The best mini steppers simulate walking up stairs, they strengthen the muscles around the knee joint while strengthening the muscles around the knees.
But is the mini stepper bad for your knees? Mini steppers are not bad for your knees because they strengthen the joint around the knee and improve knee health. If your knees are in good condition then the mini stepper won’t do them any harm. But the mini stepper isn’t for everyone, if you suffer from chronic knee pain or problems it’s important to seek advice from a medical professional first before using any exercise equipment.
Let’s look at how the mini stepper affects joints and look deeper into who shouldn’t use a mini stepper.
When you climb a flight of stairs you lift the leg up which activates the hamstrings, glutes, quads and calves.
The mini stepper specifically focuses on the quadriceps which are attached by a tendon to the kneecap. When the leg extends at the knee, this muscle is responsible for keeping the knee stable.
If you haven’t yet suffered from an injury to the knee it’s important to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint, as recommended by the National Institute of Arthritis. Strong leg muscles not only provide stability but support the knees, this makes them less susceptible to injury.
Using a mini stepper for 30 minutes per day is an ideal piece of equipment for strengthening the knee joint. A 2016 study found that the most engaged muscles when you walk up stairs are those that support the knees. But, use caution if you have arthritis or a knee injury.
One problem with the mini stepper is that the movement is subject to stress on the knee joint. Every time you go through the step motion, up and down the knee joint takes the impact through the weight of your body plus gravity.
So if you have knee pre-existing knee problems then the mini stepper shouldn’t be used. It could make your knee problems worse because the movement is overworking the joints further.
How to use the Mini Stepper without impacting knees
Proper form is paramount when using the mini stepper, using it incorrectly could result in unnecessary pressure on your joints and result in injury. Stand up with your back straight and chest pointed upwards.
Use your arms for momentum while keeping your hips level. Use your arms to control the movement and don’t rock side to side. If you feel any pain in your knees or joints then stop using the mini stepper immediately.
Fitness Equipment for Bad Knees
If you do suffer from a pre existing condition that affect your knees there are some alternative exercise or equipment you can opt for that offer the same benefits as a mini stepper but are easier on the joints.
Elliptical trainers for example direct the body through a forward and backward circular motion which have little to no impact on your knees.