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How Do I Choose the Best Aerobic Stepper?

By Bethany Keene
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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An aerobic stepper is a simple fitness tool that can be a great way to get in shape and burn fat through aerobic exercise. It is important to choose a good stepper to avoid slipping and falling, and to be sure it is effective for your exercise. These steppers may be ordered online or purchased in a sporting goods store; it may be a better idea to purchase one in a store in order to try it out first.

First, select an aerobic stepper that is weighted on the bottom, and wide enough to not tip over if you step on the side of it. That could easily lead to falls and injuries. The stepper should be heavy enough that it is stable while in use, but not so heavy that it is difficult to move around and put away for storage. Try stepping on and off the stepper a few times to see if it feels sturdy enough.

In addition, the top of the stepper should have a rubbery, non-slip surface. This is both to prevent injuries and to prevent the sneakers from sliding when it is in use. It is generally a good idea to wear sneakers when doing aerobics, to give the feet and legs more support, but some people choose to go barefoot. Avoid purchasing an aerobic stepper that has a smooth plastic surface, which can be very slippery and dangerous when working out, especially when barefoot.

Finally, a good aerobic stepper should be height adjustable. That way, you can start with the stepper at a lower height to make it easier, and gradually increase the height as you get in better shape to make the exercise more challenging. These are the most important considerations when purchasing a stepper; they come in many different colors as well, which is a matter of personal preference.

An aerobic stepper may be used in a simple routine of stepping on and off, or it may be used as part of a more complex aerobics routine with jumps and sidestepping. Some aerobics DVDs may even come with the equipment; if not, it is generally a good idea to purchase a stepper if you have purchased an aerobic DVD. If you are taking an aerobics class at a gym, it will generally not be necessary to bring your own stepper unless you prefer to; they are usually provided by the gym.

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Discussion Comments

By seag47 — On Feb 25, 2012

I have an exercise machine that has an aerobic stair stepper attached to the back of it. I can work my arms on the front of the machine and then head to the back to build my leg muscle tone.

The stepper has two steps, one for each foot. Both have slip-resistant rubber, and each has a variety of weight settings.

There are four holes through which a pin can be inserted and screwed tightly to adjust the level of resistance. One is the easiest, and four offers the most resistance.

This type of stepper is the best for working your legs and buttocks at the same time. I really built up muscle in that area, which had been rather flat before I started using the stepper.

By shell4life — On Feb 24, 2012

@StarJo – It's always good to gradually increase your level of challenge. I used to have my eye on an aerobic stepper that could be adjusted up to 12.5 inches tall, but I knew that I would have a long way to go to get to where my muscles could tolerate that height.

So, I started running the stairs at my apartment complex. I gradually worked up to running all five flights several times a day, and this became my usual workout.

Once I moved out, I felt I was ready for the tall aerobic stepper. I moved into a house without stairs, and I purchased the stepper. It was a little bit more challenging than the stairs, but I know that they had prepared me for it, and before long, I was using it like a pro.

By OeKc05 — On Feb 24, 2012

The worst type of shoes you could possibly wear while using an aerobic stepper is flip-flops. I made this mistake last summer while trying to keep cool, and my foot was very sore for days.

When you step up and down in flip-flops, the top of your foot strains to keep them in place. I didn't notice that I was giving my foot such a hard workout until about halfway through my routine, when I noticed the pain.

Since then, I have been wearing socks and sneakers every time I use the aerobic stepper, no matter how warm the weather is. I tell myself that I can shower immediately after the workout, so it doesn't matter how hot I get.

By StarJo — On Feb 23, 2012

Having colorful workout tools makes the process more fun for me. So, I got a turquoise and pink aerobic stepper. My husband has a black and gray one, but mine is uniquely me.

This stepper has blocks that can raise it up in two inch increments. Right now, I'm using the medium height, so I have two blocks underneath it.

I stayed on the lowest level for the first couple of months. I wanted my leg muscles to be very used to the exercise before I threw a new challenge their way. I hate being sore after a workout, so I wanted to gradually increase my strength.

By andee — On Feb 23, 2012

Has anyone tried an electronic aerobic twisting stepper? I don't like to spend the money on a gym membership because I am not very consistent with my exercise.

Most of my exercise is done at home, and I like to try out new things every now and then. I saw this twisting stepper where you put your feet on the steps, and your hands go in straps that are connected to the feet.

This way both your feet and arms get a good workout. I am not sure how the electronic part of it works other than it says it should not be used for more than 15 minutes at a time. It sounds like it has something to do with the resistance bands.

I am looking for something new and thought an aerobic stepper would be a good way to help me get back on track with my exercise.

By LisaLou — On Feb 22, 2012

@Mykol - I think what happened to you can happen easily if you have the wrong kind of stepper. Another thing I would also add is to make sure both the top and bottom are slip resistant.

It doesn't do much good for the bottom of your stepper to stay in place if your foot is going to slide once you put pressure on the top.

I always wear shoes when I exercise and have a hard time understanding those who can go through their routine barefoot. I know one lady who tries to exercise just with her socks on, and this could really be disastrous when using a stepper.

My aerobic side stepper is also adjustable so I can change the height on it. This is nice when you are first starting out, as you would want this as low as possible until you get the hang of it.

Some exercises call for a higher step and this really gives your legs and heart a good workout.

By Mykol — On Feb 21, 2012

If you are looking at purchasing an aerobic exercise stepper, I would recommend buying it locally so you can check it out first.

It is not hard to find aerobic steppers, and the first one I ordered was online. I didn't really know what to look for and ended up learning the hard way what you should look for in a stepper.

When I was using it, I stepped on the side and the stepper tipped over. I ended up falling off and twisting my ankle. This put me out of commission for awhile. Not only did my ankle hurt, but I could not exercise for awhile either.

There are a lot of benefits to using a stepper, but I would make sure and get one that is sturdy.

By dfoster85 — On Feb 21, 2012

@John57 - I find the same thing. I was really surprised by how much more challenging step aerobics were than my regular aerobics. It wasn't just because stepping on and off the step built more aerobic fitness, although I think it did - it was also that it wasn't what I was used to.

The class I took had some fairly difficult choreography. It seems like when you do the same exercise for a long time, your body kind of adapts to it. For me, adding in step aerobics really shook things up!

There is also a step routine on the Wii Fit using the balance board. The balance board is quite short and the step routine is very simple, but it might be a nice starting place for someone who had never tried step before.

By John57 — On Feb 21, 2012

I had been doing aerobic dance for quite awhile, and felt like I was getting a good workout. The first time I used an aerobic stepper, I was surprised at how much more of a workout I felt I got.

This helped get my heart rate up faster, and I think I also burned more calories. It also added some variety to my routine that I was needing.

I have found that if I mix things up, or add something new like a stepper, it keeps me interested and keeps my exercise routine from becoming too boring.

I am much more apt to stick with an exercise program if it is not the same thing over and over again. With a stepper, you can control how much harder you want your routine to be.

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