The perfect step aerobics music can make a big difference in your cardiovascular workout. Music for step aerobics has slightly different requirements than music for other types of cardiovascular fitness activity.
History of Step Aerobics
Step aerobics grew to popularity in the late 1980s when gyms and fitness centers began using adjustable steps to increase the intensity of aerobics classes. The inventor of step aerobics, Gin Miller, conceived of the classes in 1989. Soon, individual platforms that could be adjusted by adding risers began appearing in aerobics classes across America. Instructors enjoyed having a new way of teaching fitness to their students, and the steps provided a way to customize intensity. They also provided a platform for many strength training moves used during the classes. Step aerobics remains a popular more than 20 years after its invention.
Important Aspects of Step Aerobics Music
Step aerobics music tends to be slower than regular aerobics music. Where regular aerobics music ranges from about 140 to 150 beats per minute, this type of aerobics music needs to be a bit slower at between 120 and 135 beats per minute. The music needs to be slower both for safety and because the addition of the step generates a greater level of intensity than other types of aerobic activity, so movements can be slightly slower than regular aerobics with the same results. Along with speed, other important aspects of music for step aerobics includes:
- An easy to follow meter
- A driving and easily recognizable beat
- Music that motivates you
In order to design a good step aerobics music program, you need to gradually progress in speed throughout the workout. As with other workouts, step aerobics requires a 10 minute warm up leading into the session and a 10 minute cool down following the session. The progression of the music should be:
- Ten minutes of music that gradually progresses from 105-110 beats per minute to 130 beats per minute
- Between 10 and 35 minutes of music that is 120 to 135 beats per minute
- Ten minutes of music that gradually slows from 120-135 beats per minute to 105-110 beats per minute
- Five minutes of slow music for stretching
You can also include music for strength training activities such as push ups or abdominal crunches that is about 130 beats per minute. Strength conditioning activities should follow the cool-down but precede the stretching.
Where to Find Pre-Recorded Music
One good option is to select pre-recorded music designed especially for step aerobics. Many step aerobics instructors use this type of music to make classes flow well. CD, DVD, and MP3 player options exist. Some options include:
- Power Music has multiple CDs with music in a variety of ranges, including 120 to 130 beats per minute.
- Faithfully Fit has Christian music for step aerobics.
Tips for Creating Your Own Music Mix
If you plan to create your own music mix for step aerobics, try these tips for success.
- Choose music that motivates you. Find music that you love, and save it for use during your workout. If you can only listen to the songs when you workout, then you may be more motivated to exercise.
- If you are a beginner, start with slower music that ranges from 120 to 125 beats per minute for the main body of the workout. As you get in better shape, you can choose music with a slightly quicker beat.
- Make sure the music you choose has a beat that is easy to recognize and follow.
- Create a mix on your MP3 player of several songs for step aerobics. That way, you can vary the music you choose for different workouts to keep it fresh.
- Don't skip the warm up, cool down and stretching, which can help prevent injury and soreness.
- Ask friends which music they use and trade songs if you have similar taste in music.
- Avoid music that is too fast (quicker than 135 beats per minute). Using music that is too fast can lead to safety issues.
Music That Moves You
With some careful planning and an MP3 player, you'll be able to create your own, motivating aerobics step music in no time. Follow the tips above, and choose music that inspires you to work out.