Home' Scoop : Scoop 52 Contents SCOOP AUTUMN 2010 111
y first memory of aerobics
centres on an old gymnasi-
um (complete with basket-
ball court) watching my
mum prancing over a step-
per, sporting a pink-striped
leotard and a fabulous perm.
The music was 80s pop, I had crimped hair,
my own set of leggings and a leotard and, along
with many, thought aerobics was THE only way
to achieve body beautiful. Yep, mum was (is, sorry
mum) a hottie and worked that leotard.
Indeed, aerobics was all the rage in the 80s, but
American physician Dr Kenneth H. Cooper actu-
ally first introduced the fitness craze to the world
in 1968. Dr Cooper s aerobics were originally
formulated for astronauts to help prevent coronary
artery disease before he realised the general public
would benefit from the same program.
The official definition of aerobics, according
to the Macquarie Dictionary, is "physical exercises
which stimulate the respiratory and circulatory sys-
tems to improve and maintain physical fitness".
While aerobic exercise can be anything from
cycling to a game of squash, the term "aerobics"
evolved into the structured class of group exercise
It s one of the most measurable and effective
ways to get fit, with trainers or instructors creating
classes that provide a whole body workout.
According to Maureen Davy of Workout Fit-
ness Centre, a good aerobics class keeps up a good
heart rate without being too tricky.
"A good aerobics class will give you a great
workout with a warm up, light stretch then a com-
ponent that builds up to a peak and we finish with
some weights and a bigger stretch," says Maureen.
"In a well-rounded class, you work all the muscle
groups correctly and get through all the steps with-
out being frustrated by a complicated routine."
For someone who trips over a millimetre crack
in the pavement, it s a relief to hear that coordi-
nation isn t a prerequisite. And Maureen should
know what works, having been in the industry for
around 30 years and owned Workout since 1982.
Not only that, Maureen and her business partner
went to the US and learnt from the aerobics queen
herself, Jane Fonda.
"We went to Jane Fonda s in America and
got our name Workout from her too," Maureen
says. "We started putting things together so they
worked the body properly instead of just a routine
to music and we have stuck with the freestyle
method ever since."
Freestyle aerobics classes, where instructors
choreograph their own routines, are few and far
between at Australian gyms due to the huge popu-
larity of programs put together by another aerobics
guru, New Zealander Les Mills.
According to Les Mills research, 85 percent of
gyms Australia-wide feature programs from Les
Mills. Any gym fanatic will be well aware of Body
Pump, Body Combat or RPM to name just a few
of the programs.
Les Mills and his wife Colleen opened their first
gym in Auckland in 1968 just when the aerobics
concept was making headlines.
Their son Phillip took a scholarship at an
American university and was inspired by the idea
of group exercise to music, so he brought it back
to the family gym.
After much analysis of what made some classes
pack out while others were almost empty, Phillip
developed a structured approach to choreography,
music and instructor training.
Participants would know exactly what they
were getting from each class.
Master instructors would travel from city to
city, teaching fitness instructors the programs so
participants could be anywhere in the world and
take the same up-beat class.
And the benefit for us mere mortals? Cutting-
edge exercise science; effective moves; and one of
the greatest motivators -- excellent music, includ-
ing the latest hits.
And there is pretty much something in aerobics
"I ve got preggy girls in the same class as a young,
fit 16-year-old and a 75-year-old just there to
enjoy the movement and the music," says Maureen.
"Low-impact aerobics is generally very gentle on the
body, there are very few injuries reported back to
me that are directly from an aerobics class."
According to Les Mills marketing manager
Marie Anagnostis, there is a risk of injury with
any physical activity but simple precautions can
BURN, BABY, BURN
While energy expenditure depends on many
factors including gender, weight and age, here
is a rough guide on how much you can expect
to burn up during some aerobics favourites.
AQUA AEROBICS: 350 calories
TRADITIONAL AEROBICS: 700 calories
LES MILLS BODYSTEP: 575 calories
LES MILLS BODYATTACK: 700 calories
LES MILLS BODYCOMBAT: 509 calories
LES MILLS RPM: 636 calories
Links Archive Scoop 50 Summer 2009 Scoop 52 Winter 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page