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If you’re looking for a low impact activity that offers a great cardio workout but goes easier on your joints than, for example, running, you’ll want to add a step machine to your home gym.
There’s no shortage of health benefits that come with using a step machine.
You can improve both your balance and stability; it’s a very efficient calorie burner, so you can expect to burn more compared with other equipment; it’s a weight bearing exercise, so it helps improve bone density; and it helps you build muscle tone by targeting your glutes and thighs.
Additionally, using the step machine offers an excellent core workout by strengthening your abdominals and the muscles in your lower back. And in the long run it can help you live longer as it makes your heart and lungs more efficient, reduces LDL cholesterol levels, and normalizes blood pressure.
Beyond your health, it’s also worth noting that step machines are generally smaller than rowing machines and treadmills, so it’s easier to find the right space for them in your home and incorporate them into your workout.
There are several types of stair climbers available on the market, but we’re going to look at just two options: the mini-stepper and the regular stair stepper machine.
Mini steppers have two stepping pads that move up and down as you step on them. One of the main advantages to this type of machine is that they’re small and portable. While some are available with handles, the majority are foot units that let you step against resistance, and overall they offer a moderate workout. These machines can also be used with an elastic rubber band, which can add resistance to your upper body during your workout.
The regular stair climber also has two pedals that move up and down with your feet as though you were climbing the stairs. They often have handrails, which are helpful for maintaining stability, and the pedals stay in contact with your feet at all times.
There are a few characteristics to consider before you buy a step machine.
Size and weight of the machine: The bigger machines are very, very heavy, so if you’re going to need to move it around your house, you’ll want to consider buying a mini stepper. If you’re looking for a regular step machine, make sure you have enough space.
Console and display: Do you want to choose a set program to make your workout more challenging? Would you like to keep track of your stats, like calories burned, stairs climbed, distance covered and your heart rate? Make sure you look into which information each machine shares so you can watch your progress.
Assembly: You probably don’t want to buy a machine that’s very difficult to put together, so make sure your step machine is easy to assemble, especially if you have any issues with it down the road and have to take it apart.
Budget: Step machines are available at many different price points, so you’ll want to find something in line with your financial possibilities. That being said, consider buying something that’s built to last.
Now that you know your way around the world of step machines a little better, take a look at our favorites below.