What Are the Benefits of Steppers?

Stair climbing or stepper machines mimic the action of climbing stairs, a highly physical activity that can benefit both your cardiovascular ability and your leg muscles. Steppers range in features from those that have upper-body handles to those that can increase resistance and incline. Regardless of the stepper model utilized, a variety of benefits are associated with using a stepper.

Increased Cardiovascular Capabilities

According to the “New York Times,” the action of climbing stairs is one of the best cardiovascular activities a person can perform. The publication cited a Canadian research study that compared climbing stairs, lifting weights and brisk walking and found that climbing stairs was 50 percent more difficult than the other two options.

A stepper allows you to set the pace you want. Because of their ease of use, steppers are ideal for those of all exercise levels, according to WeightLossforAll.com. This means a beginner can start with a slower pace, then work her way up to a more stringent pace.

Calorie Burning

Climbing stairs burns two to three times more calories than engaging in brisk walking, according to the “New York Times.” Because a person burns fewer calories when going down stairs, utilizing a stair stepper allows a person to maintain a higher level of exertion. According to “BusinessWeek,” climbing stairs for 30 minutes can burn 286 calories, which is the level of calories equivalent to jogging at a 12-minute-per-mile pace or cycling at a 12- to 14-mile-per-hour pace.

Muscle Building

Using a stepper allows the exerciser to build muscle, especially the quadriceps, while minimizing impact to his joints. When the foot is constantly striking the ground, which occurs during running, the shock moves up from the foot to the knee and beyond. Because a stepper does not require foot strikes, this minimizes joint impact while building muscle. Because most steppers feature adjustable resistance options, you can increase the force needed to climb the steps. This helps further emphasize the quadriceps, calves and buttocks muscles.

About this Author

Rachel Nelson is currently a managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. A writer for more than six years, she has written for the Associated Press and “Charleston,” “Chatter” and “Reach” magazines. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in public administration from the University of Tennessee.