Who doesn't have a few extra calories to burn now that summer is over? Understanding the difference between "impact" and "intensity" can help you optimize your workout and get the job done.
"High-Impact" refers to aerobic fitness in which there is air under both feet as in hopping or jumping. "Low-impact" refers to cardiovascular training in which at least one foot always remains on the ground. A little bouncing can be part of a low-impact workout because, while it may have the appearance of lifting, the move remains grounded to the floor. Low-impact aerobic movements are a great option for anyone who wants to reduce stress on the legs and joints (hips, knees, ankles and feet).
Intensity, on the other hand, refers to your "perceived exertion" during both cardio and strength training. It is a qualitative measure based on how hard your workout feels to you. Compare your actual heart rate to your perceived exertion to gain an even deeper understanding of your intensity. To increase your cardio intensity in Jazzercise, focus on using a full range of motion by keeping the core tight, knees high, arms and legs fully extended, back and chest lifted and using big level changes to work those big muscle groups in your glutes and legs. Keeping muscles active and engaged by squeezing them through both static and dynamic movement, has a huge bearing on your intensity. As a dance-based fitness program, the intensity of our workout is as much about controlling movement with grace as it is about making it big. The more beautiful, clean and effortless the movement appears, the more control and intensity there is behind it. (Flailing about doesn't burn as many calories, y'all.) During the strength training portion of your workout, intensity can be gained by increasing your weights, number of reps, and/or range of motion. The harder it is to move against gravity, both positively (lifting) and negatively (lowering slowly, with resistance), the more intense your workout will feel. (Feel free to add gritted teeth, grunts, and exasperated sighs to your usual giggles, for effect.)
So, while most low-impact classes are moderate in intensity, it is very possible for a low-impact workout to be high-intensity, and vise versa. Just because someone is jumping or hopping (high-impact), does not mean they have the full range of motion, control and sufficient muscle behind the move to be working it with high-intensity. The bottom line: whether you choose high- or low-impact, in order to maintain or improve your fitness level, your workout should always feel somewhat-hard or hard, to you.
We are excited to be back to a full schedule of both high- and low-impact classes and we are looking forward to the energy September attendance brings! Whatever your impact choice, with the fresh fall air upon us, we hope you get fired up to take your workout intensity to the next level!