This 15-Minute Step Workout Is Easy on the Knees — but Will Seriously Make You Sweat
From dumbbells to booty bands to treadmills, turning your living room into your personal fitness studio can be a journey packed with product research. We hope you don't mind, though, because we have yet another to add to your shopping list: an aerobic stepper.
According to NASM-certified personal trainer Jenna Langhans, steppers pack a whole lot of health and fitness power, including engaging the calves, hamstrings, glutes, quads, and core, aiding in fat loss, improving coordination, and revving up your cardiovascular health. And, if you're looking for a new low-impact workout for your sensitive knees — one that doesn't involve buying a stationary bike — the stepper will shine.
"The motion of stepping on and off the stepper can actually help strengthen the muscles around the knee joint, which can be beneficial for those experiencing knee discomfort," Langhans says. The stepper can also get your heart rate up through non-jumping moves, which Langhans says could be a bonus for someone looking for a high-intensity yet low-impact exercise.
Since knee discomfort is a complex issue, steppers aren't for everyone — in fact, Langhans says, depending on your concern, they might not be the most effective way to exercise, or even be considered safe. So, it's crucial to consult with a physical therapist or a doctor before beginning an aerobics stepper exercise program.
If you do have the green light to utilize a stepper in your routine, give Langhan's 15-minute, 4-move low-impact workout a try. "All of the moves in this workout are low-impact but high-intensity, meaning no jumping on or off the stepper, allowing people with knee issues to perform them without feeling excessive pressure in their joints," Langhans says.
Before performing any of the moves, make sure your body is properly prepped for the work ahead. Langhans suggests a low-impact workout that introduces movement to the body while raising the heart rate slightly — around two minutes should be sufficient here, but remember to listen to your body for guidance, too.
Langhams recommends performing moves like marches, jumping jack step-outs, air squats, and grapevines for 30 seconds each. Then, move into the 15-minute program. Perform three rounds of the four-move circuit, resting for 15 seconds in-between each move, or more if needed. Then, finish up with a one or two-minute cooldown to slow the heart rate down safely and stretch the muscles slowly.