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A mini-stepper is a small exercise machine that allows you to simulate the motions of climbing stairs, walking up hills and similar forms of cardiovascular exercise. These small machines offer most of the same benefits as a gym stepper, but frequently have fewer settings and some do not have handles. You can gain several important health and fitness benefits with a mini-stepper.
Workout Alternatives and Versatility
A mini-stepper is highly customizable and is much lighter than traditional exercise machines, so you can take it almost anywhere. Beginners can step at a slow, low-resistance pace, while fitness buffs can set their steppers to mimic the challenges of running stairs and hills. You can also incorporate pieces of aerobic routines -- such as lifting weights or swinging your arms -- into your stair-stepping workout. You can also do interval training for your routine, by alternating between high and low-intensity intervals.
A mini-stepper offers cardiovascular exercise, which has myriad health benefits. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, regular cardio can improve cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure. It can also improve emotional health and sleep quality and can reduce your risk of diseases, such as cancer and diabetes. Cardiovascular exercise burns more calories than weight-training, which means you can lose weight more easily when combined with the right diet.
Toning the Legs
A mini-stepper won't offer much of an upper-body workout unless you lift weights while you step. It will, however, target your hamstrings, glutes and calves, helping you build strength and endurance in these areas. Strengthening your muscles can reduce the tension that comes with a sedentary lifestyle, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that regular strength training can reduce the risk of diseases such as osteoporosis and reduce symptoms of arthritis.
Group and Individual Options
If you hate the idea of going to the gym and don't want to run around the block with your neighbors watching, you can work out on a mini-stepper in the privacy of your own home. Mini-steppers aren't just for the shy and private, though. You can also take a group step class with an aerobic instructor. This offers opportunities to get professional instruction and work out in a supportive, friendly environment.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.