Exercising regularly is fundamental to your health. We know, this is not something exactly new. You’ve probably heard it all before. But the fact of the matter is that staying physically active comes with a series of benefits for both the body and mind. Exercising has the power to not only keep you in great shape, but also help you feel good, improve your mood and rest better at night.
One particular form of exercise, which many people may not take into account when building up their workout routine, is stair climbing. It doesn’t seem like much when you think about it, right? Well, you’re wrong! Done on a constant basis, climbing the stairs can have a truly positive impact on your overall health. And this is not hearsay. It’s backed up by science. Over the years there have been numerous studies, conducted by reputable institutes and universities, indicating the clear health benefits of walking up and down the stairs.
Why Stair Climbing?
Climbing the stairs for health-related reasons is something everyone should consider. Here are a couple of reasons why:
- It’s easy to integrate with your daily schedule. In case you work in a high-rise building or an apartment complex, you can easily climb a few flights of stairs at a faster pace at certain intervals during the day.
- It’s easy to turn it into a habit. Once you begin ditching the elevator and taking the stairs regularly, you’ll have high chances of turning this form of exercise into an automatic behavior.
- It doesn’t require a certain fitness level, special skills, clothing or gear. You can start climbing the stairs at any age, no matter if you’re in shape or not and without having to dress up in a certain way
- It’s free. This is a type of workout that won’t cost you a thing. On the other hand, a gym membership or a personal trainer’s fees won’t come cheap for sure.
Benefits of Taking the Stairs
Builds and Tones Muscles
Taking the stairs periodically is an effective way to build strong and lean muscles. This is due to the fact that this type of workout engages multiple muscle groups. You not only engage your calf muscles, but also your gluteal muscles and quadriceps. When you walk or run, your body will move horizontally. But when you climb the stairs, it will move in a vertical pattern. This means that your lower-body muscles will have to apply more effort in order to lift your body and to keep you properly balanced.
Strengthens the Bones
Opting to climb the stairs as a form of exercise can benefit not only your muscles, but also your bones. With the passage of time, bone density tends to decrease and this can cause unpleasant problems. Taking the stairs regularly will strengthen your bones, improve your bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis in the case of elderly women, according to researchers at Duke University.
Keeps your Heart Healthy
Walking up and down the stairs on a constant basis can lead to a better heart and lung health and can lower the risk of stroke. According to researchers at McMaster University and UBC Okanagan, climbing the stairs for a couple of minutes during the day, at short intervals, can truly improve your cardiovascular health. And a better heart health can only mean a better quality of life.
Lowers your Cholesterol
In order to reduce the cholesterol level in your blood it’s not enough to stay off food items high in saturated and trans fats. No, in addition to making smart nutritional choices, you also need to increase your physical activity. Constantly taking the stairs instead of just standing in the elevator will help you lower the level of the bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise the level of the good one (HDL). And this means you’ll be able to better protect your arteries and hence reduce the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Improves your Mood
Climbing the stairs can improve not only your physical, but mental health as well. Going up and down the stairs will make your body release an important amount of endorphins, particularly if you’re going to do it at a high-intensity level. Popularly known as the “feel-good hormones” or “natural painkillers”, endorphins are chemicals produced by our own bodies in order to help us relieve stress and depression. Therefore, at the end of each exercise session, you’ll get a nice, pleasant feeling and you’ll improve your overall well-being.
Burns Calories and Fat
Taking the stairs can also help you burn calories and get rid of that unwanted belly fat. Indeed, this form of exercise can be considered a calorie-burning activity, but don’t expect to get amazing results. Findings have shown that an 160-pound (73 kg) adult usually burns 0.17 calories per step climbed, which means you’ll be able to burn 2 calories for a flight of 12 steps.
In order to track how many calories you’ve burned while climbing the stairs just download a pedometer app like our own ActivityTracker. It’s so much more convenient and budget-friendlier to use your mobile phone, which you basically carry everywhere with you, instead of an additional fitness gadget.
Using an app will give you the chance to track a series of fitness stats, such as the steps taken, distance walked or ran, the time spent physically active, the flights of stairs climbed and the amount of calories burned. Moreover, you’ll be able to set fitness goals based on your individual needs and preferences and always stay motivated until you’ll reach those goals.
Being more physically active should be everyone’s goal. If we want to enjoy a healthier life, we need to embrace physical activity. Taking the stairs is a form of exercise that can really generate a multitude of health benefits long term. Both physically and mentally. It’s something near at hand, something we can all do and something easy to incorporate in our daily routine. Just a little bit of effort every day and you’ll be rewarded with a healthier heart, stronger bones and muscles, a slimmer version of you and, truly important, a happier version of you.