Step aerobics has been around since 1989, and at first it was pretty basic. You step up, you step down and maybe add some sassy arm movements to the beat of fun music. Step is still pretty popular, but it has become a lot more dynamic and challenging. However, some women always want a harder workout. That doesn't mean that adding ankle weights to low-impact step aerobics is the way to go.
Calorie Burning During Step Aerobics
According to the Health Status calories burned calculator, a 150-pound person can burn about 477 calories in a 60-minute class of low-impact step aerobics. If you weigh less, you'll burn a little less; if you weigh more, you burn more. Low-impact workouts are easier on your joints, but high-impact workouts burn more calories.
What Affects Calorie Burning?
Your body weight is just one factor when you burn calories. Another is how hard you are working. Two women who weigh the same can take the same class but burn different amounts of calories. Up your intensity by using your arms, making movements bigger and sitting lower into squat or lunge movements. If you've been taking step aerobics for a long time, it will require a little more work to burn calories. That's why some turn to other methods.
Ankle weights can weigh as little as 1 pound or more than 10 pounds per weight. The purpose of any weight is to challenge your muscles and increase muscle tone. Ankle weights can be used in all kinds of thigh and hip exercises such as side lying inner and outer thigh leg raises, or kickbacks for your glutes. Because they increase your overall weight, if you wear them during a step class, it will increase your intensity and you will burn more calories.
Safety of Ankle Weights and Cardio
Ankle weights are not generally recommended for use during cardiovascular activities, according to the American Council on Exercise. The reason is that they can alter how you move and increase your risk of injury. Your body is not used to the excess weight at the end of your leg. Also, the majority of women are already considered overweight or obese. This puts enough pressure on your joints, without adding more with ankle weights. The risk outweighs the potential benefit of increased calorie burn.
Bethany Kochan began writing professionally in 2010. She has worked in fitness as a group instructor, personal trainer and fitness specialist since 1998. Kochan graduated in 2000 from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, Medical Exercise Specialist and certified YogaFit instructor.