Class helps get a step up on your fitness program

Published 9:41 am Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Rhythmic beats and in sync steps make a cardio workout designed to keep the heart pumping.

An hour-long step aerobics class meets every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in the Group Exercise Room at the local YMCA’s W.K. Purks Center. The class description calls it a “unique blend of step aerobics and sculpting moves providing a diverse and dynamic workout for the total body.”

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Instructor Sally Owen said the class is considered a cardio class because of the non-stop aerobic movement.

“It’s for all levels,” Owen said. “Everyone works at their own level.”

The class isn’t geared toward any type person in particular. She said anyone looking for a good workout can come to class and make the movement as difficult or easy as they need.

“For people who don’t feel comfortable doing it on the step, they can do it on the floor. The class is differentiated to meet everyone’s needs,” Owen said.

For an added challenge, participants can put risers under their step changing the height and the difficulty of the workout.

In addition to using the step, Owen said sometimes the class runs around the room, or does what she calls power moves like standing half turns, lunges across the room and other types of movement.

“Which also gets your heartrate up too if you keep doing it consecutively,” she said.

Toward the end of the class, the focus turns to strength training. In addition to the step, students start using weights. Depending on the routine Owen teaches, kettle bells, free weights or body bars are implemented into the workout.

“I try to get a variety. We don’t always do the same thing every week,” she said.

The class also has a stretching portion toward the end with floor and abdominal exercises incorporated. Owen said the class burns calories, relives stress, builds strength and endurance.

The class can take up to 20 participants, but there is a loyal following of about 10 people who show up regularly. Owen said its more than a workout, the class has built a comradery with each other.

“We’re friends with each other,” Owen said. “It makes it more fun when you’re with a group.”

Diane Lutz has been coming to the step class for six months. Since she started working out and taking multiple classes a year ago, she has lost 70 pounds. 

“I enjoy it,” Lutz said. “This motivates me to keep on keeping on.”

Dee Taylor is new to Vicksburg and has been coming to the class for about a month. She said working out is important for her because she has high blood pressure.

“I’m always working on my weight because of my high blood pressure,” Taylor said. “(Owen) is in shape… She’s motivating.”

Taylor likes the high-energy music, which she called another motivator when it comes to the workout. The number one area she feels the workout in the most is in her heart. She has noticed a change in how she looks and feels since she started the class.