When I was younger, I used to see classes full of women jumping on and off these things like crazy! Step on at one angle, throw their arms up, lift a knee up high, throw a punch, and then step off the other side. At the time I had no idea how beneficial these aerobic steppers could be for getting fit and for overall cardiovascular health. To be brutally honest, I thought all those women were a bit ‘nuts’!
It wasn’t until I got married and my wife wanted to get in shape, that I found out just exactly how one of these non-slip plastic steps could improve your level of fitness. I was very impressed to say the least. It was not only a vigorous and tough cardio workout, but it was a lot of fun too. We followed thirty minute video classes which we watched on our TV. We were both delighted to say the least at how high our heart rates were sent souring upwards with a workout on our new aerobic stepper.
We ended up doing step aerobics in our lounge for the next twelve months, until we eventually wore out the carpet! We decided to give up with our home cardio classes and joined a gym instead. The thought of replacing the lounge carpet every year was clearly a deciding factor.
Basics of the Aerobic Stepper:
- Adjustable height – with secure fitting blocks
- Non-slip stepping board
- Sturdy, so it won’t move when you are exercising
- Easily stored out of site when not in use
- Shock absorbing
The principles of a stair stepper and an aerobic stepper are fundamentally the same. However, you use them in very different ways. Whereas hydraulic action stair steppers, you just step up and down or to the side (depending on the type you buy), with an aerobic stepper you are free to move on and off in all directions while you step.
What Are the Benefits of Exercising on an Aerobic Stepper?
- Improved cardiovascular health (1)
- Improved fitness
- Burn fat calories
- Improved balance
- Improve your hand and leg mobility
- Lose weight
- Build leg strength
- Versatile – exercise at home or take your step to a class
- Adjustable platform height for low or high impact training
- Easy on ankle and knee joints
- Builds endurance
Exercising regularly on an aerobic stepper offers many health and fitness benefits, as you can see from that list. A very important plus for doing aerobics exercise on step equipment (or via any other means) is that within just a few short weeks of starting, you will improve your ability to walk up a steep staircase or a steep hill, without getting out of breath. This is a major health benefit to you.
Too many people these days, get out of breath just by walking up stairs. If this is you, then you will no longer have to worry about stopping half way up to ‘suck in as much air as possible’! This will be a thing of the past by just doing some simple step aerobics.
What Muscles Benefit From Using an Aerobic Stepper?
- Calve muscles
- Hip flexors – the group of muscles at the top of your leg/groin
Although primarily a cardiovascular and fat burning activity, stepping and moving like you do on an aerobic training platform will definitely tone and strengthen every muscle in your legs. (2) You won’t build muscle parse, not like you would if you were weight lifting, but you will certainly notice fitness and endurance benefits in your leg muscles.
A step aerobics workout could be compared to a very light plyometric’s workout because of all the jumping on and off your step at different angles. (3) The muscular benefits could be increased and improved by adding more height to your step. Of course, we are not advising to you to go straight out and buy a step platform with a twelve in drop! But if you start off on a four inch platform, in no time at all you will probably find yourself adding height to your step.
We’ve already discussed the difference this type of exercise could make to your stair climbing, but it will also improve your walking, jogging and running (if you do any of the latter two).
Can You Use Other Gym Equipment With an Aerobic Stepper?
Yes, absolutely. Many fitness enthusiasts like to use a set of dumbbells for certain exercises. When you do add this type of equipment to your routine, you can really add something a little ‘extra’ to your fat burning workout. In fact, using a set of dumbbells would dramatically increase your heart rate for the duration of your workout.
You could do a number of exercises like dumbbell curls, shoulder presses and back muscle rowing to name just a few. You could also work your chest muscles by using a very light set of dumbbells, squeezing your chest together as you step up!
You can also do a variety of exercises using resistance bands with your stepper. Resistance bands offer a safer alternative to using dumbbells. You can work and train almost every muscle in your body with bands. I have a set that I use if I can’t get to the gym. I combine them with various body weight exercises.
Aerobic Stepper Buying and Safety Tips
When you are buying your first platform, there are a few things you need to consider, for your safety and for the purpose for which you are buying it.
Make sure that you purchase a step which is quite sturdy. Not too heavy that you cannot carry it with you, but sturdy enough that it is not going to move under your body weight when you step up and down in quick succession.
Also make sure that it has slip resistance on the feet and on top of the platform itself. This is important, because you do not want to slip while you step up and when you step off (if it does not have skid resistance), you will push it away from you. If you misplace your feet at any time because you slip off or the step slips away from you, you could really hurt yourself – even damage a joint or pull/tear a muscle.
Some platforms are too small. Just read some of the reviews on Amazon here and you will see how many people had to buy two steppers because the first one they bought was not long enough! The problem with smaller steps is that they are too short, and don’t allow you to travel far enough with some exercises. It seems pretty pointless buying a lesser, shorter step to me because if you can’t do the exercises in the most efficient way possible, you are not getting the benefit from stepping in the first place. So it is really worth investing in a longer and higher quality one.
You should also be aware, that if you are doing any type of exercise where you place your hands on your stepper, the non-slip platform is both hard and rough to the touch. So, if you were including (say) press ups to your workout, with your hands on the platform – you would need to wear gloves or at least cover the step with a towel.
Whatever you want to achieve by exercising on an aerobic stepper, you are going to have a lot of fun burning calories and losing weight. And if you are using the best step aerobics DVD, it will keep you motivated so that you will achieve your health and fitness goals. It doesn’t matter if you are using them at home, following the instructions of step DVD or if you have joined a class. When you do your cardio workout on an aerobic stepper, you are increasing your heart rate and boosting your metabolism which means your blood is pumping faster around your body, stripping away unwanted calories.