How does the treadmill vs stepper stack up for losing weight? Most people buy exercise machines to lose weight. At least, that is the initial reason. According to a treadmill vs stepper study done at the Medical College of Wisconsin a private academic institution in Milwaukee, the treadmill stacks up very well versus the stepper. This study was reported in the Journal of the American Medical Society in 1996. This treadmill/stepper study compared treadmills, stair steppers, rowing machines and stationary bicycles. Treadmill workouts were the most effective in losing weight.
Stair Steppers Build Muscle Mass
The stair stepper is an effective weight loss machine, but in a treadmill/stepper comparison it comes in second best. In this particular study, which included 13 healthy young adults, the stair stepper burned about 700 calories per hour during an intense workout. This was about the same amount of exercise this test group burned by using rowing machines and more than the cross-country ski machine or stationary bike. In other treadmill/stepper comparison reports, people who used stair steppers for weight loss did experience good calorie consumption, but also experienced muscle mass build up in their legs and thighs. This increase in muscle development diminished the value of the stair stepper as a weight loss machine.
The stair stepper is a weight bearing, low impact exercise machine designed for cardiovascular fitness. This machine primarily works the quadriceps muscles.
Treadmills Develop Endurance, Tone Muscles
In this same study, the treadmill burned about 850 calories per hour during intense workout sessions. The treadmill burns calories, gives great cardio exercise and builds endurance. Reports from other users maintain that while they have been able to lose weight faster with a treadmill than other exercise machines, they did not experience significant increases in muscle mass. It appears that treadmill home exercise is good for developing endurance and will tone muscles, but is not a tool for extensive muscle building.
The treadmill is designed for cardiovascular fitness and simulates running by allowing the user to run on a motor driven belt. It works the lower body, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.
Both Machines Provide Great Cardiovascular Workouts
Both the treadmill and the stair stepper are great machines designed for a similar purpose. Both are very effective for weight loss and building cardiovascular health. In comparisons of the treadmill and the stepper, the treadmill is somewhat more effective in burning calories. Most people also seem to be more comfortable using the treadmill. This may be because people are more accustomed to walking or running than they are to climbing stairs.