When you think of cardio usually it’s more of a daunting task than something that you look forward to. Some people prefer the StairMaster and some people prefer the Treadmill, but ultimately it comes down to what’s getting you the best results for the time that you put in. What muscles are you trying to target? Are you just trying to decrease body fat and stay lean? There are some key factors to take into consideration when you are stepping on either of these machines. Choosing the machine that you know, will get you to your goal quicker and make you feel more satisfied when you are done with that twenty or thirty minute heart rate boost.
Ultimately you feel like the StairMaster is a scary machine. There is no way you are going to try stepping up that thing. It looks like it’s too intense. You’re probably thinking you’ll trip and fall off. This won’t be an issue unless you know you will get vertigo or have balance issues, than it would be a good idea to stray away and just stick with what you’re already comfortable with. Stair stepper machines are an extreme workout but anyone can give it a shot. Every stair stepper will have different settings to calibrate how many steps per minute you do. The standard StairMaster can help you burn up to 330-380 calories, depending upon the speed and intensity you workout at, for just one half hour. That sounds pretty good right? It’s a hard machine to do regardless of how long or how many steps per minute you take, but it’s definitely a worthy machine to keep in mind. The StairMaster definitely makes you sweat, so be prepared to have a hand towel ready.
When it comes to defining muscles, while getting your cardiovascular workout done, this machine is a definite first choice. Blast away any fat on your glutes; define quadriceps and hamstrings and tone your gastrocnemeus and soleus in your calves with every step you take.
The movement of stepping on a stair stepper creates less impact on your joints than a treadmill. Endurance can easily be built up using this machine because of the constant stepping motion. Just make sure to never let your muscles adapt to a ‘same routine’ pace and keep your heart rate up to burn optimum amounts of fat.
*Tip* Avoid using the hand rails and hunching over to get the best workout.
Pros and Cons of the Treadmill:
Right off the bat people’s main cardiovascular machine that they go to, is the treadmill. The treadmill is immediately associated with running and walking but that means it is also associated with the most joint discomfort. The treadmill may cause shin splints and leg muscle soreness so be aware of this before you begin on this machine. Depending upon what speed and how long you are on the treadmill, will determine the amount of calories you burn. The treadmill is great for burning calories if you keep your heart rate up. The treadmill gradually burns calories and tones hamstrings, quadriceps, shins, calves and, to a lesser extent, your gluteus medius and gluteus maximus. Running adds more intensity to burning fat in the glutes. Walking at an incline of 9 degrees can intensify your workout and tone your leg muscles even further. Running in itself, is better for your endurance but also adds strain to all of your joints and more impact on your entire body.
There are multiple factors when using a treadmill that can change the amount of calories you burn and the rate at which you lose weight.
*Tip* Always wear proper footwear to cushion the impact on your joints and avoid shin splints.
Believe it or not, the best way to go is to use both machines and switch it up so you don’t reach an ‘exercise plateau’. Meaning, you don’t want to reach a point of your body adapting to every workout you do because it’s too routine. Using both machines and switching up the speed intervals and intensity, doesn’t allow you to hit that plateau there fore increasing your chances of weight loss and endurance.
If you are new to both machines and have never been on one before, it is recommended to have a personal trainer or friend guide you on how to use it properly, reducing your risk of injury.
Good luck on your health and fitness goals!