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The benefits advertised by this Stair Master ad, with one exception, are mostly benefits that can be acquired from any form of cardiovascular exercise: lose weight and keep it off, reduce your risk of heart disease, lower your cholesterol level, and improve your immune system. Today, just about anyone who wants to improve these conditions knows that they need to exercise.
There is research that provides evidence of the benefits of exercise. Exercise is being prescribed for diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, and osteoporosis. If effect, exercise is the medicine (Elrick, 1996), not the equipment. In some cases, exercise is believed to be better than any medication. Therefore, the health benefits made by the Stair Master ad, which are cited above, are supported by research. However, one can reap these benefits from any form of cardiovascular exercise (walking, running, cycling, or swimming) that is less expensive and readily available (Elrick, 1996). The Stair Master is not exclusive for preventing these diseases. The Stair Master ad states that using this equipment will also reduce stress and help you sleep better. Again, the Stair Master is not exclusive. It is aerobic exercise, not the equipment, that is responsible for burning stress chemicals, that weaken the immune system, out of our system, and relieves stress by releasing endorphines (Rosenhan & Seligman, 1995). The evidence on exercise improving sleep is less consistent.
It is normally assumed that because exercise will fatigue the body, it will enhance sleep. However, factors influencing sleep are more than the exercise itself. It is recommended that exercise be performed in bright outdoor light, different times of the day work for different individuals, and that exercise should last for at least one hour (Youngstedt, 1997). Therefore, this benefit would not be achieved with the 20 minutes recommended on the Stair Master ad.
The biggest misleading claim made on this Stair Master ad, is that it helps reduce lower back pain. There are two issues I wish to address here.
First of all, the research for this benefit is inconsistent. Some studies contend that inactivity will increase dysfunction, and therefore, an active low-back pain treatment focusing on improving aerobic fitness, increasing strength and flexibility, and stabilizing the lumbar musculature, will increase recovery speed (Shiple & DiNuble, 1997). This sounds like sensible information, and would therefore support the Stair Master ad.

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"Advertising." 19 Mar 2018
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However, other studies indicate that there is more to consider.
Some concerns reflected in research indicate that exercise performed during the acute phase will slow down recovery and that the appropriate exercise is not clearly identified. Furthermore, it has been found that the nature of the back pain should also be evaluated. For example, exercise will benefit back pain resulting from mechanical origin, such as disk disease, myofascial injury, and lumbar strain or sprain. But pain resulting from more serious problems such as tumors, infections, fractures, inflammation, or neurologic syndromes may not (Shiple & DiNuble, 1997). This information can be very crucial for someone who is considering purchasing a Stair Master to relieve back pain. The ad should at least advise consumers to have their back pain evaluated by a medical doctor.
Secondly, I called the 800 number listed on this Stair Master ad. When I asked them how this equipment reduces lower back pain. They responded by noting the erect position of the handles. Because the typical user will slouch over the handles of stair climbers, this Stair Master is designed to allow the user to lean on the handles for support while maintaining an erect posture, and therefore, preventing lower back pain. This information seemed to contradict the ad. However, the qualifications and knowledge of the representative I spoke with is unknown.
I would not completely disqualify the claim that the Stair Master will relieve lower back pain, because in fact, walking is one of the recommended exercises for treating lower back pain (Shiple & DiNuble, 1997), and walking can be simulated on the Stair Master. However, the user would have be educated on how to use it effectively. For example, would taking too wide of steps and shifting hips side to side too much be counterproductive?
Overall, there is a lack of research that identifies any direct advantages or disadvantages in using stair climbers. But one disadvantage that has been noted, is that climbing stairs increases the body weight to the patellar surface six times, and this could aggravate the knees causing chondromalacia. However, individuals who do have chondromalacia are not discouraged from using stair climbers. But it is recommended that they strengthen their thigh muscles (DeBenedette, 1990). The Stair Master advertisement appears conservative in color and design, displaying only a female on the equipment. The attention grabber is printed in big capital letters: "THE BEST WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT AND STAY IN SHAPE!" However, this review has concluded that the same benefits can be achieved with any form of exercise, the Stair Master is not exclusive.
Also, this ad states the very minimum required for health benefits: "20 minutes a day, three times per week." This makes it seem more attractive for those individuals who are only willing to do the minimum. Advertising 20-30 minutes a day, 3-4 times a week, at 60% to 85% of maximum heart rate may be discouraging for some. Although this may be a sneaky tactic to sell their equipment, it is also a good one to encourage inactive individuals to exercise.
This advertisement may be very appealing to all individuals who want to achieve the benefits listed in this ad. There is evidence that the stair climber exercises large muscle groups (back, buttocks, and lower legs), and therefore, it produces a high-intensity workout quicker that can be maintained for a longer period of time. If the frequency, intensity, and duration is matched to any other activity, the same results can be achieved (DeBenedette, 1990). Therefore, it can be very attractive to individuals who cannot perform high impact activities due to previous injuries, and to females with big breasts who would like to avoid the bounce involved in running.
However, while the Stair Master can be beneficial and attractive, and the claims made in this ad seem clear and straight forward, they are vague and misleading. Many facts are omitted and only the positive aspects are advertised. This ad was designed very carefully to avoid any obvious misleading information. It would appear sensible and truthful to the average consumer.

DeBenedette, V. (1990). Stair machines: The truth about this fitness fad. The Physician and Sportsmedicne, 18(6), 131-134.
Elrick, H. (1996). Commentary: Exercise is medicine. The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 24(2), 1-7.
Rosenhan, D. L. & Seligman, M. E. P. (1995). Abnormal Psychology (3rd ed.). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Shiple, B. J. (Ed.), & DiNuble, N. A. (1997). Treating low-back pain. The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 25(8), 1-7.
Youngstedt, S. D. (1997). Does exercise truly enhance sleep? The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 25(10), 72-82.

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