An exercise stepper is a small exercise machine which simulates the sensation of ascending steps while working your legs up and down in place. A stepper can provide a well-balanced workout and requires only a minimal amount of time each day in order to get the maximum benefit.
The Benefits of a Stepper
Exercising on an exercise stepper can give you a low-impact aerobic cardiovascular workout. It will also target the leg and gluteal (buttock) muscles, making your legs and buttocks more toned and shapely and keeping excess pounds off. The machine can also target the core muscles in your abdomen and lower back if you use the machine correctly.
The Basics of the Workout
Most home steppers are not the fully computerized kind that offer multiple levels of resistance and speed from which to choose. If your exercise stepper does offer computerized levels, aim for low numbers of resistance when you're first starting and increase the resistance every few weeks as you get used to the current level.
- Place a foot flat and securely on each step.
- Some home steppers have handles or resistance cords on which to place your hands, while others do not. If your stepper does not, bend your arms about halfway up your core and make fists with your hands. You can then move your hands forward and back in rotation like you would while jogging. If your stepper does have bars for your hands, hold onto them tightly but do not lean on them. If there are resistance cords, you can push the cords straight out in front of you and back as you step.
- Keep your upper body and core straight. Do not slouch or bend over. This is crucial to working on the core muscles and remaining stable on the machine.
- Push one foot down against the stepper as the other foot rises up. Repeat with the opposite foot. This should feel similar to the sensation of climbing stairs.
- Start slowly and add speed as you get used to the machine. Start your workout at somewhere between six and twelve minutes. Over time, you can workout on the machine for upwards of twenty minutes at a time.
Make sure that the exercise stepper is on a completely flat surface. Do not place the stepper on carpet or a rug. Wear high-impact sneakers for the routine and do not use the machine barefoot. Perform the exercises slowly and make sure that you've got a good sense of balance before you add more speed.
Changing the Workout
You can add arm strength training to the machines without handles or resistance cords (which already help strengthen arms) by working out with lightweight dumbbells as you step.
If you can't fit an entire workout into your day, using an exercise stepper at home is not only easy, it's beneficial to your body's health, muscle tone and strength. The machine is also fairly small and can easily be tucked out of the way when not in use.