Related Terms

Aerobox, body composition, boxaerobics, boxercise, cardiorespiratory fitness, cardiovascular fitness, fitness class, flexibility, group exercising, kickboxing, muscle strengthening, muscular endurance, muscular strength, step aerobics, Tae Bo?, physical fitness.


Aerobics is a program of physical conditioning designed to enhance circulatory and respiratory efficiency that involves vigorous sustained exercise.
Certified instructors lead a wide variety of aerobics classes at fitness centers or gyms. However, television programs and videos are also available so individuals can workout in the privacy of their own home.
A typical aerobics class lasts about 30-60 minutes. Aerobic workouts typically begin with a warm-up routine and end with a cool-down segment that includes stretching exercises.
Step aerobics: Step aerobics is one form of aerobics that involves stepping up onto and down from a portable platform (the step). While step aerobics is an aerobic activity, the platform also allows for strength training.
Kickboxing: Kickboxing is a generic term for a sporting martial art that, while similar to boxing, uses the feet as well as the hands for striking. Kickboxing classes (also known as cardio-kickboxing) have become a popular form of aerobic exercise.
Cardio-kickboxing classes vary but generally feature a variety of punches, kicks, knee strikes and other self-defense moves interspersed with a bouncing "base" move.
Some cardio-kickboxing classes spend at least part of the time kicking and punching weighted, padded targets or engaging in actual sparring. The class may also incorporate traditional exercises, such as jumping jacks, abdominal crunches, leg lifts and push-ups to create a total body workout.
Tae Bo?: Tae Bo? is an exercise program combining elements of boxing, dance, and tae kwon do to provide an overall workout. It combines self-awareness and control of martial arts, the focus and strength of boxing and the grace and rhythm of dance. Tae Bo? stands for: Total, Awareness, Excellence, Body, Obedience.
Tae Bo? was developed by seven-time World Martial Arts Champion Billy Blanks in 1976. The first Tae Bo? workout video was released in 1998.
Certified Tae Bo? instructors lead the classes at fitness centers or gyms. However, instructional videos are also available so individuals can workout in the privacy of their own home.

Theory / Evidence

Aerobics may enhance cardiovascular fitness and improve muscle tone.
Regular exercise may have a positive impact on an individual's health. For instance, obesity has been linked to an increased risk of hypertension, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and respiratory problems and some cancers. Since exercising regularly can help individuals maintain a healthy weight, it may also help reduce the risk of certain health problems.
Not only does exercise help control weight, but it also helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), regular exercise reduces the risk of dying prematurely or dying from heart disease. It also reduces the risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure or colon cancer. It has shown to reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. Physical fitness also promotes psychological well being.
Kickboxing: According to a study by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), cardio-kickboxing burns an average of 350-450 calories per hour.
In addition to improving and maintaining cardiovascular fitness, cardio-kickboxing increases strength and flexibility, improves coordination and balance and sharpens reflexes, according to ACE. Cardio-kickboxing is also believed to reduce stress

Author information

This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (


Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). 11 May 2006.
American Council on Exercise. 12 May 2006.
Billy Blanks. What is Tae Bo?? 12 May 2006.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overweight and Obesity: Home. 11 May 2006.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical Activity and Health. 11 May 2006.
Health A to Z. Kickboxing. 12 May 2006.
International Sports Conditioning Association (ISCA). ISCA Guidelines for Boxing and Kickboxing Based Program. 12 May 2006.
Stepping Guidelines. 12 May 2006.


Step aerobics: The height of the step depends on the individual's aerobic fitness level, leg length, stepping skill and coordination, choreography and music tempo. Individuals should use the lowest possible step height that will allow the individual to stay within an appropriate aerobic training zone (60-75% of an individual's maximum heart rate).
Beginners usually start with a four-inch step. As this height becomes easier, risers can be added. It is recommended to increase height at two-inch intervals to a maximum of 10 inches.
Choreography can also increase the level of difficulty of the workout. Intermediate and advanced step classes will include a series of jumps and hops, also known as power moves, to increase the aerobic intensity.
Kickboxing: 12 or 16oz. gloves may be added to the workout for additional resistance and protection and for sport specific training. Once gloves are added, the duration of punches needs to be reduced. Continuous punchingfor longer than 10-15 seconds is not recommended with the same arm.