Tag Archives: low-impact

Student deals Vol. 1 – Step class and its friend, the community centre

22 Feb

Difficulty: Easy enough for seniors

Enjoyment-factor: Fun for people who find real dance classes difficult

Cost: $ Super cheap if you go to the right places

What it is

Step class is easily my favourite workout. It involves a plastic step you can add height to, that lies on a flat surface. An instructor will lead a class through a series of simple aerobic routines that use the step. It’s low-impact and doesn’t stress joints like running does, so it’s great for people with “issues” (from knees to hips).

However, because of the step, you intensify your workout. Step routines also incorporate a lot of arm movements, which burn more calories as well.

Photo by carrotsncake

Sweatin’ with seniors

My favourite part about it is that you do not have to be particularly coordinated or in shape to do it. In fact, you can be awful and alternate stepping side to side and up and down the whole time and still get a great workout.

Warning: Seniors love this workout, maybe more than water aerobics, so prepare to feel silly if you take a break and Gladys doesn’t.

“Why I like step class is that you’re so busy trying to do the right moves and all the choreography and learn new steps, that by the end of it, you’ve pretty much been doing hard-core cardio for an hour,” said Jennifer Rapley, a step-class regular at West Vancouver Community Centre.

“The music is upbeat, the moves are fun and challenging, and by the end of the class you’ve learned a whole routine, so it’s rewarding in that way.

It’s kind of goofy sometimes, but it’s so fun that it doesn’t really feel like a workout and I’d recommend it to anybody,” said Rapley.

Photo from West Vancouver Community Centre

By far the cheapest deal I have found is at the brand new West Vancouver Community Centre. Drop-in classes for adults are $6.90. Drop-in classes with a valid student card are $5.90. And once you pay your drop-in fee you can do anything in the centre for that one visit, including hit the pool or the gym. Pilates, yoga and a sculpting step class are also offered, just check out this week’s schedule.

Photo by coolspotters

The other guys

To compare, drop-in classes at Gold’s Gym are $16.80. She’s Fit, which is women-only, charges a respectable $8 for drop-in to the club and this includes gym access and step class. They don’t offer a student discount, and when I went, I found it more crowded and less fun. There was too much superfluous shouting for me, and I found I had to do a lot of fancy, hard to follow moves, that left me just standing there. But it might have just been the instructor. At West Vancouver Community Centre I highly recommend Karen, who teaches most weekends, is easy to follow and loves Motown. How great is Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard it Through the Grapevine”, while you’re doing the grapevine?

Photo from Vancouver Parks Board website

Community centres and why they are awesome

They offer a variety of classes and have pools, ice rinks, gyms, workout equipment and are dirt cheap. As if community centres weren’t already the cheapest option, with the Leisure Access Card they are even cheaper.

With this card you pay half price for all community centres. You also get unlimited access to skating rinks and swimming pools as well as 50 per cent discounts on things like skating and swim lessons and even pitch and putt golf courses. To qualify for the Leisure Access Card you just have to be broke, which is all students!

Merry early Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza. *Muah.