Aerobics 5 kicking, or sprinting. Some participants end the activity with stretching or medita- tion. Most aerobics sessions are designed to last forty-five minutes to an hour and are conducted a minimum of three times per week for the maximum health benefit. HISTORY An American physiologist named Kenneth H. Cooper pioneered the concept of aerobics. Searching for an effective yet easy way to keep healthy, he identified various ways of flexing muscles and burning calories he then created point charts to rate the aerobic value of various exercises for different age groups. Though his work was originally intended to keep astronauts in shape for the air force, Dr. Cooper popularized his system of physical fitness for the general public through his books, Aerobics (1968) and The Aerobics Way (1977). Jacki Sorensen is thought to have taken Dr. Cooper’s aerobics concept and applied it to choreographed workout routines set to music. Fitness personalities began to create their own versions of aerobics, including Judi Sheppard Missett (she developed Jazzercise in the 1970s) and Alberto “Beto” Perez (he developed Zumba in 1986). Health and fitness clubs began to offer group aerobics sessions. In the 1980s, celebrities like Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons made aerobics available to individuals at home through workout videotapes and instructional TV shows. Step aerobics was developed by aerobics instructor Gin Miller in 1986 as a low-impact alternative to the high-intensity aerobics workouts the following year, she introduced the first aerobic step dancing class called Bench Blast. Now, aerobics workouts that include boxing, kickboxing, dance, and boot camp techniques are popular, as are sessions that include props such as stationary bikes, weighted balls or resistance bands, and hand or ankle weights. Technology has allowed aerobics classes to be made available on a smartphone, via the television, on the computer, or through DVDs. HEALTH BENEFITS AND RISKS Aerobics is a form of cardiovascular exercise, so a primary benefit is strength- ening of the heart muscle, along with stimulation of the circulation of blood and lymph fluid. In some cases, regular aerobic activity can lower high blood pressure and cholesterol. In conjunction with the cardiovascular benefits, the fitness of the lungs can be improved with aerobics. Aerobic workouts can burn calories and reduce body fat, raise serotonin levels and stimulate the brain to release endor- phins, ease stress, increase strength, improve posture and tone, and lower the risk of diabetes. As with any intense physical activity, aerobics does come with a risk of acute cardiovascular events such as heart attack, sudden death, or stroke. Hopping, jumping, or kicking during an aerobics workout raises the risk of falling, which can result in injury. Stretching incorrectly or overdoing workouts can lead to mus- cle strain, tendon irritation, or a ligament sprain. For step aerobics, injuries are most likely to occur if the bench is too high or from poor technique, which can
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