This TikTok-Famous Gadget Is My Secret to Hitting My Steps Goal

I no longer feel guilty about my desk job.

Sunny health stepper on red, purple, orange gradient background, with 2024 power pink stamp
(Image credit: Future/Courtesy)

Welcome to Power Picks, a monthly series on the things that help us navigate our lives, step into our personal power, or simply get us through our day-to-day. Our hope is that by sharing what makes us feel great, we can help you feel great, too.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but I’m easily influenced. It doesn’t take much for me to jump on the bandwagon of the latest TikTok-viral thing. This mentality has led to some great finds, like my new favorite walking shoes from Rothy’s and my favorite drugstore mascara, but it’s also led to some not-so-great purchases, like that viral thermal brush that ripped out my hair (IYKYK. But a recent TikTok-made-me-do-it buy—the Sunny Health & Fitness Mini Stepper—ranks among my all-time favorites.

As someone who works out at least five times a week, I’ve never struggled to keep a fitness routine. What I do struggle with is getting in movement the rest of the day. Some days, especially when I work from home, I'm glued to my desk chair for a solid eight hours. These are the days when I’ll look at my Oura Ring stats, see I’ve only hit 5,000 steps or so, and feel guilty. We’ve all heard that sitting is a “silent killer,” and it’s true: Too much sedentary time increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and death, per the American Heart Association. So when I saw the Sunny Mini Stepper blow up on my FYP, a lightbulb went off in my head.

The Sunny Health & Fitness Mini Stepper is essentially a miniature StairMaster: you push the pedals up and down to simulate the same motion as climbing steps. You can also use a dial to change the resistance. But at just 16-by-12 inches and weighing in at 15 pounds, it's much more compact than a StairMaster, making it as easy as can be to move and store. It comes with removable resistance bands so you can get your whole body involved, plus an LED screen that tracks your steps, calories burned, and time spent working out.

I’ve had this stepper in my fitness arsenal for six months now, and I use it all the time. If I’m tempted to mindlessly scroll through TikTok, I’ll hop on my stepper. Finishing an episode of a TV show or a chapter on my Kindle Paperwhite? You can bet I’ll be stepping away. On particularly early mornings when I’m up before the sun, I’ll use my stepper to warm up before my workout. I’ll even pull it out when I need a quick boost of energy during long days of work.

Brooke knappenberger testing the sunny health and fitness mini stepper in her bedroom

The Sunny mini stepper is just the right size to easily keep in my bedroom.

(Image credit: Brooke Knappenberger)

It doesn't get my heart pumping like a HIIT workout, but this stepper does make me break a sweat in as little as 10 minutes. It has the intensity of an uphill walk, but I can dial it up a notch (literally) when the mood strikes, or go nice and easy when I’m not in the mood for a sweaty workout. Sometimes, I won’t even bother with workout clothes and sneakers—I’ll just get to stepping in whatever it is I have on that day. The stepper’s accessibility is what makes this a real game-changer in my eyes: its compact size means I can keep it under my bed and easily pull it out whenever I feel like it. While I can’t always go on a walk because of the weather or time of day, I can always use my stepper.

The one drawback? It does require balance. The pedals are wide enough to be stable, but it takes time to learn how to push them and to get comfortable with the machine’s movements. By now, I've had plenty of practice and can now play on my Nintendo Switch while stepping without losing my balance—but if your balance isn’t great, take your time and work your way up to multitasking. At $60, it's a relatively affordable purchase, and a no-brainer way to meet your movement goals.

Brooke Knappenberger
Associate Commerce Editor

Brooke Knappenberger is the Associate Commerce Editor at Marie Claire, where she specializes in crafting shopping stories—from sales content to buying guides that span every vertical on the site. She also oversees holiday coverage with an emphasis on gifting guides as well as Power Pick, our monthly column on the items that power the lives of MC’s editors. She also tackled shopping content as Marie Claire's Editorial Fellow prior to her role as Associate Commerce Editor.

She has over three years of experience writing on fashion, beauty, and entertainment and her work has appeared on Looper, NickiSwift, The Sun US, and Vox Magazine of Columbia, Missouri. Brooke obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism with an emphasis on Magazine Editing and has a minor in Textile and Apparel Management.