Hectic schedules and daily obligations may push cardio workouts to the bottom of your daily "to-do" list. When its tough to get to the gym, or you find yourself pressed for time, using a mini stair stepper can be a great way to do your exercise without your exercise making your schedule even more harried. These compact units are small enough to carry with you while you travel and are relatively lightweight. Because they don't have handles, they naturally force your muscles to work harder to stabilize your body during movement. By being unable to use handrails for support, you automatically burn more calories.
Read the manufacturer's information included with your mini stair stepper. Familiarize yourself with product-specific tips involving maintenance and safety. If your mini stair stepper is equipped with a digital monitor and tension dial, remember to adjust them before you begin your workout. You may find it helpful to exercise in front of a mirror if you are accustomed to step machines with armrests. Gazing at your reflection while you work out provides a visual/psychological "anchor" and makes maintaining your balance easier.
Use correct exercise form to get the best workout from your mini stair stepper. Stand up straight, bend your arms slightly and place your feet squarely on the pedals while looking straight ahead. Step rhythmically at a moderate pace, accelerating gradually to maintain balance. Breathe deeply and naturally. Use quick, short steps. Avoid allowing the pedals to reach their lowest position as you step. This only forces your pelvis to sway sharply, strains your knees and thus encourages injury. Engaging your abdominal muscles will help stabilize your spine. For the best cardio benefit, work out on the mini stair stepper for 20 minutes, three to five times a week.
Cool down at the end of your workout by gradually slowing your pace for five minutes before stopping. Follow your cool down with stretching exercises. Stretching after your workout eases soreness and promotes muscle recovery. Perform gentle stretches, paying particular attention to the lower body. It is important not to rush, strain or bounce while stretching.
Eat a well-balanced diet that includes foods from each of the main food groups. Proper nutrition provides you with energy to fuel your mini stepper workouts and helps you attain, or maintain, your ideal body weight. Select a variety of high nutrient, antioxidant-rich, high-fiber whole foods that are satisfying and appealing to you. Lean proteins, whole grain complex carbohydrates and fresh produce should figure prominently in your meals. Allow yourself the occasional treat. This will prevent you from becoming obsessive about "forbidden" foods. Remember to keep your total daily calories in check to curb binges. Excessive overindulging promotes weight gain.
- If minor assembly is required, follow the instructions and diagrams closely and avoid skipping steps or components.
- Before each use, check to ensure that the unit's surface is clean and dry.
- Warm up with three to five minutes of light jogging or marching in place.
- Always wear proper exercise footwear during workouts.
- If you have a lot of weight to lose and weigh more than the maximum recommended weight limit, you'll be safer and get better results using a standard stepper, an elliptical or a treadmill.
Genae Valecia Hinesman, former banking executive, entrepreneur and fashion model, began writing professionally in 2002. She is a Cum Laude graduate of the University of Southern California where she studied business, finance and exercise physiology. Her articles featured in Living Healthy: 360, Life 123, the American Chronicle and Yahoo Voices.