If you’re looking for a cost-effective alternative to cardio machines that doesn't take up much space, a mini stepper or mini cycle may be an option. While you won’t work up quite the same sweat as you would on a regular bicycle or stair climber machine, you can still get an aerobic workout with the mini versions. Both machines offer conveniences that you simply can’t get with a larger cardio machine. For those who sit at a desk all day, having a mini cycle or a mini stepper in your office can mean the difference between some exercise versus no exercise.
Characteristics of Mini Steppers
Mini steppers are on-the-floor machines that offer two pedals for your feet. There are two variations in mini steppers. Some offer an up and down motion when stepping and others offer pedals that slide from side to side. As you apply pressure the hydraulic system of the stepper creates a resistance that builds leg muscle strength, according to HealthFitnessExperts.com. You can also find mini steppers that have resistance chords to work your upper body while stepping. Other models may include handle bars to help with balance.
Characteristics of Mini Cycles
Mini cycles are also known as mini exercise bikes. You’ll find several different styles in mini cycles. There are two common types: tube-framed mini cycles and cased body mini cycles. The tube-framed cycles are basically metal tubing for the body with attached pedals. These offer light resistance. The cased cycles have a frame surrounded by either metal or plastic, with attached pedals and a built-in display that shows calories burned, distance and time. These cycles usually offer a higher resistance than the tube-framed cycles.
Similarities Between Machines
Mini steppers and mini cycles are reduced versions of two popular cardio machines. For those who don’t have room for the larger versions, mini steppers and mini cycles can offer you a cardio workout even in tight quarters. Both offer you a low-impact workout, which is ideal for those with lower back or joint issues. You’ll raise your heart rate, burn calories and tone your muscles with both machines. Both are light, easy to travel with and cheap compared to a gym membership or a full-size version.
With the mini stepper you’ll be standing upright on the machine while you workout. Mini cycles require you to be in a seated position during the workout. Because you’re seated, mini cycles tend to be lower impact compared to mini steppers. The major muscles you engage with the mini cycle are the glutes, quads and hamstrings. You’ll also engage the calves, but to a limited degree. With the mini stepper machine you’ll also work the glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves. Many mini steppers have resistance cord attachments, which allow users to engage the upper body as well.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.