Posted by Matthew Pearson on 18th Nov 2017
You’ve probably seen people using them at the gym – walking up steps without going up! But you may have also noticed that some of the machines look like actual moving stairs and others have steps that go up and down. What’s the difference? Which is better?
It was the 1980s when Stair Master introduced its first machine. It was a brilliant idea for a machine to compete with the growing popularity of treadmills. Everyone knows that walking up stairs is a great cardio workout. But, instead of just finding a tall building and walking up and down its stairs, why not offer different speeds, resistance, and programs to be used in a comfortable setting at home or at the gym?
These first stair machines were little more than revolving steps with an on/off button. They were also very big, heavy, and expensive. Therefore, they were found almost exclusively in gyms. With time, the limitations of these machines were seen. To make a revolving staircase with the height and depth of real steps requires a huge machine. But, even if the steps were big enough, the user was limited to the choice of taking a small step at a time or two small steps at time.
The Step Machine, or Stepper, was introduced sometime in the late 1990s, but didn’t catch on until the 2000s. The Stepper allowed a much lighter and more affordable machine for the home. Perhaps more importantly, it allowed the user to choose the length of his stride to a nearly infinite degree. By simply moving his feet up and down, the motion of climbing stairs is almost perfectly mimicked. To complete this advantage, it offered the same sort of built-in programs and reading that became available on treadmills around that time.
Many new treadmills come with a tablet holder so that users can compute while they are working out. Some others come with these electronics built in, so that you don’t even need a separate tablet or phone. But what exactly are you supposed to do with these devices? Wouldn’t it be better to just concentrate on your workout? It seems [...]
Many exercisers of all types consider their music to be an important part of their ability to get the most from their workouts. But it’s not all in their heads. Certainly music can distract people from the boredom or pain of exercise, acting almost as a drug, or at least a metronome. Studies have shown that people exercise performance really [...]
At many gyms, televisions are mounted from the ceiling so that people using the treadmills look up at them. This contrasts with perhaps the more natural head position one might have while running outside. Researchers wondered what effect this different position might have on the bio-mechanics of running and conducted a study to find out. Researchers at Nottingham Trent University in England [...]
That’s right. White guys who exercise more than eight hours per week may be in trouble. At least until they die. This is according to a new study at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Kaiser Permanente and published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. White men who exercised more than eight hours per week were eighty-six per cent more likely to [...]
Anyone skeptical of the amount a difference a regular exercise routine can have on their long-term health is unlikely to be swayed by yet another study showing how good exercise is for us. But the rest of us, especially those who need some prodding to get moving, or just a reminder, should find a new study to be right [...]
Sales of treadmills and most other home exercise equipment pick up substantially in the Fall, increase dramatically in December and January, then drop way off in the Spring. The conventional explanation is that people tend to exercise outdoors in the warm weather, or at least go outside, and that the cold weather forces them inside. But is this really [...]
That sounds really bad, doesn’t it? Working hard, but getting nowhere. Futility! Frustration! But it is that really what using a treadmill is like? They say that life is a process, not a destination. Enjoy the journey and enjoy life. Blah, blah, blah. So what exactly are you trying to accomplish by using a treadmill? Are you trying to get [...]
Most workout routines are of indefinite duration. That is, your plans are to never stop. Such routines require focus, determination, and discipline. However, most trips are only a week or less in duration. Whether for business or pleasure, you are doing something different, for motivations different from your usual ones. In the case of vacations, you are intentionally changing your [...]
The cold weather is coming, but it can still be difficult to work out when it’s still so hot out. Something about the heat tends to drain a person’s strength, regardless of whether the air conditioning is on. Here are some tips to make it easier. If you have a good pool available, swimming is perhaps the most appealing hot [...]