Despite the fact the gym is literally 30 seconds from my house, since the weather has been getting cooler (to put it mildly), I’m finding it hard to motivate myself to leave the house on days when I’m nicely snuggled in my comfy sweats and uggs. It’s just too hard. Especially for someone as lazy as me who needs absolutely everything aligned before I will even consider going to the gym – and that’s on a good day.
I decided, to make sure I’m at least getting the minimum recommended daily step count of 10, 000 steps on those days (as yeah, some days it is that bad), I would invest in a mini stepper (I actually wanted a mini desk elliptical, but it appears they’re only available in the states, goddammit!)! After reading up on it, whilst it in no way compares to an actual full workout at the gym, it’s better than nothing and the convenience of having something that you can tuck under your bed/desk, etc., amounts to a lot when it comes to use.
The stepper I decided on was the Ultrasport Up-Down Stepper – which is exclusive to Amazon. I had done my research and read all the reviews and it seemed the best device on the market. What appealed to me about it was that whilst it didn’t come with a resistance/tension control, you could control tension by how steep each step you took was, allowing you some workout variation. Many other steppers didn’t offer this function.
How is it to use?
It’s no way as easy as I thought – going for an actual walk is much more enjoyable! A stepper simulates climbing stairs as opposed to walking, so just imagine doing that for 20 minutes or however long you intend to use it and that should give an idea of ease/fun factor.
However it does work, and as mentioned before, it’s super handy having something right beside you that you can hop on and do a few times a day inbetween things, instead of allocating specific times in your schedule for use. Having said that, I personally like to use mine whilst catching up on my TV shows (currently watching Mad Men from scratch as it keeps getting recommended to me – seven seasons to get through!), and this seems to be working really well for me.
Interestingly, after testing with my heart rate monitor, I burn about the same amount of calories hula hooping for half an hour as I do ‘stepping’ (around 300 calories), which even more interestingly is about the same amount I burn in that time at the gym! So this leads me to believe most forms of exercise that raises your heart rate considerably are perhaps equal in terms of calorific burn. It’s all about the effort you put in.
Naturally, I prefer hooping as it’s way more fun but I need space to hoop whereas I don’t need any with the stepper. Also, I think it’s good to vary your workout, which is why if you can the gym is still the best option, as there’s the most workout variety there, but for at-home half an hour of hooping and half an hour stepping makes a nice combo as opposed to one solidly for an hour.
Overall, I’m pretty pleased with my stepper purchase. I don’t use it everyday, and I can actually imagine it hurting your joints a bit if you did excessively (never ‘step’ barefoot or in socks – always wear trainers!), however for what I bought it for it suits the purpose perfectly.
This whole venture in desk/mini equipment has got me wondering what other tiny pieces of equipment can I now invest in – maybe a little stationary exercise bike next? There are ones you actually sit down on a normal chair and use. I’m tempted (plus I’m too short for normal exercise bikes). But for now, I’m gonna see how I get on with the stepping!
Have you ever used a stepper before?