of the right foot.
  8. Bring the left foot down on the other side of the step.
  9. Step down with the right foot to meet the left.
  10. Stand sideways and step up with the right foot.
  11. Step the left foot up in front of the right.
  12. Step the right foot off the far side of the step.
  13. Step off with the left foot.

Use a non-slip surface

For safety, use a non-slip board.

Don’t use the step

Remember, you can also leave out the raised surface and do these moves on the ground. Step and move with the same amount of purpose as if you were stepping up. You can still get a great workout.

Adjust the height of your step

The height of your step can range from 4 to 10 inches high depending on your fitness and skill levels. Lower the height if you experience pain or discomfort.

Use a height that doesn’t cause your knee joint to bend more than 90 degrees when your weight is on this leg. Don’t hyperextend your knees or spine.

Practice your form and posture

Maintain good posture and alignment by gently engaging your abdominals and gluteal muscles. Keep your chest lifted as you draw your shoulders back and down, tucking your pelvis slightly under. Keep your neck straight and relaxed.

Use your ankles and legs

To step up, bend from your ankles rather than your waist. Press firmly into your grounded foot as you lift the other to step up. This prevents you from putting too much stress on your lower back.

Take a complete step

Place your entire foot on the step without any part hanging over the edge.

Step softly

Don’t pound your feet when stepping. Use soft steps.

Take small steps

When stepping down, place your feet no further than one shoe length away from the platform and press into your heels for shock absorption. If a move requires you to step further back, press into the front of your foot.

Get comfortable with the footwork

Make sure you have a solid handle of the footwork before adding in anything extra. Start in a beginner class until you get the hang of it and want to advance your practice.

Use your arms to up the difficulty

While you’re learning footwork or working on your cardio and stamina, keep things simple by holding your hands on your hips or at your sides. If and when you want more cardio, add arm movements into the routine.

Some classes use jump ropes, resistance bands, and kettlebells. You can make it more difficult by using ankle or hand weights and incorporating arm movements. However, all of these should be used with caution since they can lead to injury.

The staying power and popularity of step aerobics speaks for itself. If you’re looking for a fun, social workout to add to your routine, try a step aerobics class. Get into the groove and have fun with it.

You may start to truly enjoy it and find the time passing quickly as you reap all of its benefits. Make step aerobics a part of a healthy lifestyle that includes plenty of exercise, a healthy diet, and stress-reducing activities.

Talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise program, especially if you take any medications, have any health concerns or injuries, or plan to do a high-intensity class.