Confession of a Step Aerobics Drop Out

By , SparkPeople Blogger
People often ask me why I run. Well for one, I have always wanted to experience the challenge of a good run to see where these old legs could take me, but more importantly it didn’t require much coordination on my part. All’s you have to do is lace up your shoes and head out the door. You run so far and head back home.

I can’t tell you how many times when I was stretching at my gym I would gaze in wonder in the glass enclosed studio as the throngs of women and men performed grapevines over and around their steps all set to the beat of some really great music. I mean who wouldn’t love to do that! The camaraderie in the class seemed like so much fun as they high-fived one another after each routine, dripping in sweat while taking swigs of water in between workouts.

Two years ago, at the urging of a dear friend, I put on my cross trainers and headed to studio one. Melissa, the aerobics instructor, was perky as usual and was so kind to introduce the two newbies to the rest of the class. Hey, I was beginning to feel like one of the gang. The 'regulars' were all so eager to show me the equipment while insisting it would be best if I situated myself at the front of the class to have a better view, even though I would have preferred to be in the back.

Before class began, Melissa went over a few movements which seemed fairly easy when done very slowly. Then she added the beat of some really great disco tunes. This was it; I was going to be a step aerobics queen! All of a sudden she started calling out the steps, turns, jumps, etc as I looked like a deer in the headlights. When the class was going right, I was going left when they were making turns I was still going right. And let’s not even talk about doing the grapevine. Funny how easy it looks when others do it, but the minute I tried, I truly had two left feet. Let’s just say it was NOT good.

While I didn’t go down in defeat after my first class, I did give it a few more tries before I retired my cross trainers for other activities which required little or no rhythmic coordination. However, I did take lots of fond memories with me that still make me laugh today. I realized after my many attempts this was not the class for me. I have such a deep appreciation for all the men and women who attend class week in and week out--they certainly make it look so easy and effortless. My hat goes off to you, the step aerobic warriors.

But as with everything in my life, there is a lesson to be learned and this lesson taught me that we are all different. Some people can run, some people can swim, some people can cycle, and others do quite well in step aerobics, but we should NOT have to participate in an activity that we DO NOT enjoy just to get fit and healthy. That being said, trying something new is well worth the risk. How do we know what we do well in or what we like unless we are willing to take risks, even if that means we have to put ourselves out there, after all isn’t that what life is all about?

Have you participated in a sport/activity that was challenging in the beginning, but you now have a passion for it? Are you willing to take risks when it comes to trying new activities? Do you accept the fact that we can’t be great at everything we try, but if we keep looking we will find our passion?

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DJ4HEALTH 11/5/2020
would rather walk or ride than go to those types of classes because the first time I went the teacher made fun of me because I could not keep up with the class. Most were there longer and knew the steps and that was my first and last time going to it. Report
Thank you! Report
BONNIE1552 1/21/2020
Did my steps on the floor. I was leery about having an injury. Loved it! Report
NANASUEH 12/6/2019
thanks Report
Thanks Report
Thanks Report
I was into step aerobics back in the day. Wonder if that’s why I have knee issues now. Report
One of my skills is to trip on or off the stepper. The instructor bought mats for me but every time I went to get one for class they were always taken so I did the stepper moves on the floor. I always loved the best of the music and friendship. Report
One could argue I am one of the least graceful people on the planet; I can trip on a spec of dust. Two years ago I tried step and initially felt my inner klutz was going to prevent me from stepping. It turns out all I needed was the right instructor. (AngiefitnessTV on YouTube) Step is now suuuuuuch a fav of mine...add two sets of risers and we’re talking serious cardio. I love the physical and mental push and connection. I’ve found if I get lost in the combo it’s no biggie, I just keep moving. The important part is to try something new that interests you...your inner athlete might just find a new favorite. Report
I was a Step Aerobics Queen back in the early 80's when it first began. It was also a high-impact aerobics class to boot that I attended. The last aerobics class I went to (2011) I dropped out because the music was not motivating at all. Also I came to realize that too much harm was being done to my knees. One should not do a fast count of 60 to 80 with one leg on the step and the other one switching forward, then to the side & back & again. Maybe a count of 25 or 30 at the most, then switch sides. I could do it but It was killing my knees, not to mention my pocketbook at $43 a month. Was SO NOT WORTH IT! Am now fast walking with 3 lbs. weights/jogging at 56 and I can slow down when "I feel I need to slow down". Hooaahh! I feel that now "I AM" in control of me and feel much better!!! Many baby boomers are now showing up in hospitals needing hip and knee replacements. Glad I got out. Report
I knew at an early age that we are all different and have different abilities when it comes to exercise or athletics. I have a mild case of cerebral palsy so while my siblings and friends were riding bikes, I was either riding on their handlebars (it was the '80s and we didn't know any better) or walking. As an adult in my 20's I discovered line dancing and two-stepping and found that I was pretty good at it. Later, I took ballroom dance classes and learn how to do the East Coast Swing. I was pretty good at that too. One of my friends once told me, "You know, I see you walk around the club and think you might need a little help and then I see you on the dance floor and you're kicking butt!" I'd never thought about the difference. I told her, "Yeah, I guess I dance better than I walk!" So yeah, you have to find something that makes you feel good and confident, and stick with it. Report
There is something about the outdoors that I prefer any day to step aerobics. I was a step junkie for a while, until my friend introduced me to running outdoors. Outside I feel free to do stuff at my own pace. I am not coordinated enough for step. Report
I broke my foot in step aerobics! I went when I was single as a way to meet other people as well as get fit.

It is a great cardio workout and I went from a superfit aerobics class to running a marathon with only a few months of running preparation. Report
I had been addicted to step aerobics for years. Even as I did low impact versions, I had been wearing bad shoes to do it in. It caused heel spurs and plantar fasciitis on both feet. So, instead, I do yoga. I really like it, but I think I am built more for step aerobics ... particularly now that I have lost a lot of weight.

Occasionally I will do some aerobics on a BOSU. Not enough duration to hurt my feet (less than 15 min.) ... like I miss lap swimming (time/scheduling considerations), I miss step aerobics ... Report
I wasn't terrible at step aerobics, though I was my very first class. Deer in the headlights is pretty acurate. However, I'd done enough other classes like Zumba and Turbokick regularly enough that I picked it up fairly quickly. I found it incredibly monotonous and boring though and never have felt the need to pick it up again. Right now I'm in the beginner stages of running though, something I've always assumed I just couldn't do. I'm all about the trying new things idea Report
Aerobics classes and I are not made for each other. I have no dance ability and my lack of coordination really shows. I will run outside or on the dreadmill and add strength training with my dvd collection in the privacy of my media room where no one can point and laugh lol. Report
OMG, I could have written this blog!!! I have tried step aerobics, zumba, and hip hop with the same results you had. (Picture the classic Seinfeld episode with Elaine dancing and drop down five levels.

I am addicted to spinning, kickboxing and have recently started to run again, all activities that require little or no step memorization.

It took me months to learn the grapevine. The one and only success with step aerobics. Report
I confess, I'm an aerobics junkie. Yes its hard in the beginning but as you get into it - its fun. I would do that alone and no weight training. I can do it for a hour or two - I love it that much. At my gym, the instructor insists that one do aerobics but he focuses on weigh training (blah!!) so in order for me to begin gym once more, I will need to do both.

I'm not attending gym as I did not lose the weight, at the rate that the instuctor wanted. He said in the beginning that if after 6 months, no change in my body is seen, then I'm wasting time, which is true to a certain extent, but I'm not like every one else and it would take each person a different time frame to actually get results. In essence I was eating the same foods, exercising and maintaining my "overweightness". So now I am learning to eat properly, focusing on my calorie intake and exercising outdoors until I've arrived at my goal weight and then I'll go back to the gym. My goal date is November 2, 2010.

So right now I MISS aerobics so much, but I'm looking forward to going back and WOW some people who did not believe in me and to get back to my aerobics.
I am enjoying learning to run so far though....... ;-) Report
I was not a runner... in high school, I couldn't run the mile without stopping for breathers (multiple times)... now I'm running 5ks & look back on how easy running could have been if I had just practiced. I think I always expected to be something that people could just do, but after looking at it from the perspective that, like anything else in life, it's something you have to learn. I started off slow & for very short distances (half a mile was far for me to run when I first started)... now I am running 10 minute miles... I never thought I would get there.

I'm also part of a step class (thanks to a dear friend of mine) & trust me, there are times I thought I was going to eat that step... I'm amazed that more people don't fall over that step week in & week out. It's amazing, really. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just pushing my luck every week... haha. Report
one of my sister started line danceing 15 years ago after two times she talked me into going once a week then three times aweek we went out a few times as a class i really could do it she taught a year and we did do the dj forabout two years we still dance once in a while life changes but i would not have done that without her or someone to go with Report
I know that feeling. :D Every time I went to step aerobics class, I felt like half of the time I was just standing there gaping at the instructor, wondering what the heck she was doing.

I didn't give up though. Success felt even sweeter once I got it right. I'm definitely getting back on the board once I find a good class. (I just recently moved.) Report
I used to do aerobics... then got hit by a car while in the crosswalk. Then I discovered Irish dance, which I could do despite the injured joints. Then... well, I fell off a big thoroughbred and fractured my ankle, so it's a lot harder to do the Irish dance... but I do love it. (And can kind wrap my feet around it. Okay, it hurts a bit, but them's the breaks!) PS... we don't have crosswalks where I now live and my horses are smaller -- less far to fall! Report
It's always good to try something new. I didn't think I would like running, but I'm finding it to be a lot of fun. Granted, I'm not actually RUNNING yet - more like a slow jog alternating with walking, but I do enjoy it.

But I agree, find something you enjoy doing, and don't feel pressured to continue any activity that is not fun. If it's not fun, you won't do it. I love dancing and yoga, so my workouts usually include one of those. I also like some martial arts, so I will includethat in the future. I hate spin classes, I don't swim well, and I haven't been on a bike since I was a teenager, and I only did it a few times then!

I'll do the things I like, leaving room in the spin classes and the pool for those who avoid yoga and dancing, but I'll try something new every few months! Report
I can relate to this. I nearly drown when I was 6 and thank God my mom was watching because the instructor was too absorbed with the rest of the class or else I wouldn't be here today. Swimming was never on my list of things to do more of. However, due to a time when I was on stress leave I wanted to try something that I was totally afraid of. Guess what??? SWIMMING.

Well, I went from 5 laps all the way up to 50 laps per day over time. I loved it. Now remember, I would do these laps with my head out of the water because I didn't want to emerge my whole face. Then just before Christmas I seen a group doing a routine to Christmas music and it was awesome! Synchronized swimming..... Wow! I thought Gee, they're pretty good and each of them was not a size 2 or 10 which was nice to see but I only watched never thinking I'd ever be able to do it myself. Remember, this girl (ME) would only do laps with my head out of the water.

A girl at the pool suggested I take swimming lessons but I tried to avoid the subject. She then told me that she couldn't swim when she first started either so with her encouragement I said o.k. After a few lessons and learning not to hyperventilate when my head was emerged I liked learning all the different strokes and methods of improving. It was great!!

When my girlfriend then said, let's sign up for synchronized I told her she was crazy! ! ! Needless to say I was there.

To sum it all up, I wanted a challenge and believe me it was. We did a routine to a song by Shania Twain. I loved it. Anyone who wants a challenge. . . just go out and do it. Inch by inch it's a sinch, yard by yard it's hard.

Oh yes. ..... . . . if anyone wants great ab workouts, sign up for synchronized swimming, I fit my old jeans in no time at all. The workouts required by swimming on your front and back along with the motions of your wrists . The movement of your wrists is what makes makes you move silently in the water so your abs tighten no matter what and before you know it, you'll fit into your jeans.

Dare to be different! Go for it, you're worth it!!!

I would never have done anything like this without a friend asking if I wanted to but I was so thankful I took the risk. IT WAS ALL WORTH IT! ! !

We became good friends and I learned alot. Report
I have thought about getting into step aerobics but watching some of those people on tv? I am thinking no way! what's with all those crazy moves? is it necessary? So I have decided to put on my own music and do my own moves as long as I am having fun and exercising I don't care. Report
Yes, dancing. My hubby and I have been taking dancing lessons for a year. At first it was very embarrassing to dance with better dancers. Now we're somewhere in the middle. We now go 3-4 times a week to private and group lessons.

Sam Report
My absolutely favourite aerobic class is Duo Step aerobics. I noticed it while walking by to go somewhere else in the gym, and recognized the instructor. Later I asked her about it, but claimed I would never be coordinated enough join in, but she encouraged me. I'm so glad I decided to step out of my comfort zone and join that class. I'll admit that it was tough at first, and I still have a few problems with the patterns that they just call out by name sometimes. This past session we started doing things in a circle formation...too cool!!! Report
Coordinate dance routines are not for me no coordination and I easily get lost too. Maybe dyslexia has something to do with it or I just have 2 left feet. Walking is easy! Report
I've never been much of a class participator, and the idea of doing Zumba or Yoga, or even step aerobics, no thank you!

I've had good success with walking, and now I'm slowing pumping it up to running. I am doing what I enjoy, and that's what is important. I learned a long time ago that when I judge myself against others' standards, I don't like my results. However, when I only have myself to compare to, I stick with it and keep working! And THAT is what gets the results I want!!!

When I first started playing underwater hockey in 1991, it was in 8-10 feet of water. At the time I had recently quit smoking and had been swimming laps in a pool for a few months, but I sure didn't have the lung capacity to swim down that deep, push a puck around and still have enough air to make to the surface without seeing little black dots.

But I love the water and I knew if I stayed with it, I would be able to do it. It took 2 months of showing up 1 to 2x a week and doing all the pre-workout drills, but I did finally make to the bottom. Since then I have played in countless local and regional tournaments, a bunch of national tournaments, and even one world competition.

As Nancy said - there are things you'll enjoy and things you won't. And then there are the things that are worth the hard effort and extra work. Like getting to the bottom of a 12 foot pool to push around a 3 lb puck with a little stick. Report
This is SO me... I tried such a class once. I was always moving left, when the others were moving right, etc. etc.

I tried line dancing. I learned the first dance quite well. But when a new dance was introduced I could not get the other one out of my head long enough to learn the new one.

I am considering trying line dancing at the senior center, but that consideration is way on the back burner. It looks like so much fun, but I fear my pase experiences in the world of dance. Report
This is SO me... I tried such a class once. I was always moving left, when the others were moving right, etc. etc.

I tried line dancing. I learned the first dance quite well. But when a new dance was introduced I could not get the other one out of my head long enough to learn the new one.

I am considering trying line dancing at the senior center, but that consideration is way on the back burner. It looks like so much fun, but I fear my pase experiences in the world of dance. Report
I guess that's why I power walk on my treadmill. I have no coordination either. I have taken aerobics classes. I am currently doing the FIRM and it's a challange to get coordinated. But I do it for the strenght training. Report
I, too, am not the most graceful person on the planet and I love more "gritty" types of workouts. Still, I used to take an advanced step class with an instructor who stuck to the down and dirty steps (no wild hand motions or extra twirls) but it was fast moving. Sometimes we even used two steps (front and back) or even four surrounding us and it was a blast. I was so sorry to move from the area. I've never found a step instructor like her and then my knees started complaining about step - so I've had to switch gears, but that's OK too.

Between gardening, housework, errands, and other chores, I have enough 'real' things to do without taking classes that take a chunk out of my budget and make me look and feel foolish. If I am going to 'exercise' it is going to be doing something fun and free like volleyball or softball at the park with a bunch of friends, or taking a walk around the neighborhood, riding a bike on the local bike trail, or swimming at my aunt's house. Report
I completely understand! I love doing classes...I can get thru the weights classes, kickboxing and other aerobics classes but step class almost brought me down. It is the only class I have almost left in tears....i stuck it out but have never been back! Report
LOL Nancy! That sounds like my description of my first Body Combat class! Now, I only went to one before deciding that it wasn't for me, but that was because I was afraid I was going to hurt something! I *do* participate in Step Aerobics, but it's a beginning step class, taught by one particular instructor who is very good, or at least a good one for me. I have told my trainer that now that I am 115 lbs lighter, I'm still not graceful, just a thinner, slightly less clumsy person, LOL! Report
I understand how you feel about step aerobics, but sometimes trying something new works out great. I have some friends who are just fanatic about Spinning class and I said "it's just riding a bike, what's the big deal?". Then I tried Spinning - the first class I was sweating too much to figure out if I liked it or not. The second class, I thought I'll give this one more try. Now, I love Spinning and go at least once a week. It is a great stress reliever after work and you don't have to think. You listen to the music and the instructor and make it as hard of a work out as you want to. I'm hoping this will enable me to ride my bike farther and longer when the weather gets nice. Report
I can relate! Although it sounds like everybody and their brother LOVES Zumba, I can't stand it! I tried it, but I felt like I was spending so much time mastering the correct steps that I didn't get much of a workout in. I'd much rather spend that hour doing what I love: running! Or yoga! Or spinning! Or swimming! Report
Oh how I can relate LOL, when I was a avid gym member I tried pilates at the urging of a friend: sore body no body composition change, then Yoga: No flexibility to the point of the instructor saying she never met anyone that could not move their hips for the movements (the medical professional in me came out so I gave her a lesson in human anatomy and flexibility) , Body Pump, Ok good workout with low weights, problem job change could not get to class, so I went to the Sat class full of women flirting with the instructor. My savior was elliptical machine and the treadmill pop on the pod and before you know it 3hrs have gone by, now that going to the gym is impossible, long walks and runs with my dog. I agree that you should try new things but remember not every activity is for every body, so there is no shame in quitting. Its called being self aware. Report
I totally agree with this. We should try new forms of exercise, and give it an honest chance, but if we truly hate it we should find something else that we enjoy doing and will stick with. Report
I have always wanted to do martial arts, but growing up in the 70's it wasn't a girl thing to do. Not to mention that in the midwest farming community that I lived in, there just wasn't anything around. SO I watched Kane wander around the old west in that old show Kung Fu. I finally decided to realize my dream now that I am in my 40's. I love martial arts. I may not be best, but I DO my best and I enjoy going to class. I find that something I once hated to do, once I master it, becomes my favorite. I gained a lot of things that I expected, strength for instance, but I also gained flexibility, grace and self confidence. I also feel safer in this world now.

All I can say is -- if you have a dream, TRY IT. You never know what you might gain from living a dream

Cindi Report
I've just started my healthy journey back in January. I thought working with a trainer would be good. HA Ha.... I had nearly no flexibility or strength for the strength program he was trying to get me to do. Then I tried pilates. My lack of flexibility made that class impossible for me. Tried Steps next. I was completly lost. I even spoke to the instructor afterwards. She commented "most of the class has been with me for months." Obvious she wasn't worried about new members. So, I went to the treadmill. That is until I went flying off it. I was winded and my legs were rubber so off I went.... Now I keep my feet on the ground with 3 mile walks in my neighborhood. Report
I'm with IHEARTMYCORGIS on the running thing. Some people find it freeing, I just find it monotonous, a pain in my knees and my chest. Any time I start to get real speed up I start to wonder if an ace bandage wouldn't be better than a sports bra!

Yoga and Zumba are two I tried at the request of others and have ended up liking. I'm pretty good at Yoga but TERRIBLE at Zumba. So I'm doing the routines at home in front of the TV. It's great fun and no matter how confused I get, Beto and friends are still smiling at me, cheering me on.

I've had that experience with some machines at the gym as well. The first few times I tried the elliptical, I gave up after 2 minutes and went back to the treadmill. Now I hit the elliptical first and skip the treadmill in favor of walking the dogs! Report
I tried step aerobics too and I don't have the coordination for it either! Which didn't bother me too much because it didn't really give me a workout. My heart rate barely got to the right level. Report
I used to be a stepper. Now I run. I still like stepping & do it for a change of pace. As far as that instructor goes - She wasn't so good. She should have given you alternative step to do if you couldn't get the routine. Shame on her. Report
Personally I love step class and attend 2-3 different classes per week. However, I can totally relate to finding something that you enjoy and are passionate about. 5 years ago I decided to learn how to play tennis which is something I never imagined I would do. I took a unit of it in high school and thought it was the stupidest sport ever...boy was I wrong. It is so hard and take so much fitness and proper technique to be good at it. I was just fortunate enough to have a boyfriend who is a tennis coach to have the patience to give me private lesson almost everyday for the first year. I now play competitve tennis and won my first tournament 1.5 years after I originally began playing - what an accomplishment. My only regret is that I didn't take up the sport sooner because I can not imagine never playing tennis now. The big bonus is that it is FANTASTIC exercise and so much fun!

Good luck, I hope you find something that you enjoy as much as I do tennis! Report
Step aerobics classes still exist? Or is this still the year 1989? Report