Taking the stairs is already a small (and useful) workout

  • If you prefer stairs to the elevator, you can burn calories, improving cardiovascular health and toning muscles.
  • One study indicates that climbing five ramps a day reduces cardiovascular risk by 20 percent.
  • Supplementing stairs with other healthy behaviors, such as regular movement and a balanced diet, is critical to overall health.


Everytime you take the elevator instead of taking the stairs, you are wasting a chance to burn calories and train your muscles. As much as it is in fact a very small physical activity over time, the aerobic effort required to climb stairs burns calories, fortifies your heart and tones your muscles.

This was confirmed by a study published in the journal Atherosclerosis, which reported data from extensive research showing that those who climb even five ramps a day can reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by 20 percent. A less pleasant side of this research is that those who stop doing it have a 32 percent higher risk than even those who have never done any activity.

But let us focus on the positives, not neglecting that the study in question was observational in nature and therefore did not aim to establish an undeniable link between cause and effect. The important thing was that the importance of even little exercise was recognized.

Why is it so good to climb stairs?

Have you ever noticed that there is less and less talk about the incidence of cardiovascular disease as a cause of death? While it is true that fewer people die percentually from this type of disease, it is also true that it always remains a major cause. Yet, evidently, we are more concerned about other diseases. Which does not imply that it is not important to do something as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, especially if it requires an effort that is considered moderate.

Climbing stairs is an aerobic activity, and, as such, it raises the heart rate and trains the heart to better withstand certain exertions, just as it does with walking or bicycling.

And its benefits are not limited to that, which would already be enough. Making this effort also tones leg and back muscles and improves balance, reducing the risk of falling.

Some other good habits

While climbing stairs is a good idea, not neglecting the other pillars of healthy living is equally important. What are we talking about? Of those six activities that are among those suggested by Lifestyle Medicine: eating plant-based whole foods whenever possible, prioritizing restful sleep, incorporating at least 150 minutes of exercise per week, avoiding risky substances such as tobacco and alcohol, and spending time on social connections. According to the World Health Organization, about 80 percent of cases of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes could be prevented by prioritizing these six behaviors.

Three staircase workouts to try

If you’ve convinced yourself that you will always take the stairs from now on (congratulations!), you can better supplement this mild workout with other. While a simple walk up the stairs offers many benefits, you can also try to raise the bar with stair workouts at different paces and in different ways.

Interval training on the stairs

The first is a type of workout that alternates between climbing a flight of stairs at a controlled pace to one at a slightly faster (but still safe and controlled) pace. To be repeated three to five times, depending on how you feel.

Going up the stairs

The second method involves performing a circuit that includes climbing a few flights of stairs at a moderate pace and then completing the workout on the floor, doing push-ups or crunches, for example. For example, you could climb three sets of stairs, do 10 squats and rest for a minute before repeating the circuit.

Climbing the stairs for the time

Time is always a good way to compare whether or not you are making progress. You can then do this kind of workout by pointing the timer on your phone or smartwatch and see how many ramps or steps you can climb each time, but always in the same amount of time.

(Via Fortune)


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