Step aerobics is excellent for your health. It works on your core and leg muscles, increases your stamina and flexibility, and even improves your mood and mental health. You’ll see changes in your fitness reasonably quickly, just by making this small change to your lifestyle.
Some people choose to use actual steps to take part in aerobic exercises, which is great if you have a suitable place to do this. However, there are some downsides to using an actual step for your step aerobics.
If you live in a house with no stairs, it can be difficult to find a suitable step to work out on.
Outdoor steps are not always ideal due to weather conditions.
Steps that are made for other uses may be at inconvenient heights. The height of the step is essential for your leg workout and depends on your height. Aerobic steppers are adjustable depending on how tall you are.
They can be moved to help with motivation. Some people don’t enjoy exercise, which leads to them to neglect their fitness completely. However, an aerobic stepper can be moved so you can watch the TV or listen to the radio while you’re working out, which makes the task much more appealing.
The only problem with aerobic steppers is the cost. For something that is essentially a step with a rubber grip, you can end up paying over the odds, and if you’re on a budget, you won’t always feel that it’s a necessary piece of equipment.
However, getting rid of the idea altogether means that you’ll lose out on all that fantastic and straightforward exercise. The most sensible solution is to create your own version of an aerobic stepper to keep your fitness levels up on a budget.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT AEROBIC STEPPERS
Aerobic steppers are designed to exercise your leg muscles, core and to get your joints moving. Depending on your step rhythm, they can also be seen as a form of cardio and could be used as exercise aids for high-level push-ups or dips. They’re an excellent all-around exercise tool to have in any home gym.
The Health Benefits
Aerobic steppers are a versatile piece of equipment that has proven to improve a person’s overall health. Studies by Physical Therapy Health state that the regular use of steppers could help contribute to:
When we get tired, it’s normal for us to feel a little off-balance. We start to become clumsy through a lack of energy. The longer we build up our training sessions, the easier it is to maintain that balance for longer.
Joint and muscle pain
A contributing factor to joint and muscle pain is the lack of use. If people have problems that cause pain in their joints, the natural reaction is to stop using them as much. However, this actually makes the problem worse. You might gain weight, putting more strain on your muscles, and they’ll start to seize up through lack of use. Step aerobics allows you to keep using those joints for longer, even on low-intensity exercise.
Age-defying creams are all the rage as everyone fights to stay as young as possible. But 30 minutes of intense aerobic exercise per day can actually stimulate the amount of human growth hormone in your body. This hormone naturally decreases as you get older, and this is a contributing factor to the aging process. The more human growth hormone your body produces, the longer you’ll stay looking younger.
One hour of step aerobics per day can increase your cardiovascular health by as much as a 7-mile run – providing you’re stepping fast enough. Doing this daily will build your lung capacity and help unblock arteries, meaning your heart can function more effectively.
Exercise that involves increasing the heart rate releases endorphins in our body which make us feel good. Exercise changes the chemicals in our brain to make us feel happy, relaxed, and accomplished. Step aerobics is often something recommended by counselors as an aid for depression.
Fast metabolic rate
During intense exercise, your body creates proteins for use as energy, which breaks down the body’s fats. The more you exercise, the more proteins your body produces to use as energy. This means that you can eat more and still keep losing weight because your metabolism will start to remove the fat.
Weight loss, especially around the waistline
An hour of steady aerobic exercise can burn off up to 600 calories, depending on your speed. Because a lot of the emphasis is on your core, it’s great for weight loss around your waist and upper thighs.
Even bone health
The research shows that people who regularly use an aerobic stepper develop stronger bones in their legs and lower bodies, helping combat brittle bone illnesses. This is because the extra use stimulates cell growth, creating more bone cells and making the bones denser.
Aerobic steppers are also a great exercise recommended by hospitals for rehabilitation after injury due to their low intensity and gradual muscle buildup.
To get the most out of your step, you’ll need to set the height so that your knees don’t exceed the 90-degree point when you’re stepping up. Repeatedly pushing beyond this point could cause knee and thigh strain.
If you’re keen to make your own stepper to these specifications, you’ll need a few household tools to pull this together:
A measuring tape
A marker pen
A staple gun (equipped with staples)
A drill with a ¼ inch drill bit.
You’ll also need the raw materials:
Non-slip shelf liner (20 x 55 inches)
A wooden 2 x 4 (66 inches long)
A wooden 2 x 6 (36 inches long)
16 screws for outdoor use
Step 1: Sizing it Up
You’ll need to divide the 2 x 4-inch wood into 3 separate 22-inch-long sections. Use your measuring tape to ensure you get these exactly right. Use your marker pen to create divide lines. The 2 x 6-inch wood now needs to be broken into 4 equal sections of 9 inches long each. Again, mark with your pen.
Step 2: Creating the Pieces
Now you have all the lines drawn out to guide you; use your hand saw to cut apart the pieces. Make sure you saw against a solid surface, a specific workbench preferably, and keep your fingers well out of the way.
Step 3: Get Your Legs Together
The 4 pieces of wood from the 2 x 6-inch wood will make up the legs for your stepper. Stack 2 of the pieces, one on top of the other, and screw them together securely. You’ll need to use 2 screws to do this, one in each end. Try to avoid having the screws perfectly parallel to one another, as this could cause the wood to split later on because the wood grain will be pulled apart.
Do the same with the remaining leg pieces.
Step 4: Attach Your Legs
Add one of your 2 x 4-inch pieces to one end of your 2 x 6-inch pieces perpendicularly, so you end up with a T shape. Use another 2 screws – again, not parallel, to hold it in place. You’ll then need to do the same thing using the other leg to create a symmetrical shape. That’s your stepper skeleton complete.
Step 5: Cover Up
Next, you need to cover the whole of the step with the shelf liner. This is so you get a better grip when you’re stepping, plus it gets rid of the unsightly screws and makes your step look a little more professional.
Turn your step upside down, so the part that you’ll step on is on the bottom. Place it over your shelf liner and mark out the liner to the correct dimensions. Use scissors to cut away any excess, and then use the staple gun to staple the shelf liner down to the step.
Optional: You could place the shelf liner around the whole of the step, covering up the underside. This will improve the appearance and save you from cuts or scrapes if you ever miss the step during a workout.
If you’re looking for a short-term solution, you might even be able to create a makeshift stepper using old wooden boxes. Wine boxes are perfect. Make sure you consider the height of the boxes you choose. Remember, your knees should never come above the 90-degree angle.
You’ll also need to ensure your boxes are structurally sound. Duct tape is a great way to strengthen the boxes to ensure they can securely hold your weight. It would help if you always covered any boxes with shelf liner as before to give you enough grip, but you’re able to use strong glue to attach this, as adding other staples to a ready-made box may damage the box’s integrity.
Your health matters, but so does your budget. The aerobic stepper is one of the most common, homemade pieces of equipment as it’s easy to pull together, effective, and can be done on a tight budget.
However, there are a few other things that you could make at home to beef up your gym.
A medicine ball or water ball is a classic piece of gym equipment, but it can be expensive, just for the name. But you can make your own that’s just as effective.
Buying a standard ball and filling it with water will work just the same. You’ll need to leave a little bit of air at the top, so the water is free to slosh around inside.
The water ball acts as a weight, and the moving water gives you a chance to use all of your arm muscles. If you sit on the floor and pass the ball from one side of you to the other and place it on the floor again, this strengthens your arms and builds your core.
A set of dumbbells is the ideal accompaniment for your home gym if you’re trying to strengthen your muscles or build muscle mass. However, with each pound being worth up to $2, it can be incredibly costly once you get up to the heavier weights.
Some other options work just as well for a fraction of the cost. As long as you have a weighing scale to test the weights, you can use bottles of water to replicate the same effect. You can increase the level of water in the bottles as your strength grows.
Heavy books could have the same effect if you place them in bags too. You’ll just need to ensure that the books in each bag add up to the same weight if you’re using them simultaneously – otherwise, you’ll end up with one arm larger than the other.
Sandbags are a great way to work your whole upper body. You can toss them around or lift them, increasing your core strength and arm muscle tension.
Sure, you might not have professional sandbags at home. But you can make great alternatives using heavy-duty bags – perhaps the ones that can with soil or compost. You can fill them with sand or spare soil and tape them up with duct tape.
The great thing about a sandbag is that you can make one with the materials that you already have within your home, and you can repair them indefinitely.
It’s essential to keep your health on point, especially if you’re unable to get out of the house or have a busy schedule. Aerobic steppers are an excellent way for you to work out at home and are incredibly convenient to move around and fit in each day.
However, gym equipment can be expensive, and a gym membership can be even more so, so the best alternative is to make your own steppers. They’re cheaper and will work just as well. Just make sure you follow the steps, stay safe, and stay healthy.