Going into athletic step, I was fairly certain I knew what to expect — something along the lines of the quintessential ’80s television workout with repetitive movements and relatively low-impact but intense aerobic exercise. I found out that this fitness class is much more than that.
Stepping is an exercise centred around an adjustable plastic step that you step on and off. By nature, the exercise is rhythmic, and therefore, easily set to music. The music my instructor used was the typical pop-hit playlist but modified into a continuous hour-long track, so the music never stopped.
The first thing to do in this class is choose how high you want your step to be. The step itself is fairly low on its own, so risers can be added underneath to get the desired step height.
The standard appeared to be one set of risers, and that was the level I used. However, a couple people in the class elected to amp up their stepping by adding another set, and I’m sure you are allowed to use the bare step without any risers added.
More of the movements than I had anticipated were done around the step rather than on it. Of course, the main focus was the actual stepping, but the instructor often had us do short jogs and sprints around the steps.
The choreography was well planned, and getting the movements and timing right was a very rewarding experience, as the movements flowed together naturally when you did everything perfectly. However, this meant that mistakes were much more pronounced, which made it harder to get back on track — something I struggled with as a beginner.
As far as intensity goes, I found the class entirely manageable. The instructor frequently showed variants of movements to make things a bit easier. This allowed me to set my own pace and to get a good workout without feeling overwhelmed.
However, I found a few things about the class a little annoying. The first annoyance was that there is not much space, which made some movements harder to accomplish, as I was next to a wall. In addition, while there are anti-slide pads available for the steps, I frequently moved my step out of place.
Despite these minor grievances, however, athletic step was enjoyable on the whole. The class was a good workout, and I left with a sense of accomplishment.
Jack Thompson / Sports & Health Editor
Graphic: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor