Office workers who sit all day could benefit from using a ministepper at the desk.
Using a ministepper while sitting can be a convenient and effective way to add more movement to your life. Ministeppers are exercise machines comprising two foot pedals that simulate a stair-climbing motion when you push them alternately with your feet. Some models have adjustable resistance so you can intensify your workout and some have attached resistance bands to use for upper body work. The steppers are typically used from a standing position, but they can also be used while sitting. This makes them practical for use at the office or at home while watching TV.
The Problem with Sitting Still
Notice the stiff, sluggish way you feel after a day at the office. Weak muscles, stiff joints, poor posture, weight gain and fatigue are some of the problems associated with prolonged sitting. Because movement is needed to maintain healthy levels of fat and sugar in the blood, prolonged sitting can increase your susceptibility to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. According to an article by James A. Levine, MD, PhD on the website Neurosynthesis, one study from Australia found that adults who spent four hours a day watching TV were 80 percent more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those whose average TV watching was under two hours a day.
Using a Ministepper While Seated
The movement of your feet and lower legs on the ministepper creates a pumping action that enhances circulation and tones the muscles of your calves and feet. Developing the calf muscles can help burn more calories by increasing your body's resting metabolic rate. Pay attention to your posture in order to avoid straining your back or knees. Sit up straight and close to the edge of the seat, with the stepper positioned so that your shins are nearly vertical as they work the pedals. Aim for an hour of use each day. You may use the ministepper for shorter periods of time, but aim for 60 minutes total. Using the stepper in this manner could burn an additional 100 calories per day, according to a study that was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2007.
Adding Upper Body Exercises to the Ministepper Workout
Ministeppers by themselves don't work the upper body, because the action primarily involves the feet and legs. However, to engage the arms and shoulders, you can simultaneously do exercises with hand weights, for example, arm curls. Simply punching your arms back and forth without weights will add effort to your workout and therefore increase the number of calories burned. Be sure to stay in the proper upright posture when you do this from a sitting position, otherwise you may stress your back muscles. You may want to do the arm workout at home rather than at your workplace, unless you have a private office with a door that you can close.
Putting It All Together
The level of workout you get using a ministepper depends on how you use it. Just stepping while seated can help you overcome some of the problems associated with too much sitting. It can increase the circulation in your lower legs and tone the muscles of your calves and ankles. If you use the ministepper at a sufficient level of intensity for 60 minutes a day, it can help you burn calories and contribute to your cardiovascular health. If you add exercises to work your upper body, you've got a full-body workout you can do during your work day.