Stair Stepper and Stepmill Machines: Great Choices for Cardio Exercise

by Jodee on November 5, 2010

When it comes to cardio exercise at the gym, you have several options available. Two types of exercise machines that can give you a good workout are the stair stepper and the stepmill.

Stair Stepper

The stair stepper machine, commonly referred to by the brand name Stairmaster, is easy to use. If you are able to climb stairs, you can use the machine. The difference between using the stair stepper and going up a standard set of stairs is that when you use the machine, your body weight pushes the steps down. When you set the stair stepper to a higher level of difficulty, the steps fall faster, which means you need to step down on them faster.

This particular cardio exercise equipment offers a more intense workout than a treadmill, walking or jogging can give you. It’s not a great choice if you have trouble with your knees, though.

If you decide to use a stair stepper for your workout, you can get the best workout by using an interval program. As with any cardio machine, start off slowly and increase the length and intensity of your workout slowly. The handles on the machine are meant to be used for balance only, not to support your body weight. If you have balance issues, the stair stepper is probably not the best choice for you.

Stepmill

Another cardio machine that you might want to try when you go to the gym is a stepmill. When the stepmill is in operation, it looks a lot like an escalator. This is not a machine for newbies, though; using one will get your heart rate elevated very quickly.

The stairs on the unit are quite narrow, and it may take a bit of time before you feel comfortable working out on it. Start slowly so that you can get used to the motion of the machine before you start working at a higher intensity.

Out of the two machines, the stepmill is going to give you the more intense cardio workout. If you are new to working out with cardio machines, start by working out on a treadmill, stationary bike or even the stair stepper machine first. Save the stepmill for when you have mastered the other cardio machines and are looking for a more intense workout.

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