Aerobic gymnastics

The word aerobics appears for the first time thanks to the studies of Dr. Kenneth Cooper, an American doctor who published in 1968 the book “Aerobics”.

Dr. Cooper, after graduating in medicine and a few years of doctorate in the military, following a rapid and unexpected increase in weight (about 20 kg.), Which caused him heart failure, decided to take care of the relationship between hypokinesis and cardiovascular diseases.

He developed a type of training based on a program of exercises characterized by moderate intensity over long periods of time, in order to tone the cardiovascular system and improve the overall physical condition.

The exercises were based on the involvement of the aerobic energy consumption system, applying them to the various sports that used this system: running (jogging), swimming, cycling, cross-country skiing.

Cooper developed a training evaluation system giving each session a daily score based on the exercises performed; the sum of the weekly score determined the degree of aerobic training achieved.

Initially the program was centered on the race, “jogging”, but in the end many practitioners found it boring and repetitive to run for hours and hours.

Around the ’70s a physical education teacher, Jackie Sorensen, codified the steps of jogging using all the planes of movement and turned them into steps and leaps thus giving life to aerobic gymnastics.

The training program included a warm-up phase, an aerobic work phase, in which to perform the codified steps and finally the toning work to eliminate some female imperfections; all performed in time to music.

At the end of the ’80s, after alternate successes due to show business figures, Aerobic Gymnastics is disseminated scientifically by international organizations such as ACSM, AFAA and professional associations such as IDEA.

Why today, as a physical activity, aerobic gymnastics is preferred to that called the free body?

The first motivation that determines the choice of Aerobics is the “music” element.

Music is indispensable to human life, sounds and noises mark its time; moving in time with music allows individuals to express themselves instinctively; in this way a body-mind feedback enters into action, creating positive and regenerating reactions.

The second, based on the execution of continuous and intense movements, allows individuals to release the tensions, anxieties and fears accumulated during the day and which are put aside during the involvement of the lesson.

Third, but certainly the most important, is the totality of the training that takes place, based on the involvement of all the organic systems enhancing the main physical qualities such as:

  • strength and muscular endurance;
  • muscular and osteo – ligamentous elasticity;
  • neuro-muscular coordination;
  • balance of body weight.

Finally, it should be emphasized that practicing aerobic gymnastics at any time of day in well-organized closed areas (fitness clubs, very widespread in almost all urban centers, facilitates the approach to this activity, which is preferred by many people precisely because of its In UK, out of 14,700,000 people, who practice sporting activities of a continuative and occasional type, the most widespread sport after football is the attendance at the fitness centers with about 2 million and four hundred thousand practitioners (ISTAT data – census CONI 1995/1996).

The techniques

Aerobic gymnastics is characterized by different types of lessons depending on the technique used and the tools used.

Tools like the step, the bike and slide or Latin American aerobic, afro-aerobic, combi and cardio-funk lessons, are now consolidated practices for the customers of a fitness center.

The diversity of techniques used allows students to diversify cardiovascular training, making it varied and stimulating at the same time.

By examining them more closely, we can identify two specific training ranges:

Training performed free body:

  • Low Impact Lesson
  • High impact lesson
  • Combined lesson (hi-low impact)
  • Interval Circuit Training

… or with tools:

  • Step
  • Spinning
  • fitball
  • Slide

Both body and tools, the lesson is conducted mainly for cardiovascular and respiratory efforts and can be further diversified and classified according to the techniques used to manage the central phase or the aerobic phase.