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Stair Stepper

A stair stepper is just what it sounds like, a machine that simulates climbing stairs. It is a low-impact, weight-bearing exercise that can strengthen your bones and muscles while providing a cardiovascular workout. The repetitive low-impact knee motion stimulates joint fluid production, lubricating and nourishing the joint and washing away waste products. There are two types of stair steppers.

  1. One with two foot pedals that either move independently of each other or dependently of each other (you press down on one pedal to make the other pedal raise).
  2. The stepmill, which is like a mini escalator that you climb.

Both kinds of stair steppers engage the large muscles of your lower body, just like climbing real stairs. Steppers, however, don't offer upper-body workout options like elliptical trainers do.


  • Because these are such straight-forward machines, few modifications are needed.


  • Good posture and tight abdominals are key to having a successful workout on a stair stepper.
  • Hold the handles or rails with a loose grip for balance. Do not lean on the handles.
  • Although low-impact, the highly repetitive motion may cause an increase in arthritis pain if you do not slowly build the time you spend on the machine.


  • Begin with only a few minutes on the stepper and add time as your strength and cardio fitness improve.
  • Begin at the lightest resistance level and progress by doing intervals with increased resistance.

This is general stair stepper information. Get personalized results, with specific modifications and tips customized to your problem joints and level of fitness.