Tips for Using a Mini Stepper

Mini steppers slide under your desk or bed for easy storage.
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If you think that sitting while working or watching TV is wasting valuable exercise time, mini steppers might be your answer. Mini steppers are small, portable versions of stair-stepping machines. They can easily fit under your desk or beside your couch, making it easy to get a workout in while watching your favorite sitcom. The mini stepper has a low profile and contains just the two pedals, without handles or other supports. Use it correctly to make the most of some quick workouts throughout the day.

Getting Started

    Your first step onto a mini stepper might seem awkward and unbalanced, but give yourself a chance to get used to the machine. Place it behind a sturdy chair or next to a wall so you can use your hands for balance at first. Keep it away from sharp objects, such as coffee tables, in case you lose your balance. Don't lean forward to try to keep your balance; hold your back upright and straight so your abdominal muscles can get a piece of the action as you exercise.

Stepping Down

    Mini stepper pedals are just a few inches off the floor, so it seems logical to push them as far down as possible. Pushing them all the way down can slow your stride and keep you from reaching your fat-burning potential. Instead, push your heel down so the pedal falls slightly more than halfway between the top of the pedal's incline and the floor. It takes a bit of practice, but soon you'll find your rhythm and the best depth for your desired exercise speed.

Seated or Standing

    While standing, keep your motions smooth and avoid excessive bouncing; this is supposed to be a low-impact exercise that doesn't overstress your joints. Keeping your heels firmly on the pedals can help reduce the urge to bounce to add power to your steps. However, you can get quite a workout while sitting down as well. Place the stepper under your desk or in front of your couch and work your legs while you are otherwise occupied. James A. Levine, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher at the Mayo Clinic, said in an article for that using a mini stepper while seated can burn as much as 100 calories per hour. Scoot your bum close to the edge of the seat and place the back of the stepper directly under your knees; place it so your shins are perpendicular to the floor, not slid under your chair or scooted out in front at an angle. Try interval training for max calorie burn, stepping as fast as you can for one minute, then alternating with a slow, moderate pace for three minutes.

Add Arms

    While seated, you can perform arm exercises such as biceps curls and overhead shoulder presses with dumbbells. For a standing workout, hold off on the dumbbells until you're comfortable with your balance on the stepper. Some steppers are designed to be used with resistance bands and include clips or rails for different types of bands.

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