When it comes to getting in shape, there are a lot of different pieces of equipment that you can use. If you’re looking for a piece of equipment that is going to give you a total body workout which has a low impact on the joints, then you should consider using a StairMaster (or any brand of stair stepper). This is a great exercise for your cardiovascular system and your muscles. In this article, we will discuss 7 different StairMaster benefits and reasons why you should start using a StairMaster!
What is a StairMaster?
A StairMaster is a brand of stair stepper (or stair climber) machine. It is a piece of fitness equipment that simulates the act of stair climbing. This is a great exercise for your cardiovascular system and your muscles.
There are a lot of different types of stair steppers on the market, but they all have the same basic function: you stand on the platform, grip the handrails, and start stepping. As you step, the steps move down. One way to think of it is it’s essentially a stair treadmill, or an escalator moving against you.
1. StairMaster for Weight Loss
One of the big benefits of using a stair stepper is weight loss. This is because stair-stepping is a great way to burn calories. Climbing stairs is a full-body compound movement which involves lots of muscles working together in order to lift your full body weight repeatedly. This means that stair-stepping is a very effective, beginner-friendly way of burning fat!
How many calories you burn with a stair stepper in a session will depend on a few factors such as your body weight, the workout duration, and the workout intensity. Stair steppers can be configured to rotate at different speeds for different lengths of time and they can track your estimated calories burned in that particular workout, similar to a treadmill.
How Does a Stair Stepper Machine Compare Against Other Forms of Cardio?
The University of Rochester provides an online tool to estimate the number of calories various exercises will burn in 30 minutes depending on your body weight. Below we will compare a few different common cardio exercises to see how a stair stepper stacks up!
|Cardio Activity||125lb person||150lb person||175lb person||200lb person
|Walk: 15 min/mile||270||324||378||432
|Hiking: cross country||360||432||504||576
|Rowing: moderate intensity||420||504||588||672
|Running: 12 min/mile||480||576||672||768
|Cycling: 14-16 mph||600||720||840||960
Data source: University of Rochester calorie burn rate calculator.
As you can see, stair climbing remains very competitive in terms of calorie burning when compared to other cardio exercises. While it won’t burn as many as a more intensive exercise such as cycling or running, considering the remaining benefits of a StairMaster detailed below, stair-stepping remains a fantastic LISS workout.
2. Low Impact On the Joints
Another great benefit of stair-stepping is that it is a low impact exercise. What this means is that there is less stress placed on the joints than with other exercises such as running. When running, your body weight causes your feet, and by extension your knees, to undergo sustained stress which is what can cause joint damage in the knee over long periods of time.
This makes stair-stepping a great option for people who are looking for a cardio workout but are concerned about the impact on their joints or who have already accrued knee injuries in the past and can no longer do more rigorous cardio like running.
3. It’s a Great Cardio Exercise for Beginners
Getting into exercise and fitness can be daunting for a lot of people. There are so many different options and pieces of equipment available that it can be hard to know where to start. If you’re starting from zero or have been inactive for a while, the stair stepper is a great place to begin your cardio journey!
The stair stepper is a beginner-friendly piece of equipment because it has a low impact on the joints as discussed and potentially relatively low intensity (depending on the speed setting of course!). This means that it is a great starting point for people who are looking to begin their fitness journey but are worried about joint impact or don’t feel ready for more intense cardio yet.
Stair climbers also have handrails which you can use to stabilise yourself as you get used to the movement. This can help to increase your confidence as you become more comfortable with the exercise and make it far less likely that you will fall or injure yourself.
4. Aerobic Conditioning
One of the main benefits of stair-stepping is that it can help to improve your aerobic conditioning. Aerobic conditioning is important for many reasons but one of the most important is that it can help to improve your cardiovascular health.
Aerobic conditioning essentially means improving the efficiency with which your heart and lungs work together to supply oxygen to your muscles. This is important because it can help to reduce your resting heart rate and blood pressure as well as improve your overall cardiovascular health.
There are many different ways to improve your aerobic conditioning but stair-stepping is a great option because it is a relatively low-intensity exercise which means it is less likely to cause injury than more intense options like running.
5. Core Muscle Strength
While stair-stepping might not be the first exercise that comes to mind when you think of muscle building, it is actually a very effective way to improve the strength of your core muscles.
Your core muscles are the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, and abdomen. These muscles work together to stabilise your spine and pelvis as well as generate the power for many movements such as walking, running, and jumping.
A strong core is important for many reasons but one of the most important is preventing lower back pain. This is because a strong core can help to stabilise your spine and take the pressure off of your lower back muscles.
6. Strengthens the Bones
Another great benefit of stair-stepping is that it can help to strengthen your bones. This is because stair-stepping is a weight-bearing exercise which means that it puts a force on your bones as you move.
This force helps to stimulate the cells in your bones which then lay down more bone tissue. This process helps to make your bones stronger and less likely to break in the future.
Weight-bearing exercises are especially important for people who are at risk of osteoporosis (a condition where the bones become weak and fragile) such as post-menopausal women due to estrogen deficiency.
7. Lower Body Strength
In addition to strengthening your core muscles, stair-stepping is also a great way to improve the strength of your lower body muscles.
Your lower body includes your hips, thighs, and legs. These muscles are some of the largest and strongest in your body and are responsible for generating the power for many movements such as walking, running, and jumping.
Improving the strength of your lower body muscles can help to improve your overall mobility and make it easier to perform everyday activities such as carrying groceries or climbing stairs.
Stair-stepping (or a StairMaster specifically) is a great way to improve your overall fitness and there are many different benefits that come with it. Whether you are looking to improve your aerobic conditioning, build muscle, or strengthen your bones, stair-stepping is a great option for you. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!