We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Stairmaster intervals provide possibly the most efficient and intense cardio exercise. Your heart rate jumps up to max immediately.
You can do 30 seconds of high-speed anaerobic intervals then slow down for 60 seconds, and repeat at the speeds that work for you. If you can do two steps at a time on the higher speeds, so much the better. Another approach which I am using now is to do 3-minute stairs at the highest speed I can handle for that long, then get off and do a one-minute plank and another minute to breathe, then back on. Thus a 20-min cardio work-out which also beats the hell out of your quads.
What is it good for? It's for intense cardio training, lower body endurance, core stress. It doesn't build strength per se the way squats and deadlifts do, but it does work for lower body "toning" at the least.
Because it is very low-impact, about the same as walking, it is also a cardio recommendation for people with bad knees, hips, and lower back.
(Readers know that we believe that two 20-30 minute cardio stress sessions weekly is enough cardio, if combined with the other weight and calisthenics routines.)
Five hours or less per week of weights, calis, and cardio is all it takes for general Fitness for Life. Then throw in some sports or hiking or yoga or golf or swims or whatever for fun, plus some Cokes or beers as rewards, and you've been a darn good steward of your body, which is your most important real estate. Anybody can find time for that. Just avoid any distance running or you will regret it.
Spend less than you earn. Save 10% (or more) of what you earn. Start early. Use the IRA especially the Roth IRA and if possible max out your contribution. If your work has a 401k/403b max it out as well (especially if they match part or all of your contribution). Avoid the expensive bad habits; smoking, drinking, drugs and gambling. Pay off your credit card bills monthly. Create and follow a budget, that is know what you are spending and on what and make those decisions consciously and stick to your goals.
So, BD and crew - Although a Stairmaster is low impact, an elliptical is even lower (to no) impact, and would seem to require the same levels of exertion while also giving your arms something to do. Your thoughts?
Sitting on your ass is even lower impact, but it's not very effective if your goal is being able to climb stairs when your in your 80s.
Keeping in mind that there's a specificity principle in exercise, i.e. long distance swimming doesn't improve your ability to run long distances - in other words, "cross training" is a hoax - do you thing climbing stairs is more applicable to some real world activity than whatever the fake movement pattern is that one does on an elliptical machine?
Tells you exactly how hard you're pulling, uses your whole body.
William O. B'Livion
I have to agree. I have tried every cardio machine available to me. I prefer the rowing machine for a full body workout a couple of times a week. It's pretty strenous, but I have never tried the torture that Bird Dog posted to start this thread.