The American Heart Association recommends that adults perform at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. With many different modes of exercise available, it can be confusing to know which option works best for you. For joint-friendly, low-impact cardio, ellipticals and stair climber machines, such as the Stairmaster, can be effective options. Each machine can offer its own unique approach to achieving your fitness goals.
An elliptical can be an effective, low-impact alternative to walking or jogging. If you have joint concerns, an elliptical might be a viable option for your cardio needs. Many machines also come with arm poles or handles that can add an upper-body component to your workout and increase your calorie burn. Some ellipticals can be pedalled either forward or backward to target different lower-body muscles. By alternating directions, you can target your entire lower body in one workout.
Stair climbers, or steppers, can also provide a low-impact cardio option for exercise. Whether you choose a step mill or a pedal-based climber, these machines offer a calorie-torching workout and resistance for the lower body. Proper form is key to the effectiveness of stair climbers. You must resist the urge to lean on the handlebars and must maintain good posture throughout the workout. Unlike the elliptical, most steppers do not provide an upper-body component or a change in direction with the pedals. Also, those with knee issues may find the elliptical to be a more comfortable option.