Physical activity is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle because not only does it help regulate metabolic function, stamina and muscle strength, but it also helps maintain hormonal balance, mental health and sleep hygiene. However, if you find yourself arguing that your hectic work life doesn’t leave you enough time to dedicate towards daily exercise, then the simplest and best solution for you is climbing stairs.
According to a study, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports in 2014, stair-climbing is a feasible way to remain physically active within the parameters of your everyday life and work, while also benefiting from many health benefits. A 2019 study in Sports deems everyday stair-climbing as exceptionally beneficial for people of all ages, especially older adults who can improve their health, maintain independent living and enhance their overall quality of life by adopting this type of physical activity.
Not only does stair-climbing not require you to take time out to go to a gym, but it can also be done without any expenditure (except that of calories) on your part. All you need to do is take the stairs at work, at home or anywhere else you go, instead of taking lifts and escalators. The following are some of the health benefits you can reap by adopting stair-climbing as a form of daily physical activity.
1. Weight loss: Stair-climbing burns more calories than walking or running does. Climb up a single stair and you burn 0.17 calories. Step down a single stair and you burn 0.05 calories. Just imagine how many calories you’ll burn if you climb up and down the stairs for half an hour every day? Do this for half an hour daily and you’re bound to lose some weight.
2. Endurance building: Stair-climbing not only induces weight loss but is also a great cardio exercise. The 2014 study mentioned above shows that stair-climbing improves resting and exercise heart rates, dynamic balance performance, strength and submaximal endurance among all participants.
3. Heart health: Apart from improving heart rate, stair-climbing also improves vascular function within the body. By improving the circulation of blood in the body, this form of exercise regulates cholesterol levels as well. All these combine to improve overall heart health.
4. Builds muscles: The 2019 study mentioned above shows that stair-climbing works the muscles in the lower half of the body to improve musculoskeletal function. This is a form of vertical exercise that engages the muscles in the abdomen, hips, thighs and legs to lift up your entire body up the stairs.
5. Lowers mortality: A 2019 study in Preventive Medicine Reports suggests that regular stair-climbing reduces the risk of mortality due to cardiovascular diseases and even minimizes the chances of all-cause mortality by improving gait, strength, balance and muscular coordination among older adults.
6. Mental health: According to a study in the Journal of Renal Nutrition in 2014, stair-climbing is one of the forms of physical activity that can alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Regular stair-climbing for longer durations is therefore not only great for physical fitness but also for your mental health.
For more information, read our article on Is climbing stairs good or bad?
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