You may have known that step aerobics can burn calories and is a good exercise for the heart, but did you know that research specifically has found step aerobics can step up your good cholesterol levels. A study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found step aerobic exercise significantly raised the HDL- cholesterol levels of the study participants. This small, eight-week study followed 45 sedentary female Turkish college students. Fifteen of the women participated in step aerobic exercise and another 15 did traditional aerobic dance. Each 45-minute session was done for three days a week. The remaining 15 women in the study continued to be sedentary. At the study's conclusion, the investigators from Baskent University in Ankara found that both groups of active women showed a significant reduction in their overall cholesterol levels compared to the sedentary group. Regularity and frequency of exercise tends to bring HDL levels up more dependably. The more vigorous the exercise is, the better, from the standpoint of overall health benefits. It can provide a challenging workout and is a great choice for those who enjoy exercising to music in a group. Step aerobic, also helps develop the hamstrings, with complimentary development of the gluteals (the "buttock" muscles) and the quadriceps.Bench step up, is like climbing hills in the comfort of your own home or gym. You are basically lifting your body repeatedly against the force of gravity and powering your hamstrings, quads, and gluteals in the process.How to Perform:Warm up for 10 minutes by performing light jogging, stretching, and range-of-motion activities for the trunk, low back, hips, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and Achilles tendons.Begin from a standing position on top of a step bench, with your body weight on your left foot and your weight shifted toward the left heel. The right foot should be free and held slightly behind the body. Lower the body in a controlled manner until the toes of the right foot touch the ground, but maintain all of your weight on the left foot.Return to the starting position by driving downward with the left heel and straightening the left leg, and then switch over to the right leg.It is recommended that you start out with a 15-20-minute workout every other day. As your muscles and heart become used to the workout, you can increase the duration to 60 minutes daily.After the aerobic exercise session, you should cool-down by doing low intensity movement or by walking for 5-10 minutes and then stretching the same muscles that were stretched before. Remember:Step Aerobics: Effective in Modifying (Cholesterol) ProfilesWhen stepping up, you should lean at the ankle, not at the waist to avoid stress on the lower spine. Maintain absolutely upright posture with the trunk throughout the entire movementThe platform should be no higher than 4" when beginning the program. As you advance and your body becomes better conditioned, you can increase the step height to 10". Keep in mind that no step height should force your knee above a 90-degree angle in order to avoid injury to the knee.If you experiences knee pain while using a step bench, use a lower step height, or see a sports medicine doctor, or consider another form of aerobic exercise such as cycling, elliptical training, or walking.Step aerobics moves range from the very simple to the extremely advanced. If you are new to aerobics, these moves can be intimidating to the point of scaring you away from even trying.The routines are designed around 32-beat segments that are divided into four-, eight- or 16-count moves. For example, a 32-beat segment can include eight counts right basic, eight counts right V-steps, eight counts turn step and eight counts knee repeater.Remember to drink plenty of water. It is so important to stay hydrated. You will notice an increase in your concentration and your overall feel of your body as you work out.Women who have abnormal menstrual periods have minimal increases in HDL, so watch out.Too much resistance training may actually lower HDL cholesterol if not accompanied by some aerobic training.
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