We all know that taking some time out to focus on your body and health regularly is not an easy job. That’s why we want to make the most of the time spent on our fitness and do only the most effective forms of exercises.
So, if your daily workout comes from brisk walking, why not use that time to climb stairs instead? While walking is good for your health, you can reap greater benefits in the same duration with stair climbing. Here are some reasons why you should consider the switch:
1. Higher Calorie Burn
The basic difference between exercises like walking (or running) and stair climbing is the way the body moves. When you run or walk, your body undergoes horizontal motion as opposed to the vertical motion, while stair climbing.
Vertical motion challenges your muscles to resist gravity, balance, and stabilize. This takes more work than walking down a straight path. More work means more calories burned. 15 minutes of stair climbing equates 45 minutes of brisk walking.
2. More Muscle Groups Activated
In addition to using lower-body muscles like calves, hamstrings, and gluteus maximus, stair climbing also activates your core and lower-back muscles. Moreover, when you pump your arms while climbing, it engages your upper-body as well. Hence, stair climbing has the potential to be a full-body workout, unlike walking. That’s why it’s a great work out even for weight-lifting enthusiasts for focusing on their lower body.
3. Higher Convenience
When you walk or run, you need to either go outdoors, to the gym or buy your own treadmill. In the case of stair climbing, all you need is an ordinary staircase. Moreover, you don’t need any special clothing or equipment except for a good pair of shoes. This makes it much more accessible and convenient despite weather conditions.
4. Interval Training Advantage
Interval training is all the rage in the fitness realm lately – and for good reason. These workouts help you achieve your fitness goals in a shorter duration when compared to continuous training. Stair climbing is naturally designed as an interval-training workout.
Walking up and walking down have different intensity levels. When you climb up, you put your muscles to work and your heart rate rises. When you climb down, the intensity lowers and your body recovers. If you’d like to increase the intensity further, you can jog up some flights or do squats or jumping jacks on between floors.
5. How to Lower the Impact
While stair climbing is a low-impact workout when compared to running, it can still be tough on your joints. You can reduce the impact by purchasing shoes that offer a good ankle and heel support. Also, make sure to climb stairs up and down slowly for 10 minutes before increasing the pace.
Bring your feet down softly as opposed to stomping them and you’ll reduce the impact on your joints. If you think that stair climbing is still too high-impact, you can purchase an elliptical trainer. An elliptical trainer imitates the body’s movements during stair climbing but keeps your feet in contact, eliminating the impact on joints.
While stair climbing has amazing health benefits, here are some conditions when you should avoid it:
- If you’re over 70 or suffer from joint and knee problems
- If you’re pregnant and approaching labor
- If you recently underwent angioplasty or have a heart condition
- If you’re recovering from a lower-body injury
Even if you’re not looking for an alternative form of exercise, stair climbing is a great lower-body workout. It can also serve as a cross-training exercise for runners and cyclists. So, when are you beginning your stair climbing workout?