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What Is So Special About Stairs?

Prerna is a thinker, observer, reader & writer. She is always curious to learn. She is a strong believer in human potential.

what-is-so-special-about-stairs

Do you exercise daily?

Okay let me ask this way, do you opt for stairs over the lift?

Well, then it’s the same thing.

For many of us, exercise means gymming or shedding sweat on the treadmill. But there are many other exercises or workouts which you can easily choose to stay fit and healthy.

It’s like a little choice you make every day on your fitness journey.

One of those exercises is stair climbing.

Stair climbing burns twice the calories of walking, and it strengthens your heart, lungs, and muscles. It is a great way to boost your activity level. That’s why we often recommend that you take the stairs when possible.

“We know that spending long periods sitting down can have a negative impact on heart health. So stair climbing is a great way to break up sedentary time,” says Dr. JoAnne Foody, medical director of cardiovascular wellness services at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Stair climbing is so good for you that it’s not just reserved for opportunities to skip an elevator; it’s now considered a bona fide workout.

what-is-so-special-about-stairs

Research

Researchers in Canada answered the question by monitoring 17 healthy male volunteers with an average age of 64 while they walked, lifted weights, or climbed stairs. Stair climbing was the most demanding.

It was twice as taxing as brisk walking on the level. 50% harder than walking up a steep incline or lifting weights. And peak exertion was attained much faster-climbing stairs than walking. That is why nearly everyone huffs and puffs going upstairs, at least until the “second wind” kicks in after a few flights.

Even at a slow pace, you’ll burn calories two to three times faster climbing stairs than walking briskly on the level. The Harvard Alumni Study found that men who average at least eight flights a day enjoy a 33% lower mortality rate than men who are sedentary. And that’s even better than the 22% lower death rate men earned by walking 1.3 miles a day.

If stairs and walking are difficult, it’s an indication that you’re on the road to less travel. You’ll need to see your doctor soon.


what-is-so-special-about-stairs

Benefits of Taking the Stairs

  • Climbing stairs can improve the amount of “good cholesterol” in the blood
  • Stair climbing increases leg power. It may be an important priority in reducing the risk of injury from falls in the elderly
  • Stair climbing can help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight
  • It can help you build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints.

Stair climbing also has the benefit of convenience. Most stairwells are indoors, which means you can use them in any weather, even when it’s rainy or bitter cold. And stair climbing is essentially free, available in most buildings across the country. Alternatively, you can buy a stair-climbing machine for your home or use a machine at a gym.

Risk

Stair climbing comes with risks, however. It may not be appropriate if you have balance problems or pain. Also, weakness in your shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, or feet. If you have heart or lung disease, you should speak with your doctor before starting any type of stair climbing routine. Even when you’re tempted to skip an elevator now and then.

Because stairs are so taxing, only the very young at heart should attempt to charge up long flights. But at a slow, steady pace, stairs can be a health plus for the rest of us. Begin modestly with a flight or two, and then add more as you improve. Take the stairs whenever you can; if you have a long way to go, walk partway, and then switch to an elevator. And don’t try the stairs after a heavy meal or if you feel unwell.

Use the railing for balance and security (especially going down). And don’t do such acts.

Use the railing for balance and security (especially going down). And don’t do such acts.

Stair climbing popularity is reaching new heights.

The activity isn’t just for exercising anymore; now it’s a sport.

Stair climbing is so popular as an exercise that it’s now a sport, with athletes racing up the stairs of some of the world’s tallest buildings. The sport has also inspired fitness challenges for the general public. The Empire State Building in New York City (and its 1,576 steps) has been the site of a stair-climbing event every year since 1977.

Similarly, elite stair climbing athletes battle it out in the Vertical World Circuit and the Towerrunning World Association, racing up the staircases of skyscrapers around the world.

There Is No Elevator To Success You Have To Take The Stairs

Zig Ziglar

Disclaimer: No content on this site should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

Reference – Harvard Medical School

How to start

With your doctor’s okay, you can begin stair climbing at a gym, at home, or in public.

You can purchase small portable “mini steppers” as well.

Stair Stepper Exercise Machine with Resistant band and LCD display

Be sure to talk to a trainer first to learn how to use your own equipment or the machines.

You can also take on the stairs in public places. Look for multi-level office buildings or two-story shopping malls that have well-lighted staircases in good condition, free of trip hazards.

Don’t charge up a long flight of stairs on your first day. Start slowly, and keep an even pace. Dr. Foody recommends setting a weekly or monthly goal, either time spent climbing or the number of flights climbed at once, and then work toward improving your fitness level over time.

It’s also important to stretch after climbing to avoid soreness or injury. “And the good news is that you don’t have to dedicate hours to stair climbing.

Adults should get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week, but it can be broken up into smaller chunks of time, at least 10 minutes at a time. Therefore, if you climb the stairs for 10 minutes three times a day from Monday through Friday, you’ll reach the recommended physical activity level,” says Dr. Foody.

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