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4 Aerobic gymnastics (AG) is a new discipline of the International Federation of
5 Gymnastics. It consists of gymnastic movement elements and aerobics
6 components. The AG routine is a combination of movements which are about
7 strength (power); static strength; jumping and leaping; flexibility; and the seven
8 basic aerobics steps. The aims of the AG award scheme are to encourage active
9 lifestyle and develop generic skills for students. 40 school teachers successfully
10 completed a teachers’ training course and then they conducted the AG courses in
11 their schools. Fun days, physical fitness tests and inter-school competitions were
12 conducted. In addition, three AG awards were designed and students were
13 awarded certificates and badges after successfully completing the routines
14 required. Positive feedback was received from teachers and students. Aerobic
15 gymnastics can promote active lifestyle and wellbeing. It can also enhance
16 creativity cooperation, communication and teamwork for students.
23 The physical and mental health benefits of physical activity are well documented in
24 the Surgeon General’s Report (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000)
25 and engaging in physical activity /exercise can improve one’s health. Therefore, active
26 lifestyle should be encouraged. Under the recent education reform in Hong Kong,
27 physical education (PE) is one of the eight key learning areas for school children and 5%
28 of the total curriculum should be related to physical education. Physical Education is ‘ to
29 educate students through physical activity’. Its aims are to develop students’ physical
30 competence and knowledge of movement and safety, and their ability to use these to
31 perform in a wide range of activities associated with the development of an active and
32 healthy lifestyle. (Curriculum Development Council (CDC) 2002, p. ii)
33 One of the activities in physical education program is the “Aerobics” activity which
34 is the “oxygen –requiring” activity that involves the gross muscle groups. In the 60’s, Dr.
35 Kenneth H. Cooper designed aerobics training program for the U.S. space program and
36 then in the 80’s, Ms. Jane Fonda, a famous movie star has created different aerobic dance
37 routines and has produced many video tapes. Thus, aerobic dance becomes very popular
38 throughout the world. The Sport Fitness International (SFI) took aerobics from a fitness
39 activity and created the competitive discipline called competitive aerobics or Sports
40 aerobics in 1983. The International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG) formally accepted
41 this sport as a competitive gymnastic discipline in 1994 and a technical committee in
42 Sports Aerobics has been established. In 1995, the first Official World Championships
43 were held in Paris with 34 participating countries. The sport was renamed as “aerobic
44 gymnastics” in 2005. In 2006, 74 nations of the 125 member federations of the FIG have
45 affiliated Aerobic Gymnastics to their overall programme. (International Federation of
46 Gymnastics, n.d.)
47 The aerobic gymnastics routine is a combination of the movement groups which are
48 strength (power); static strength; jump and leap; and flexibility; and the seven basic
49 aerobic steps (march, jog, knee lift, kick, jumping jack, lunge, and skip). The participants
50 should demonstrate excellence in the fitness components of muscular strength and
51 endurance, cardio vascular fitness, flexibility and artistic performance skills in the routine.
52 In 2000, aerobic gymnastics was introduced to students through the aerobic gymnastics
53 award scheme to promote active lifestyle and develop generic skills: communication,
54 cooperation, and creativity in Hong Kong. Despite having a short history, its popularity in
55 Hong Kong almost parallels other gymnastic disciplines.
56 The Aerobic Gymnastic Award Scheme
57 The aerobic gymnastics award scheme consists of four phrases
58 I. Teachers, Coaches and Judges Training Courses
59 In order to promote a sport, official training is very important. Experts from China
60 and Japan, and the vice president of the aerobic gymnastics technical committee of the
61 FIG were invited to conduct aerobic gymnastics teachers and coaches training courses in
62 2000 and 2002. Over 100 school teachers had successfully completed the teachers and
63 coaches training courses. In addition, the judges’ training course was conducted in 2002
64 and the vice president of the aerobic gymnastics technical committee of the FIG was
65 invited once again to present lectures.
66 With the assistance and support from the experts, the contents of the award scheme
67 and the teaching materials for teachers were developed. Booklets and video tapes were
68 produced for teachers and coaches so that they would access the teaching materials easily
69 and feel more confident in teaching aerobic gymnastics.
70 II. Aerobic Gymnastics Program in Schools
71 With the support from the Hong Kong Quality Education Fund, exercise mats,
72 aerobic gymnastics music compact discs and basic physical fitness testing equipment
73 were provided for primary and secondary schools joining the Aerobic Gymnastics
74 Scheme. Aerobic gymnastic training courses were conducted in school as co-curriculum
75 activities and aerobic gymnastics were included at the PE curriculum. Children are
76 attracted to it because of the music, the chance to develop creativity, and the sheer
77 enjoyment of performing different movements.
78 In addition, aerobic gymnastics fun day was conducted twice per year. In the fun day,
79 information on aerobic gymnastics and physical fitness was presented to students and
80 parents in order to enhance their knowledge in sports and physical fitness. Students from
81 different schools could perform their routine to their friends, parents and exchange ideas
82 with students from other schools. Moreover, physical fitness tests on the following items:
83 body weight, height, body composition, waist and hip circumference, grip strength,
84 flexibility test were conducted so that students and their parents could understand more
85 about their physical fitness levels and be awarded for their health condition.
86 III. Award Presentation and Inter-school Aerobic Gymnastics Competition
87 Three (Bronze, Silver and Gold) sports aerobics awards were designed for students
88 and they could be awarded certificates and badges after completing the routines. Students
89 could receive awards at the award presentation ceremony in school. Over 4000
90 certificates and badges have been issued in 2002-03. The award scheme has created a
91 positive sports experience which enhances self-esteem and intrinsic motivation for
93 Furthermore, the first Inter-school Aerobic Gymnastics Competition had been
94 organized since March 2003 and over 500 students had participated in the competition.
95 IV. Research Project on Energy Expenditure
96 A research project which investigated the energy expenditure of the aerobic
97 gymnastics award routine was conducted in 2003. A total of 128 participants (17 males
98 and 111 females) took part in this study. The age-range of participants was from 6 to 16.
99 They were divided into three age groups (8years and below=35, 9-11=64, 12 and
100 above=29). Students performed the routine according to the Sports Aerobics Award
101 Scheme levels. (Gold =8, Silver =5, Bronze =115). Participants were asked to wear the
102 BioTrainer and the Polar Heart-rate monitor, and perform the Bronze/Silver/ Gold routine
103 three times with a 30- second rest interval. The duration for the routine is about one
104 minute. The results showed that students reached the exercise heart rate zone after
105 performing the aerobic gymnastics exercise. The average energy expenditure for the
106 award scheme is as follows: Gold award M =7.46 Kcal/min, Silver award M= 6.75
107 Kcal/min, Bronze award M=4.56 Kcal/min. They are similar to other activities such as
108 high intensity aerobic dance; running (5mph), fast bicycling (13mph) and rope jumping
109 (Williams et al.2000). Furthermore, Cheung (2001) stated that the participants of aerobic
110 gymnastics had significant improvement in cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and
111 decrease in percentage body fat when compared with the participants in the control group
112 after a 10- week aerobic gymnastics training. The results supported that aerobic
113 gymnastics could enhance physical fitness level of students.
114 V. Art and Sport
115 In order to develop students’ aesthetic awareness, the aerobic gymnastics coloring
116 competition was conducted in primary schools. Students worked on the poster of the
117 aerobic gymnastics competition and created the background of the picture. The works
118 of the prize winners were displayed at the inter-school competition. The event could
119 promote the sport and develop aesthetic awareness of students.
121 To date, there is an estimate of 10,000 students actively involved in the aerobic
122 gymnastics in Hong Kong. One main reason for its growth in popularity is because
123 Aerobic Gymnastics requires no equipment and can be practiced in any open space.
124 Teachers feel confident in teaching aerobic gymnastics and resources were provided for
126 In addition, the skills involved in performing aerobic gymnastics routines can be
127 mastered quite easily especially by children after some practice. Children feel confident
128 and have a sense of achievement when participating in this sport.
129 At the same time, aerobic gymnastics performances also can enhance teamwork,
130 communication and cooperation among students. They can also create their own routines,
131 thus can improve their skills and creativity. They have fun and enjoy the challenge and
132 excitement of the award scheme and competition.
133 Furthermore, researches support the physiological benefit of aerobic gymnastics.
134 Positive feedback was received from teachers and students. Therefore, aerobic
135 gymnastics should be used to promote active lifestyle for school children.
139 Cheung, S. K. (2001). Physiological effects of sports aerobics training for secondary
140 female students. Unpublished honours project, Hong Kong Baptist University,
141 Hong Kong.
142 Cheung, S. Y. (2002). The development of Sports Aerobics 健美操發展概況. Hong
143 Kong Recreation Review, 14, 17-19.
144 Cheung, S.Y. & L. Fung (2004, October). Energy requirement for completing a
145 standardized sports aerobics routine. The 3rd Annual Conference of the Society of
146 Chinese Scholars on Exercise Physiology and Fitness, Suzhou, China.
147 Curriculum Development Council (2002). Physical education: Key learning area
148 curriculum guide (Primary 1-Secondary 3). Hong Kong: The Curriculum
149 Development Council.
150 Department of Health and Human Services (2000). Healthy People 2010. U.S.
151 Department of Health and Human Services.
152 International Federation of Gymnastics. (n.d.). The aerobic gymnastics. Retrieved
153 October 28, 2006, from
155 Williams, C. S., Harageones, E.G., Johnson, D. J., & Smith, C. D. (2000). Personal
156 fitness: Teacher’s edition. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.