As a fitness professional, I have been asked many times by clients if a particular food is healthy or if a specific exercise is safe. Instead of providing a yes or no answer, I always try to give context and educate inquiring minds.
However, for those who want a yes or no answer - yes, mini steppers are good and safe for knees when performed correctly. As always, please consult a physician before starting any exercise program. However, I will break down and explain clearly why mini steppers are good for the knees.
What Causes Bad Knee Pain & Injury
Living in the Information/Internet Age, we have access to an infinite amount of information. Sifting through this endless amount of information is challenging to find good, reliable learning.
The fitness and health sector is an especially intricate space because it revolves around the human body and everyone's body is inherently unique.
Knee pain usually is caused by weakness or instability in the muscles and joints above or below the knee (low back, hips, ankle). Weakness and instability are usually caused by a lack of movement and a sedentary lifestyle.
When looking to start an exercise program, choosing a workout that is too progressed and inappropriate for your current ability could lead to injury. I find that injury occurs the most with clients who start to do too much, too fast.
Perform Appropriate & Good Knees Workouts
Performing a workout that is inappropriate for you is similar to walking into the wrong classroom in school. What is different, though, is your body's ability to recognize that gap in knowledge, experience, and practice.
For example, say you enrolled in Intro to German, but you walked into an Advanced German language course. Of course, as soon as you do not understand the words being spoken, you would probably get up and realize you are in the wrong class.
In the case of exercise, though, our ego frequently gets in the way, and we push through to try and make it work. It is imperative always to adapt an exercise to fit the individual's needs, never the other way around.
Every form of exercise resides on a spectrum or a line. For example, image drawing an x-axis and moving your pen stroke to the right, the exercises along the axis become more challenging. Starting at the middle of this line and moving left is regressing the movement to a less demanding and challenging version.
Your Knee Movement & Exercise Equipment
Likewise, moving to the right is progressing the movement to a more advanced version. When looking to purchase exercise equipment, it is essential to keep this spectrum in mind to find the best exercise for you.
Let's look at a Treadmill, for example.
Here is a basic progression of the locomotive pattern with the legs you can perform on a treadmill. As you increase the speed at which you move, the exercise becomes more progressed and demanding on your body.
For example, walking is a regressed version of jogging, and running is a progressed version of jogging. Choosing the appropriate form of exercise on a treadmill is the difference between an exercise that is good or bad for you.
Let's look at the mini stepper in terms of similar cardio workouts that have a similar motion.
Each type of these workouts/motions is a bit more progressed than the previous. But, I want to stress; this list is not in the order of effectiveness or what is best. The best and most effective workout is the one you enjoy and works best for you.
How Mini Steppers Work Out Your Knees
The stepping motion primarily utilizes muscles in the core, glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and feet. In the list above, each workout becomes more demanding on these muscles.
For example, a stair climber is much more demanding on the muscles than a flat treadmill walk. If you've ever been on a stair climber, you know what I mean! As you can see, the mini stepper is a regressed version of the stepping motion, making it ideal for individuals who are looking for a low-impact cardio workout.
In addition, the mini stepper is entirely safe and helps injury-proof knees because it strengthens all the muscles responsible for the stepping motion. Thus, by training these exact muscles with the mini stepper, you are directly targeting knee health.
I cannot stress enough the importance of knee health. We only have two knee joints to last us our entire lifetime, and we need them to stay active and moving.
Keeping Your Knees Healthy & Good with Mini Steppers
By using a mini stepper, you are practicing and strengthening every muscle responsible for walking, climbing stairs, bending over, and getting up out of a chair. The mini stepper will help keep your knees healthy when performed correctly. Check out the complete guide to using the mini stepper.
With exercise, progression is essential. Doing the same version and variety of exercise month after month, year after year, will probably get boring, and you will stop seeing results. Referring to the different versions of stepping workouts, the mini stepper can be a "steppingstone" in your exercise journey, no pun intended.
If outdoor hikes or runs are a type of exercise you want to perform but aren't ready for such movement, a mini stepper is a great way to start. It can also help propel you into other cardio workouts and different forms of exercise like strength training.
We have a ton of great content to get you moving on the mini stepper and help provide instruction. Happy stepping your way to healthier knees.