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A stepper machine is a power packed aerobic trainer that can help you stay fit and trim. A compact machine, the stepper exercise machine does not occupy much space like most other cardio fitness machines.
Most of us are aware that one of the most effective ways to improve fitness is to run up a set of steps or the stairs. This simple but effective low-impact aerobic workout exercise strengthens the lower and upper body, tightens the thighs, tones the hips and increases heart rate thus stimulating weight loss. This can be simulated with a stepper exercise machine - popular in gyms and fitness clubs.
Also known as the stair stepper, a stepper machine involves an intense exercise mode. The workout is very intense, as the workout forces the heart to pump a lot of blood. This workout targets the big muscles of the body and thus gives the cardiovascular system a complete workout. While working out on a stepper machine there is no possibility of taking a break thus assuring continuous workout.
Exercising regularly on a stepper machine is an excellent way of burning fat; it helps in toning the lower body. Steppers also work on improving endurance and cardio fitness levels. Steppers are not as expensive as other exercising machines.
Exercising on the stepper
Stand on the platforms provided.
Keep moving the platforms using leg strength. The platforms are connected to hydraulic cylinders by means of a spring and have independent stepping action.
Handles with foams and grips on the stepper machine enable comfortable holding with effective grip.
The ergometer provided counts and monitors the number of steps per minute and also keeps a track of the number of calories burnt.
Stepper machine types
Stepper machines are available in different types, few focus on few specific areas of the body while yet others focus on the whole body workout. Some stepper exercise machines include:
Stair stepper machine: These machines are bigger than other types of stepper machines. They offer the options of LCD console that displays the workout details, 10 different types of workout programs, water bottle holder, side rails, etc.
Mini stepper machine: This machine is smaller and includes only the feet workout. It is a convenient machine and can be transferred easily from place to place.
Side stepper machine: This machine helps in stepping from side to side instead of up and down movements. This enables in toning the muscles of the inner and outer thighs and gluteus.
Elliptical stepper machine: They are of two types. One focuses on toning the upper body while the other focuses on toning different parts of the body. The machine includes a battery-operated monitor displaying workout details, different types of workout programs, side rails, etc.
Twist stepper workout machine: This machine suits people who want to tone their abdominal muscles and tone their lower body. The machine includes oblique movements and tones the lower body too.
Benefits of a stepper
Working on stepper machines force your legs to work very hard. The sugar stored up in the body is used up for the process thus forcing the body to resource sugar from the fat cells. This initiates weight loss in the body.
This machine works on muscles of the thigh, calf, heart, arms, abdomen, back, etc. Area of the muscle worked out depends on the machine you have chosen.
Working out on this machine is effective cardio or aerobic session.
These machines are simple to use and not very expensive.
Stepper machines are available in various sizes. You can pick the one to suit your specific needs.
Steppers can be placed anywhere in the house, you can position them in front of the television; watch your favorite program while you exercise. This breaks the monotony of exercising.
Steppers are lightweight and can be easily shifted from one place to another without much difficulty.
Few stepper machines can be folded and stored compactly.
Owing to the popularity of the stepper; a compact and lightweight home exercise stepper machine, known as the mini stepper was developed. As the name indicates it is compact and takes up little space for storage thereby becoming very convenient for home usage. Features of mini stepper include:
Two foot pedals that can be pushed downwards.
When pressure is applied to the foot pedals they create a resistance, which can be controlled to suit the individual's fitness and strength levels.
The resistance is created by the hydraulic dampeners that are located on both the pedals.
Based on the brand, some machines have handle bars for grip.
Models with the handle bars also have a display monitor, enabling the user to program the resistance settings.
Heart rate and calories burnt during and at the end of the workout can also be monitored.
Few models have resistance bands instead of handle bars, these bands are attached to the base of the machine on either side of each pedal.
The bands need to be stretched by pulling on them, this way both the lower and upper body is worked out.
Sports mini stepper
The sports mini stepper is more compact and lighter when compared to the models with handle bars.
Office goers can carry these steppers along with them to work.
The bungee band enables strengthening of the upper body muscles.
The price range of mini steppers varies from around $49 and then rise to $500.
An aerobic stepper is a simple fitness tool that helps in burning excess fat through aerobic exercise. An aerobic stepper can help you with losing weight, staying in shape, training for sports and improve overall fitness. The results might not be noticed immediately but can be felt if continuously worked upon.
An aerobic stepper can be used for both aerobic and cardiovascular exercises. The resistance level and the speed level can be adjusted to modify the configurations of the stepper. The difficulty levels can be increased once you are comfortable with a certain level of workout. It is recommended that you follow 3-4 sessions of 20 minutes every week. This exercise should be done along with stretching and other forms of exercise.
Types of aerobic stepper
Non Powered: This is the basic type of aerobic stepper. It utilizes air pistons to operate. It might not be suitable for a complete workout but is highly affordable.
Powered: This is a further modification on the non-powered model. You can exercise with more intensity, resistance and at a higher speed with a powered aerobic stepper. It provides a better workout and is common in all health clubs.
Pedal Stepper: This is the most popular type of aerobic stepper. You can control the settings such as intensity level, time, distance and speed. You can also keep track of your heart rate, stairs or staircases traveled, speed based on steps per minute etc.
Choosing the stepper exercise machine
Choose a good aerobic stepper to avoid slipping and falling.
Try working out on the stepper before ordering for one.
Select an aerobic stepper that is weighted at the bottom and is wide enough so that you don't tip out of it. Tipping out could lead to falls and injuries.
The stepper should heavy enough to remain stable while working out.
The top of the aerobic stepper should have a rubbery, non-slip surface. This avoids slipping off from the stepper while working out.
Do not purchase steppers that have smooth plastic surfaces; they can be slippery and dangerous.
Purchase a height adjustable stepper so that you can adjust it to suit your height.
If you want to work out your whole body, it is best recommended to use a twist stepper. Chest, abdomen hips and legs, every part of the body gets some kind of exercise if the stepper is used correctly.
A twist stepper is a stair climber with a twist. The twist happens when you move your hips up and down the machine. This movement helps in shaping the calves, thighs, buttocks and abdomen. Twisters with resistance bands help in toning the arms, chest, back and shoulders. The machine helps in working the muscles deeply without exerting much pressure on the bones and joints.
The twist stepper is like an ordinary stepper, it has foot pedals with a hard rubber cover. The covering helps in maintaining a firm grip while exercising. Certain twist steppers have attached handlebars, enabling perfect body balance. The knobs or levers can be used to adjust the resistance level. Twisters with LCD display allow you to measure the total time of exercise, count number of steps in a session and calculate the total calories burnt in a session. Many displays also show historical data and help in analyzing various exercise sessions.
Twist steppers made from stainless steel for the handlebars and hard steel for the foot plates are more durable. Twist steppers are light, portable and don't occupy much space. The price range varies between $55 and $120.