The Health Benefits of Taking the Stairs

by Laura on July 21, 2010

When I decided to do this post about the pro’s of taking the stairs, one of the first things that came to my mind was the  first day of class.  Our instructor walked into the room and welcomed all of us to the PFT (Personal Fitness Training) course,  then started going through some of the rules and expectations the college had for each of us as well as what he expected from us both individually and as a class. His list included all the usual stuff- being on time, doing your homework, studying for tests, being respectful of others…you get the idea.  Then he reached a point where he paused very briefly and added, “And if I ever catch any of you on that elevator you’re dead meat, so take the stairs!”  Keep in mind that he said it with a smile on his face, but some limits are better left untested (especially when grades are on the line)!  

I have to admit that I am guilty of telling my clients the same thing (and yes, I smile when I say it).  It seems to me that if you are willing to go to the gym and workout, you should be willing to take the stairs as well.  I am amazed at the number of people who come to the gym and take the elevator up to the weight room.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely heartless, I understand that some people have disabilities or injuries which makes stairs hard or, in some cases,even  impossible.  However, the vast majority of people would be better off hoofin’ it up a flight or two of stairs than standing inside a moving box, listening to bad music while silently criticizing the outfit the person next to you decided to wear and then actually left the house in…  What!?! ?  Don’t tell me you’ve never done that, we’ve all done it at least once.  ;)

 I know what you’re thinking.  Why is taking the stairs so much better for you?  Well, I’ve got 7  reasons and I’ll list some statistics that’ll have you thinking twice before you push the little ‘up arrow’ button again!  Did you know that….

  • Just 2 minutes of climbing stairs a day can keep off the pesky 2 lbs that most adults gain in a year.
  • Taking the stairs firms up your glutes and quadriceps while increasing your bone density.
  • While climbing stairs, you’re burning an average of 10 calories a minute!  That’s 7x more calories a minute than standing in an elevator.
  • A brief session of stair climbing does you more good than walking or running for the same amount of time because you have to work against the force of gravity. 
  • According to a study done at Harvard university, if you can fit in 8 flights of stairs a day you could reduce your death rate by 32%.
  • Stepping on each stair with your entire foot can help prevent injury and straining of your Achilles tendon.
  • A British study states that 11 minutes a day spent climbing stairs at “a brisk but comfortable” pace will not only burn calories and improve your cardiovascular endurance, it will also help lower your LDL cholesterol level (that’s the bad one).
  • One thing to note:  If you have bad knees, whether it be arthritis or something  else, try taking the stairs up and then take the elevator down.  

So the next time you find yourself  standing at the proverbial fork in the road, having to choose between and elevator and a flight of stairs, take the stairs, your body will thank you for it!!  :)

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Eric May 16, 2011 at 8:46 am

I know taking the stairs is a challenge for some. There are people that think that stairs are just something to make you perspire.
If you think negatively, you’ll feel negatively. I’m a person that loves a good heart pumping walk/run or whatever.
Taking the stairs is an everyday exercise for office people. The sad thing about it is they tend to ignore this simple exercise in life that’s why they gain weight.

Jacquelyn March 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I take 21 flights of stairs every morning. Even though the building I’m in is only 7 floors. I go to the top and come back down 3 times. Giving me an extra workout. It starts my day. After finishing I feel I can handle anything, nothing bothers me, it like “Is that all you got?” However I’m a workout enthusiast, I workout in the evening 2 hours 6 days a week. But the stairs start my day in a positive way.

Sharon August 28, 2012 at 1:50 pm

As part of an initiative the Federal Government started a Take the Stairs campaign. I started taking them, because I changed employment, and one of the girls there did them for fitness, she’d do 26 flights daily, sometimes 2-3 times or more. She had lost oodles of inches, and lots of weight when pairing this activity with a smarter eating regime. When I started with her, I could only go 2-3 flights without feeling like I was going to die. Then I would regularly do 10 flights, and even made it the full 26 a couple of times. My pants fit looser after only one week of this activity. I was also an office drone, and it’s good to get that blood moving, it increases productivity, because the blood moving refreshes the brain with vitally important oxygen. I’ve since moved on from that job, but I haven’t left the stairs behind. I work between two buildings now, and I take the stairs (for the most part) because I don’t want to suffer from illnesses related to inactivity in the future.


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