Not Your Mom's Aerobics
There's plenty new on the cardiovascular scene.
Thursday, January 22, 1998
Aerobics have changed dramatically since Jane Fonda and leg warmers. Instructors are now aware that faster is not better, and a great workout routine should include free weights and a healthy diet. Yet, aerobics today are far from typical. Among the aerobics classes provided at many gyms around Monterey County, the following three stand out in the crowd.
Martial arts have upheld an image of "good for self-defense only"-until recently. Today, classes of any age to any level can be found in numerous martial arts studios. What can also be found in these gold mines is a new generation of karate. This workout sets martial arts moves (with no contact) to music. Blending a high-energy, power workout with Tai Kwon Do, results show quickly from the shoulders to the calves. Kicks, jabs, punches, and even push-ups are incorporated into one hour; an hour you will never forget.
One of the hardest workouts in the area, cardio karate builds a positive self-image while lowering stress levels. Though it may be strenuous for those with joint problems, cardio karate is for anyone who wants to reach the next level of fitness. cardio karate is the complete workout due to the level of intense power needed for all moves, including jabs and kicks. While toning and firming, it also teaches self-defense. Strength, cardiovascular, and flexibility are the three levels of a work out. "Most workouts will take a person to one, maybe two of these levels. Cardio karate combines all three to give the ultimate workout," says Rick Warren of Martial Arts America, in Pacific Grove, which offers the workout.
Ten years ago, few fit, healthy, self-respecting Baby Boomer athletes would have enrolled in a "vertical" aquatic exercise class. Such classes were reserved, it was generally believed, for older, less fit populations, or those in need of physical rehabilitation. Aquatic exercise is gaining in popularity, although it still hasn''t attained the respect that many think it''s due.
Often, to the uninitiated, aquatic exercise may look easy compared to land-based exercise. The deceptive appearance is directly linked to the physical properties of water, primarily its resistance. Water offers 12 times the resistance of air. As a result, even simple movements are more difficult in water than on land, and require more time to complete. The natural cooling of water is, perhaps, another reason that aquatic exercise seems less effective than land-based classes, where a good workout is linked with raised body temperatures and lots of sweat. Water, however, cools the body faster than air, which in turn allows the body to shed excess heat faster. Therefore, although aquatic exercise participants may perspire, few will leave the pool feeling hot and sweaty, which ironically may cause some to question the effectiveness of the workout.
Aquatic exercise programs come in three basic depths: shallow, transitional, and deep. Shallow water programming is typically three-to-four feet deep and is an ideal starting point for those who are uncomfortable in the water. The water will strike most participants on their chests in the transitional depth programs of five feet. Deep-water programming takes place in six-plus feet. In this stage, there is no contact with the pool bottom.
Today, a firm butt, tight abs, and toned arms are only a hop, punch, and jump away. No, its neither some kind of bike-looking thing, nor a marathon of 10 different machines compiled into one. It is simply called step boxing and it meshes the prosaic step aerobics with boxing moves, though not necessarily at the same time.
Bringing together the old step and the new gym version of boxing in aerobics classes, this workout explodes with power potential, especially for those addicted to up-and-coming aerobics trends. Classes usually warm up with a step workout, followed by the wanted Rocky theme that lets participants know it is time.Jabs, punches and hooks work out the upper body, while the step works out the lower body. Abs are the backbone for both parts, supporting both the legs for stepping, kicking and jumping, and the arms for the punching and jabbing. A workout builds that six-pack while toning every other body part- this ain''t your mom''s step aerobics.
For information on step aerobics programs, check out the YMCA and local area gyms. Call the Monterey Sports Center at 646-3700 for information on aqua aerobics programs.
Brandii Saileanu is an aerobics teacher.