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A Flight of Stairs Can be Your Friend!


In an earlier post, we wrote about how climbing the stairs was good for your heart health.  In fact, if you can make the effort to climb just fifty stairs each and every day, this action could slash your risk of heart disease by twenty percent. 

We pointed out that many people (as they get older) try to avoid stairs, often choosing to move into a home without stairs if they can when a flight of stairs can actually be your friend!  

What are the top ten health benefits of stair climbing

The best part of using stair climbing as part of your exercise routine is that you really do not need any other or specialized equipment.

  1. Helps you to lose weight.  The most direct benefit of climbing stairs is that it aids weight loss, being a simple aerobic exercise easily added to your daily routine to both burn calories AND lose weight.
  2. Helps you to build stamina.   Even though climbing stairs may make you  out of breath initially, you will gradually build stamina and strengthen your bones and muscles when you do it consistently.
  3. Improves your heart health.  As we mentioned in our introduction, a significant benefit of climbing stairs is that it improves your body’s maximal oxygen consumption and boosts your cardio-respiratory fitness.  Your heart health will improve because of better blood circulation and increasing that good cholesterol in the body.
  4. Strengthens your muscles and jointsStair climbing is a vertical exercise, pitting you against gravity to enhance your muscle and skeletal strength.
  5. Helps to boosts your mental health.   The simple workout will help to refresh your mind, giving you an adrenaline rush while stimulating the production of happy hormones.
  6. Your risk of death decreases.  This is because stair climbing reduces your resting heart rate, decreases bad cholesterol and lowers the mortality risk.
  7. Your blood pressure can be regulated.  Climbing stairs will help to unclog those arteries while boosting your overall blood flow.
  8. Helps to tone the body.  When you keep climbing stairs, it provides an effective core strengthening and body toning exercise.  If you go further and master climbing the stairs backwards, you will improve your stamina even more and achieve a more toned physique faster than ever.
  9. Increases the burning of calories.  You might not know that you burn more calories every minute while climbing stairs than you do jogging.  This is because as your body moves through resistance with every step you take, it helps your body fat to burn rapidly.
  10. Lowers your risk of developing several different diseases.  If you can get into the habit of climbing stairs for twenty minutes every day, you will reduce the risk of severe conditions like diabetes, headaches and osteoporosis.

 How to get the most out of stair climbing! 

Take long strides when you walk upstairs, even covering two or more stairs as you go if you feel confident.  This will work the muscles in the back of your legs.

Then there are side steps where you turn sideways and start climbing with your right foot, followed by your left foot next to your right.  Keep repeating until you get to the top, helping to shape your inner and outer thighs.

Another suggestion is hopping where you get your feet close together and hop onto each step - either with both legs or single leg hops which are more intense.  This method will help you to burn plenty of calories!

How about running as fast as you can to the top of the stairs before walking back down again?

Finally, there is interval training which is where you combine all the above exercises with calf raises, stair lunges and stair push-ups.  This will give you a very intense workout. 

We share some safety tips for stair climbing 

To keep you safe while building your self-confidence, remember to: 

  • Wear comfortable shoes, fitted clothes and keep your hands free.
  • Avoid slouching and watch your posture by maintaining an upright body posture when stair climbing.
  • Lead with your stronger leg while climbing and hold the handrail for support if needed.
  • Do not exert yourself.  Don't forget to take a break if you feel breathless or uncomfortable.
  • In the beginning, try to take one step at a time and build your endurance gradually.

Is there anyone who should not take up stair climbing for exercise? 

We are told that climbing stairs is not advisable for:

  • Those who are aged, weak or have bone and joint problems, as it increases the risk of falls and injuries.
  • People with prolonged diabetes and visual dysfunction like retinopathy should skip the staircase for safety's sake.
  • Those suffering from neuropathy as they may experience a deterioration in their sensory, motor and autonomic nervous systems. Again, it is a matter of their safety.
  • Those who experience extreme fatigue after climbing stairs or suffer from heart conditions must avoid them.
  • Those who are pregnant.
Experts are divided about those suffering from arthritis with some saying avoiding stair climbing while others suggest actual exercises for arthritis using the stairs.  Here are some other suggestions for dealing with arthritis in the knees.


And in conclusion...

The good thing about stair climbing is that it is an easy, low-impact cardiovascular exercise, helping to burn two to three times more calories than walking.

In addition, it is a great full body workout that improves cardio-respiratory health, strengthens and tones muscles, accelerates weight loss - and keeps you happy by releasing endorphins.

There is no time like the present to add climbing stairs to your workout routine!


 Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Improves Stair Climbing Capacity in People with Knee Osteoarthritis - PubMed (nih.gov)

Stair climbing activity and vascular function in patients with hypertension - PubMed (nih.gov)

Daily stair climbing is associated with decreased risk for the metabolic syndrome - PubMed (nih.gov)