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Yes, You Can Do Aerobic Dance!
Page 2: Advice and Information

Who shouldn't bother with aerobic dance? If you seriously have a problem moving and counting to four at the same time, one count for each step, then aerobics is probably not for you. If you can count to eight while moving, then there's a chance you may actually become good at it. If you really hate rhythmic, contemporary music, then aerobics is probably not for you either, since that's mostly what gets played in class. That said, there are a number of videos out there with music that's not as loud and potentially annoying. People have made aerobics videos with soundtracks of african drums, gospel and oldies, so if you're working out at home, you do have some choices. Can you step-touch? Meaning, can you take a step to the side and bring your other foot to meet it? Can you march in place? Can you step forward with one foot and then raise the other knee? Can you step forward with one foot and, while standing on that foot, raise the other knee three times? If you can do that, then you've already performed an aerobics move - it's called a "repeater" (a rather obvious name for repeating the same move more than once). It only gets better from here on.

(Article continued below.)

Here is some general information and advice about aerobics:

  • Dress properly, including and especially your shoes! The right shoes can make your aerobics class a joy; the wrong ones can cause injury. With aerobics, you are moving sideways quite a bit, as opposed to forward, like you do when you walk or run. Shoes made especially for aerobics are built to handle these sideways movements. If you don't want to invest in shoes specifically for aerobics right away, at the very least make sure you have cross-trainers - that way, if aerobics don't work out for you, you can use them for other activities. But if you wind up liking aerobics, do buy aerobics shoes. And make sure there is ample toe space - there's nothing worse than moving non-stop for 45 minutes with your big toe jammed into the front of your shoe. As for the rest of your clothing, keep in mind you're probably going to sweat (after all, that's part of the point), so wear something light. You don't have to be stylish or get a whole new aerobics wardrobe (unless you want to) - you can wear the same clothes that you already work out in, at least from the ankles up. If you're a woman, make sure you're wearing an athletic bra that gives you a lot of support, even if you're doing low-impact aerobics - a jogging bra, at the very least. You really don't want to be flopping around - it's uncomfortable, and if you're more than a B cup, it's downright painful.
  • If you're taking a class at a gym or a studio, show up early the first time and let the instructor know you're a beginner. That way he or she can take some extra time with you or at least make sure you're in a spot where you can see what's going on. You certainly don't have to be in the front (as was mentioned before, that's where the most experienced students generally like to congregate anyway), but don't skulk around in the back where you'll never see what the instructor is doing. Make sure you have enough space around you - just gauge it by what the other students are doing. Don't worry about anyone looking at you - they aren't. They're too busy worrying about their own moves to check out yours.
  • Start off with a simple class, something with a name like "Beginning Aerobics" or "Hi-Lo I." Don't even think about the "Tae-Yo-Fusion-Funk-Pump III" class yet! Maybe these fancy classes sound like fun - maybe they even are fun, once you really know what you're doing. If you're just learning to walk and count to four at the same time, do not even consider any class with the word "funk" in the title - it will only frustrate you. Go as basic as possible. When you're starting to get bored of basic, then try something more advanced or adventuresome, like a funk class or a Step class. A note on Step classes (these are classes that use a step platform) - you can start off doing aerobics with a beginning Step class, but you really should be familiar with the floor moves first. It will make your first Step class a lot easier. Work your way up to the more challenging classes - it's safer and you'll have a better experience in the long run.
  • If you're really shy about doing aerobics around a crowd of people, then try some videos at home first. But once again, go for the basic tapes - leave the high-impact kickboxing and Latin workouts for later. Right now you just want to be able to follow the instructor. Kathy Smith and Denise Austin have some great beginner's tapes - the moves are easy and they're expert instructors. Richard Simmons isn't everyone's cup of tea, but he's still a good, encouraging instructor for someone who's starting out. If you're totally convinced you couldn't do a dance step to save your life, then try one of Leslie Sansone's "Walking" tapes - if you can put one foot in front of the other, then you can work out to her videos. Once you've mastered the basic videos you can work your way up to more complex choreography, or perhaps you can even get up the nerve to take a class at the gym. Actually, many gym aerobic classes are less complex than an intermediate aerobics video - the videos tend to mix in a larger variety of moves so that they stay interesting over a longer period of time. An in-person instructor changes the choreography with every class - her students don't have the luxury of rewinding or doing the same workout again tomorrow, so she has to keep it a little simpler.
  • A note on warm-ups and cool downs - most videos and classes give you a decent amount of time to warm up, but sometimes you get cheated on cool down time. If you can afford the extra few minutes, throw in some more stretches after you're done. Your muscles will thank you.

Next page >> Keepin' Your Groove While You Move >> Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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