Aerobic Dancing And Your Tootsies
aerobic dancing involves quick lateral movements, jumping, and leaping
for extended periods of time, proper care of the foot plays a crucial
part in keeping the entire body fit to endure the "pain" that precedes
the "gain" of a more fit physique and efficient heart and respiratory
If your feet
suffer from excess pronation or supination (your ankles tend to turn
inward or outward too much), it's especially important to see a
podiatric physician, who may recommend controlling the sometimes
harmful motions with an orthotic shoe insert.
are crucial to successful, injury-free aerobics. Shoes should provide
sufficient cushioning and shock absorption to compensate for pressure
on the foot many times greater than found in walking. They must also
have good medial-lateral stability. Impact forces from aerobics can
reach up to six times the force of gravity, which is transmitted to
each of the 26 bones in the foot.
the many side-to-side motions, shoes need an arch design that will
compensate for these forces, and sufficiently thick upper leather or
strap support to provide forefoot stability and prevent slippage of the
foot and lateral shoe "breakup." Make sure shoes have a toe box that is
high enough to prevent irritation of toes and nails.
the American Aerobics Association International (AAAI), the old
sneakers in your closet are probably not proper shoes for aerobics.
Major shoe companies today have designed special shoes for aerobics,
which provide the necessary arch and side support; they also have soles
that allow for the twisting and turning of an aerobics regimen.
shoes, perhaps the most popular athletic shoes, lack the necessary
lateral stability and lift the heel too high to be considered proper
for aerobics. They also often have an acute outside flare that may put
the athlete at greater risk of injury in sports, like aerobics, that
require side-by-side motion. Running shoes are not recommended by
podiatric physicians for aerobics.
found the proper shoes, tie them securely, but not too tight, in the
toe box to allow toes to spread, and tightly around the arch.
Double-tie the laces to prevent accidental slippage in mid-routine.
shoes in the afternoon, when the feet swell slightly. Wear the same
socks (podiatrists recommend athletic socks made of an acrylic blend)
that you will wear in training.
Prevention of Injuries
physically challenging sport such as aerobics, injuries are common, and
often involve the foot, ankle, and lower leg. (Other susceptible parts
of the body are the knee and back.)
say most injuries from aerobics result from improper shoes, surfaces,
or routines, and overuse of muscles through too vigorous a regimen.
tied, well-fitted aerobic-specific shoes will address the first
problem, and common sense will help the with the others. The key to
injury prevention is proper conditioning, which will provide muscles
the flexibility and strength needed to avoid injury.
If you are
attending an aerobics class, make sure it is led by a certified
instructor. Hardwood floors, especially with padded mats, are the best
surfaces possible. If you can, start with a multi-impact class, where
you can start at a low-impact level and work your way up as your
routine is at home with a video, be very careful. Read the label to
determine whether the video is produced by certified aerobics
instructors and whether you can handle the degree of impact. While it's
safe to do low-to-moderate impact aerobics on the living room carpet,
that's not a proper surface for high-impact routines.
make sure the video includes a proper warm-up period. Make sure there
are no rapid, violent movements. Do not bounce or use ballistic
stretching, or stretches known as the Yoga plow or hurdler's stretch.
Knees should always be loose during warm-up. A static stretch held for
10 seconds can help avoid overstretching injury.
As you work
out, monitor your heart rate to stay near the target heart range (start
with 220, subtract your age, then multiply by 0.8 to find target heart
range). You should be within five of the target range. Monitor pulse at
peak and after final cool-off and compare. The difference is known as
your cardiac reserve.
Drink lots of water to avoid dehydration during workouts; it can cause nausea, dizziness, muscle fatigue, and cramping.
underestimate the importance of the cool-off period. It burns off
lactic acid (which makes muscles feel tired) and adrenalin, while
keeping blood from pooling in the extremities.
professionals exercise vigorously six times a week, it's best to start
slower. Although it varies by the individual, it's safe to start
exercising twice a week for several weeks, then gradually increase to a
maximum of five times a week. Remember to pace yourself, and listen to
your body. If you feel pain, stop. Don't attempt to exercise through
pain, or you may aggravate an acute injury into a chronic or even
permanent one. If you continue to be bothered by pain more than 24
hours after exercising, see a physician.
Source: The American Podiatric Medical Association,
Copyright 2004 Health Resources Publishing