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Step Aerobics: The 80's fitness revival


Posted by Jane H under Fitness & Training on 1 June 2013 at 11:00 PM

Jane H

Step Aerobics has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in recent years as gyms look to increase the variety of classes they can offer their members. Back in the 80s it was the era of Olivia Newton John and her iconic "Let's Get Physical" and not to forget Jane Fonda and her use of early video technology to bring aerobics into the home.  Step Aerobics, a relic from the past, has been brought out, dusted off, and reworked to offer people, of all ages and fitness levels, a fun cardio and strength workout.

What does a class look like?

Step Aerobics is generally an hour class run by a qualified gym instructor. Of course you can access classes on DVD and the Internet.  A class will comprise a warm up, which is usually done without the step or raised bench and will involve simple aerobic steps to upbeat music. Remember the grapevine, make an 'L' shape and a good old hamstring curl? The step part of the class will comprise the majority of the workout; participants are welcome to use small hand weights to increase the benefits.  Competent instructors will demonstrate the steps slowly, and gradually build the intensity in the difficulty of the steps. Short routines are developed which require only basic coordination and rhythm. Some instructors will finish a class with some core work, followed by a cool down. 

Jane at aerobics

What do you need?

A step or bench, non-stick matting to place underneath the step (particularly if the floor is timber) and small hand weights are all you really need. Music from the 80s is fun to use, the beat is easy to follow and most people will remember and enjoy the tunes. A good instructor is a must; they will make the class fun, will motivate members to work harder, and will offer variety in their routines each class.

What do you wear?

Back in the day, people enjoying a step aerobics class really dressed the part. A G-string leotard, spandex tights, sweat headband, and of course legwarmers, were the rage. All serious aerobic enthusiasts wore Reebok runners, especially the Princess model. Nowadays, regular gym gear will suffice: shorts, singlet, leggings and a lightweight pair of trainers.

What are the benefits?

After an hour of step aerobics you will have built up a decent sweat (hence the need for the sweat headband). A class can be as intense as you want it to be, instructors should demonstrate different options for each step, and you can work at your own fitness level.  A class offers an all over workout; it is fat burning and muscle toning. And besides, it is a fun, motivating dance fest with all the best music from the 80s and 90s. What’s not to love about Step Aerobics? 

Take a Step Aerobics class 

  • Encourage

    Karen L and Adrian K encouraged this.



    Just love a step aerobics class, for both genders and all ages and fitness levels :)

    Adrian K and Chris K encouraged this.


    Thanks for posting this. Certainly brought back memories and am now keen to join a class!

    Jane H and Chris K encouraged this.


    I tried this at a local gym and I slipped around a little so I quit.

    Jane H and Chris K encouraged this.


    I used to love step aerobics Jane. I bought a Reebok video (maybe two?) and still have the step - I remember it cost meWAY more than I could afford at the time. Ah, endless hours spent sweating all over my living room floor lol. Thanks for the post !

    Jane H and Chris K encouraged this.


    Heather, at gym we use non slip mats under the step to prevent this from happening:)

    Chris K encouraged this.


    Karen, I try to catch a class every Monday, lots of fun and a great way to start the week!

    Karen L encouraged this.


    I love doing aerobics 80's style ever since I was a kid in the 80's! ;) I love wearing my leotards and leg warmers as a guy too! :)

    Jane H encouraged this.


    Hey Chris, glad to see you found this blog post and commented, awesome :)

    Chris K encouraged this.


    Thank you so much Jane H! :) Feel free to follow me everywhere my friend! :)

    Jane H encouraged this.

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