Climbing stairs cuts heart disease risk by 20%, new study suggests
With busy daily lives, we often seek the quickest routes: lifts instead of stairs, cars instead of walking. However, recent research suggests that choosing the stairs might not just be a simple physical activity but a step towards reducing the risk of heart disease.
Muscles such as the glutes, quads, hamstring and calves are activated and cardiovascular health improves...
A Step Above the Rest
A study from Tulane University, published in the journal Atherosclerosis, has brought to light the remarkable benefits of climbing at least 50 stairs—roughly equivalent to five flights—each day. The research indicates that this simple activity could slash the risk of heart disease by a noteworthy 20%
Dr. Lu Qi, a professor at Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, emphasised, “Short bursts of high-intensity stair climbing are a time-efficient way to improve cardiorespiratory fitness and lipid profile, especially among those unable to achieve the current physical activity recommendations”.
The Heart of the Matter
Cardiovascular diseases, including Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), coronary artery disease, and strokes, stand as the predominant causes of morbidity and mortality globally.
The research utilised data from the UK Biobank, encompassing information from over 450,000 adults, and analysed participants based on various factors, including their family history of cardiovascular disease, genetic risk factors, and established risk factors.
More Than Just Cardio
Dr. Nicolas Berger, a senior lecturer in sport and exercise at England’s Teesside University, highlighted that stair climbing activates numerous muscles, such as the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves, and demands balance and gross motor skills.
He noted, “These short, intermittent bursts of activity have large benefits in terms of reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. They can significantly increase your heart rate and oxygen uptake and cause positive adaptations in the body”
Accessible and Effective
Stair climbing presents itself as an accessible and efficient form of exercise, offering a practical alternative to traditional forms of cardio like walking or running. It's particularly appealing due to its accessibility for most people in their homes or outdoors.
The simplicity and accessibility of walking upstairs makes it not just an exercise but a practical embodiment of how effortless, and almost unnoticeable, steps can lead to substantial, life-altering benefits. It’s not about the monumental leaps, but the consistent, upward climb that carves the path to a healthier heart and a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases.
In the pursuit of wellness, let’s step up, quite literally, and embrace the simple, yet profound, acts of care towards our own well-being, turning every staircase into a personal pathway towards a heart-healthy future.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How many stairs do I need to climb daily to see health benefits?
Climbing at least 50 stairs, or about five flights, each day can potentially reduce the risk of heart disease by 20%
2. Why is stair climbing considered beneficial for heart health?
Stair climbing involves short, high-intensity bursts of activity, which can significantly increase heart rate and oxygen uptake, promoting cardiovascular health.
3. Can stair climbing benefit individuals who are already at risk for cardiovascular disease?
Yes, the study suggests that the increased risk of heart disease in more susceptible individuals could be “effectively offset” by climbing more stairs daily.
4. Is stair climbing beneficial only for cardiovascular health?
While it significantly benefits cardiovascular health, stair climbing also activates various muscles, aiding in overall physical fitness and muscle tone.
5. Can I incorporate stair climbing into my existing workout routine?
Absolutely! Stair climbing can be a great addition to your workout routine, providing a quick and effective cardiovascular exercise.
This article is for general information only and is not intended to treat or diagnose medical conditions. If in doubt please check with your GP first.