A stair stepper is a piece of standard fitness equipment that you can find in any gym, next to the treadmills and ellipticals. If you haven’t used it yet, you might think that it’s just a set of movable steps, and you’ll get bored if you use it daily. However, it can give you serious fitness gains if you use it right.
You can use the stair stepper every workout day. However, you must plan your workout intensity and timing correctly. Ten to twenty minutes of daily stair climbing at moderate intensity should be enough if you’re a beginner. Once you’ve built your balance and muscle strength, you can increase the timing and intensity up to 60 minutes.
Read on to find out the benefits and commonly believed myths about the stair stepper, and find out how to manage the time you send on the stair stepper for an effective workout.
- 1 Benefits of the Stair Stepper
- 2 Myths About Stair Climbing You Shouldn’t Believe
- 3 Scheduling Your Time on the Stair Stepper
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
- 5 Conclusion
Benefits of the Stair Stepper
Weight Loss and Calorie Burning
If you’re planning to shed a few pounds, stair climbing is one of the most effective workouts you can include in your daily exercise routine.
It works out the largest muscles in your body, which not only strengthens the muscles but also boosts your metabolism. Moreover, the intense workout increases the amount of oxygen in the muscles, and in turn, ups the number of calories the body burns after the training.
Stair climbing is a mixed heart rate-boosting cardio and strength training workout that burns more calories than steady-state cardio like walking or running. Walking ten steps on the stair stepper burns as many calories as taking 38 steps on the ground level.
Thirty minutes of working out on the stair stepper can burn anywhere from 180 to 260 calories, depending on your weight and workout intensity.
Muscle Toning and Strength
Stair climbing is a vertical exercise that helps strengthen your lower body muscles, including your legs, thighs, hip, and abdomen. Each step engages the calves, quads, glutes, and hamstrings, so stair climbing tones and builds muscles in your legs.
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Weight-bearing exercises like stair-stepping that pits you against the force of gravity can enhance bone mass and reduce the risk of age-related bone issues such as osteoporosis.
Stair climbing requires keeping your balance and therefore engages your core. By standing upright while strengthening your legs, you’re also strengthening your abdominals and lower back muscles, which improves core strength. It’ll prevent lower back pain, too.
The key to aerobic fitness is a strong heart and lungs. You’ll breathe in more oxygen and pump the oxygen-rich blood to all body parts. Stair climbing will strengthen your heart and lungs and increase the amount of HDL or the good protein in your blood that helps improve blood circulation.
If you use the stair stepper machine correctly, you can improve your posture by strengthening your core muscles.
You shouldn’t hunch over the handrails and put your body weight on your arms instead of your lower body, decreasing the number of calories you’re burning and reducing the workout impact. You should try to stay upright and have a light grip on the handles for safety.
Knee Pain Relief
Stair climbing is a low-impact exercise compared to running on a hard surface. So, it’s a better workout for those who feel pain and stress on their knees, and by starting slowly and gradually increasing the intensity of your workout, you can strengthen your knees and relieve the pain.
Balance and Endurance Improvement
Stair climbing improves balance and endurance while reducing the risk of falling by increasing cardiorespiratory and neuromuscular performance in your body.
A Great Workout Variation
If you’re tired of spending time on the treadmill and elliptical and you want to mix up your cardio and resistance workouts, the stair stepper is a great way to go.
Despite what it may seem, the stair stepper isn’t a boring machine. It’s not just about going up the stairs; there are various settings you can try to keep your workouts fresh.
Long steps, walking backward, squat steps, alternate leg raises, sumo steps, side steps, and the exercises shown in the picture below are a few of the different movements you can try.
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Mental and Physical Health Improvement
Cardiovascular exercises will reduce the risk of diseases when performed regularly, and stair climbing isn’t an exception. It combats high blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart attacks, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and strokes.
Much like other machines, the stair stepper will make your body use up energy more efficiently, get rid of waste better, and increase your energy. It’ll also help regulate your sleeping patterns.
All workout types, including stair-stepping, make your body release endorphins, the brain chemical that boosts your mood, makes you feel good, and reduces your stress levels.
Myths About Stair Climbing You Shouldn’t Believe
Stair Climber Workouts Will Hurt Your Knees.
If you have pre-existing knee joint issues or weak and injured knees, you may feel uncomfortable and painful when exercising on the stair stepper.
However, stair climbing doesn’t create knee pain on its own. You have to use the machine properly and continually activate your hamstring, glutes, and calf muscles. Don’t let the steps come all the way up or down when you step on them so your knee won’t lock, and also press your heel down when stepping.
Using the machine at the gym is better than working out on actual steps because you’ll only be going up, and you won’t hurt your knees coming down the stairs.
Stair Climbing Makes Your Legs Bulky and Big.
When you do stair climbing exercises, your legs may seem bigger, but it’s mainly due to blood and oxygen rush to the working muscles. Once your lower body muscles recover, the inflammation will go away. Stair stepping will actually help tone and sculpt your legs.
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Stair Climbing Is Enough for the Legs.
Although stair climbing works out your lower body and tones your legs, you’ll need to include a type of resistance training in your workouts so that you can get the best results. Adding outdoor running, treadmill, cycling, or strength training specific to your legs will help your muscles build strength and lean muscles faster.
Here are the best leg exercises for mass and strength you can try in combination with your stair climbing routine.
Stair Climbing Isn’t a Full Body Workout.
As explained before, stair climbing works out all the muscles in your legs, including the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. It also strengthens your core muscles, lowers abs and bones. It helps you lose weight and exercise some of the largest muscles in your body. So, it can be considered a full-body workout.
Scheduling Your Time on the Stair Stepper
If you’re a beginner at this workout, it’s best to start with 10–20-minute sessions three times per week. Then you should slowly build up from there.
According to Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association, adults need 150 minutes of weekly moderate-intensity cardio at a minimum, spread through the week to retain their health. That means, if you’re at the gym five times a week, you should plan on working out on the stair stepper for 30 minutes every day with a reasonable speed and intensity. You can increase this amount over time up to an hour.
If you want to spend some time on a stair stepper every day but don’t have the time to go to the gym to use the equipment, you can use this mini stepper from Sunny Health & Fitness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are There Any Disadvantages to Climbing Stairs?
Stair Climbing might bring some disadvantages for those with bones or knee problems. Soft tissues on your knees might become worse by climbing stairs. Overweight people should also be careful with stair-stepping and intensify their workout gradually so they don’t cause injuries.
Is It Better to Climb Two Steps at a Time?
Climbing two steps at a time can be better for burning more calories per minute and toning your leg and buttocks muscles. However, you’ll need the proper balance and knee strength to get a better result without injuring yourself. If you have shorter legs, climbing two steps at a time won’t benefit you.
Is Stair Climbing A Cardio Exercise?
Yes, stair climbing counts as a cardiovascular exercise. Cardio exercises are those that can increase heart rate and respiration and use muscles rhythmically. So, stair-stepping is a cardio exercise that can help you develop strength and power.
As you can see, stair climbing comes with plenty of benefits and just a few downsides for those with certain health issues. It’s not a boring workout and you should give it a chance and mix up the possible exercises to gain the best results. You can do the stair stepper every day, but remember not to overdo it and tire yourself, and give your body a chance to get used to the new schedule.
Last update on 2023-11-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API