You’ve probably heard a time or two to “take the stairs”, but we’re often tempted to take the elevator or escalator instead. It’s an easy choice when you’re tired or in a hurry, but when you consider the health benefits of choosing the stairs, you may choose differently next time.
Stair exercise allows you to strengthen your lower body while improving your cardiovascular health. Even when used in short durations throughout the day, stairs can improve your overall health, fitness level, and weight. The amount of calories you will burn climbing stairs depends on your age, weight, and fitness level, but on average most burn 150 calories in only 10 minutes of climbing stairs.
Short bursts of stair climbing can improve your health including breathing ability, heart rate, and HDL cholesterol. Even climbing a few flights of stairs several times a day while at work, home, or when running errands, can help you lose weight and improve your body composition.
Taking the stairs has many advantages. Just two flights of stairs a day gives you a free workout that could help you to lose up to 6 pounds a year, improve your heart health, reduce your risk of osteoporosis, boost your confidence, and relieve some stress.
Try adding variety when using a staircase. Step wide up the stairs spreading your feet as far apart as you can. Try jumping up the stairs, using a railing for safety. Take stairs two or three at a time pressing into a squat as you go. You can also try going up sideways.
To lower stress on your back, hips, and knees, make sure to place your foot fully on each step and slightly lean forward. Be careful when attempting creative stair exercises and be sure to use hand railings to steady your balance and prevent falling.
Photo -"Stair masters" (CC BY 2.0) by chucknado
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