This may sound like either your ongoing battle with the bulge or perhaps a friend who is on heavy doses of Prozac.
But the never ending elevator ride known as the step machine can be a great tool for your fitness and weight loss endeavors. Step machines, otherwise known simply as "steppers", have become very popular devices in health clubs and gyms throughout the country. Why else are they so plentiful in the "cardio" corner of your gym?
However, like any other device, there are certainly pluses and minuses to working out on a step machine. Yet, one thing is undeniable. Step machines could just as well be called "sweat machines." A half-hour on the stepper can have you sweating by the bucket.
The best way to burn the fat tissue through exercise on a stepper is to begin your session on a lower, more moderate level, before gradually working up to a faster, more rigorous pace. It is wise to exercise at a longer, more tolerable pace in order to burn off the fat. Otherwise, the gung-ho, sprint-like approach will tap more into your muscle cells.
One downfall to the step machine as that it is limited in what it can do for you. In other words, since your upper torso is generally stationary throughout the exercise, it is not a rigorous full body exercise that is going to whip you into tip-top condition. Basically, all that is moving here is your legs.
While the handlebars are there so you can maintain proper balance on the machine, make sure that you are not placing too much body weight onto your arms as they clasp the sides. This will take the work out of your legs; hence, you will be cheating considerably.
Also, stand erect while you are on the step machine and not slouched over the panel display. Not only is slouching a way to cheat, but it is also a great way to injury your back.
Be sure to stretch out considerably before taking on a session on the step machine. Without the proper stretch throughout your legs and calves, you can be putting your Achilles tendon at risk, an injury that could hamper your fitness goals for months and months. Also, without a proper stretch, you feet can become susceptible to severe numbing while on the machine.
Although the step machine is certainly an excellent tool for your cardiovascular endeavors, do not become too dependent on this one machine. Make sure you spruce up your cardio with other machines like the Stairmaster, the stationary bicycles, and the treadmills.
And aside from burning off some unwanted fat cells, the stepper is an excellent machine for building and toning the calf muscles, the glutes, and the quadraceps.