Taking the stairs used to be just an option when the lift isn’t working. Now more and more people are recognizing the various benefits this moderate physical activity can bring to your health. Here are 5 reasons why you should take the climb.
Stair climbing reason #1: It burns more calories than running or walking.
Studies show that stair climbing, which is considered a vigorous physical activity, burns more calories than running or walking. According to StepJockey, a stair climbing initiative funded by the United Kingdom Department of Health, stair climbing requires 7 times more energy than taking the lift and 8 to 9 times more than sitting. Stair climbing as sport, which involves running up stairs, burns as much calories as baseball and volleyball, according to StairsClimbingSport.com.
Researchers from the University of Roehampton also found out that climbing stairs at a slow, steady pace burns more calories than taking it two steps at a time. Climbing five flights of stairs five times a week burns about 302 calories if taken one step at a time, while taking two steps with every stride burns only 260 calories.
StepJockey estimates that for every upward step you burn about 0.15 calories. Hence, you burn roughly a calorie for every 10 upward steps. On the other hand, every step descended burns approximately 0.05 calories. This makes you burn about 1 calorie for every 20 steps down.
Star climbing reason #2: It promotes cardiovascular health.
Countless research has backed up the claim that regular exercise helps improve cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of heart disease. Thus, stair climbing improves cardiovascular health by virtue of being a form of vigorous exercise.
Stair climbing reason #3: It reduces the risk of stroke.
Results from the Harvard Alumni Health Study revealed that regular physical activity, such as climbing stairs, can help reduce the risk of stroke. The study involved more than 11,000 men, wherein those who reported to have climbed an equivalent of 3 to 5 flights of stairs per day had a 29 percent reduction in their risk of stroke over the long-term. This is in addition to any benefits they may have had from other forms of exercise.
Stair climbing reason #4: It builds strength.
Think of all the muscles at work when you climb the stairs. Your leg muscles– quadriceps, glutes, calves and hamstrings—as well as your hip flexors and core body are all at work to haul yourself up. All of this translates to a stronger musculoskeletal system. To make this more challenging and to further train your legs, don’t use the banister or swing your arms.
Stair climbing reason #5: Stair climbing is convenient.
Stair climbing does not need any special equipment. Virtually every building ever built has a set of stairs. Hence, you don’t have to go to a gym or buy specialized exercise equipment to reap the health benefits of climbing the stairs. You also don’t have to wear any special gear or attire to engage in it. You can climb the stairs in heels or rubber shoes, in a business suit or in sweats, and in skirts or in pants. In addition, stair climbing can be performed by almost everyone, regardless of their fitness level.