by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
If you often don’t get the time or don’t feel like doing cardio when you hit the gym, stair climbing could be a great way to burn some extra calories in your daily life without feeling like you’re putting in a cardio session.
Stairs are plentiful — they tend to be all around you. You can find them anywhere you go, like your office building, school, parking garage, or the mall. They are a very convenient way to exercise because you can take them anytime for as long as you want. For example, at the office, you can take the stairs to get to your floor or get off the elevator early and then take a few flights on your way into the office. The same with going home or leaving the office for the day.
8 Reasons Stair Climbing Should Become a Priority of Yours
Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a great way to get some exercise and burn some calories. Here are eight reasons why you should take the stairs and utilize stair climbing more often.
1. Burn more calories when you take the stairs
Fun fact: If you climb the stairs, you burn more calories than jogging. Climbing stairs instead of taking the elevator can help you burn 5-11 calories per minute. This may not seem like much, but it adds up to some major calorie burning over time, which can help you lose or maintain weight. The average person burns about seven times more energy stair climbing than taking the elevator.
2. Stair climbing reduces the risk of strokes
Stair climbing is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of stroke. According to a study from the Harvard Alumni Health Study involving over 11,000 men, physical activity such as stair climbing can decrease the risk of stroke. For example, in men who had reported climbing the equivalent of at least 20 flights per week, researchers found a vast reduction in their risk of stroke over the long term. This was in addition to any benefits they may have had from any other forms of regular exercise.
3. It improves muscle strength, bone density, and joint flexibility
Stair climbing is a weight-bearing exercise that can improve your bone density and can help prevent osteoporosis by placing pressure on your bones. It’s also an excellent way to improve muscle strength through repetitive motion, which helps prevent injuries during sports activities or everyday tasks like climbing stairs or lifting groceries into your car.
4. Stair climbing improves cardiovascular health
When you are stair climbing, your heart rate increases, so it can pump more blood to the working muscles. By doing this more often throughout the day, your heart gets stronger and will be able to pump more blood, even while at rest. This improves your cardiovascular health by making your heart work less hard when you’re at rest. Research has shown that regular exercise can improve cardiovascular health and fitness and help prevent cardiovascular disease. In fact, research shows that people who exercise regularly live seven years longer than those who don’t!
5. It increases muscle strength
When you take the stairs, you have to use your legs, arms, and back muscles to lift yourself upward step by step. This strengthens those muscles and improves their endurance. You’ll be able to do more things more easily because your muscles will be stronger than before you started climbing stairs regularly. Studies suggest that using skeletal muscle can help improve blood sugar, which may have implications for preventing and managing diabetes.
6. It improves coordination
Climbing stairs requires good coordination between your feet and hands as well as a balance between upper body and lower body movements. This helps improve your overall coordination skills and makes it easier for you to complete daily activities like walking up or down stairs without tripping over yourself or falling down because of poor balance control when walking on flat surfaces such as floors or sidewalks.
7. When you take the stairs it builds endurance
When you run, your body uses energy at a faster rate than in any other type of exercise. In fact, running uses twice as much energy per minute as walking and nearly four times as much as cycling or swimming. You can use this fact to your advantage by increasing your workout intensity through stair climbing. Climbing stairs is a great way to get a cardiovascular workout without putting too much stress on your joints or muscles. It’s also an excellent way to build endurance because it forces you to work harder for longer periods than lower-intensity exercises like running on a treadmill or riding an exercise bike would allow.
8. It is a great stress reliever
As we know, stress is one of the biggest killers around, so anything that can help relieve it is worth considering. When you’re walking up steps, your heart rate increases, and blood flows faster through your body to deliver oxygen where it’s needed most. This gives you a natural boost of energy and helps clear your mind so that you can concentrate on what’s important rather than dwelling on negative thoughts or past events.