Did you know that frequently using stairs could save your life? Studies indicate that climbing only eight flights of stairs every day can improve your health and decrease your risk of premature death by as much as a third. So popular has this form of exercise become that you could even get free smartphone apps to count the number of steps you climb and document how many calories are burned off.
Here are six ways that climbing stairs on a regular basis can benefit you:
1. Builds muscle and bone strength
Stair climbing is essentially a more strenuous kind of walking. Because you have to pull against gravity, it requires greater effort, so you get more of a workout. The exercise is great for your body, increasing your bone density, strength and muscle tone – so the likelihood of developing osteoporosis is considerably reduced.
2. Helps your heart
By increasing your heart rate, stair climbing helps prevent blocked arteries and high blood pressure. This increase to your cardiovascular system lowers the risk of succumbing to severe conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
3. Aids weight loss
This astonishingly vigorous form of exercise really burns more calories per minute than jogging. And the good thing is the heavier you are, the more calories you will expend. Even when you go upstairs at a normal pace, you are going to use at least double the amount of energy than if you were walking on level floor – so you will soon find your waistline shrinking in the event you use the stairs regularly. Relieves stress The regular exercise will increase your energy levels, which makes you feel better about the world. Fits in with active lifestyles
Unlike going to the gym, climbing stairs is convenient, flexible and time-efficient. You can start with just a couple of flights if you like, and increase gradually. Even if you’re a busy commuter, you can use staircases in public places like train stations, office buildings and multi-storey car parks. Needless to say, unless you live in a bungalow or ground-floor apartment you will also be able to practise in the comfort of your own home.
You don’t have to be a fresh-air fiend to enjoy climbing stairs. No particular skills, sporting training or ability is required – and you won’t need to talk about a sweaty changing room with strangers.
Because stair climbing is relatively easy to build into your life, you should have the ability to integrate it into your routine without too many problems. Regular exercise can make a real difference to people’s long-term health, so finding an activity that you have the ability to sustain over the years will be invaluable for your exercise levels. Costs nothing
One of the best things about stair climbing is that it is free. No sports club gym or fees subscription, no equipment or special clothing to purchase… it is just you, as well as many measures as you can handle.
A few tips…
So, which kinds of stairs are best for climbing? Any long flight of stairs provides the opportunity for a good workout, even though some are better than others. Wooden stairs are more comfortable than metal or concrete ones as their treads provide more shock absorption, and carpeted staircases are better still. Curved stairs are just like straight ones for supplying exercise. Even attic stairs and space saver staircases have their applications, as long as you hold on to the handrail and don’t try to go too quickly. In case you have to use an escalator, walk all the way up it. As the steps are deeper than those in an average staircase, it’ll still do you good.
Aim for between three and five stair-climbing sessions a week to get the most out of your new regime. If you’re not used to exercise you should start slowly, maybe just climbing for five or 10 minutes at first. You can work up to thirty minutes or an hour eventually, if you feel confident.
Can anybody exercise this way?
People with knee or hip problems aren’t advised to climb stairs as the stepping action can aggravate their condition. This is especially true when going down, as the joints come under extra strain. Anyone concerned about their health should have a word with their doctor before going ahead.