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Climb up stairs - an activity that is good for you in so many ways

Surely you’ve heard your doctor, dietitian or a health coach say that if you don’t have time to exercise, then make sure you climb stairs whenever you can, instead of taking the elevator. Unfortunately, most of us lack the motivation to follow this simple advice because it’s either too difficult, especially for those with physical or breathing challenges, or, if we’re being completely transparent with each other, it’s because most of us are too lazy to bother!

These tips make will stair climbing more interesting:

  1. Climb up 2 steps and then down 1 step: If you have low stamina or you turn breathless easily, this is an easier way to climb stairs. Take the first step with your right foot, placing it on the first stair. Bring your left foot up to the same stair, placing it next to your right foot. Repeat this sequence for one more step and then follow it by coming down one step, but this time place your left foot down and then the right foot next to it. In this manner you are not only adding variety to your exercise but also building in a period of rest after every 2 step climb.

  2. Climb stairs in a zig-zag manner: Stand towards the middle of the staircase. Take the first step with your right foot, placing it on the right half of the first stair. Bring your left foot up to the same stair, placing it next to your right foot. Step up to the next stair with your left foot and place it as far to the left half of the next stair as you can. Then bring your right foot up to the same stair, placing it next to your left foot. Repeat these movements, starting once more with your right foot and aiming for the right half of the next stair. Then keep going until you either achieve your target number of steps for the day or arrive at your destination.

Note: you may find this exercise particularly challenging to do if you need to use handrails to climb stairs. In this case, please avoid this exercise or modify it per your ability and needs.

  1. Listen to music or a podcast: Listening to music or a podcast can enable you to get two things done at the same time, help pass the time, and also make this exercise more enjoyable.

  2. Set goals: Setting goals can help motivate you and give you something to work towards. Whether it's a certain number of stairs or flights climbed a day, or a target heart rate that you want to achieve while climbing, having a goal can make your workout more exciting and rewarding. For example, start with a goal of 40 steps per day (the minimum required to get health benefits) and then build up by adding one step everyday until you hit your target maximum number of steps per day.

Climbing stairs can have significant health benefits, including weight loss, a stronger heart and improved cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, and improved blood sugar control. Here is a more detailed explanation on the top 3 benefits of climbing up stairs

  1. Increased calorie burn: Climbing stairs uses a lot of different muscles, including those in your legs, glutes, and core, which makes it a great form of cardiovascular exercise and resistance training. By taking the stairs regularly, you can increase your overall level of physical activity and help to maintain a healthy weight.

  2. Improved cardiovascular health: When you climb stairs, your heart rate increases and your breathing becomes deeper and more rapid. This causes the blood vessels in your body to dilate, which increases blood flow and oxygen delivery to your muscles and organs. Stair climbing can also help to lower blood pressure by improving the function of the blood vessels in your body. This can reduce the risk of developing hypertension, which is a major risk factor for heart disease.

  3. Better control over blood glucose: Climbing stairs for 1 minute can lower blood glucose levels by 6 mg/dl. It can also help to improve blood sugar control, which is important for preventing and managing type 2 diabetes. This is because physical activity increases the uptake of glucose by the muscles, which can lower blood sugar levels.

  4. Time management: Is your hectic schedule getting in the way of making the time for a regular, daily workout? Just 15 minutes of stair climbing provides the equivalent benefit of 45 minutes of brisk walking, so target walking up at least four flights of stairs daily for better heart health. We’re sure you can find an extra 15 minutes in your day to do this!

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