Whether you’re trying to lose weight, tone up or decrease body fat, incorporating stairs into your exercise regimen can be beneficial. Because stairs are commonly found in residential homes and commercial buildings, they make an easily accessible method for working out. You can lose 10 pounds while using the stairs with simple methods of burning calories and toning muscles within the legs and back. Keep in mind that you burn more calories going up stairs than you do coming down, making high-rise buildings an ideal “workout facility.”
Perhaps the easiest adjustment to make when it comes to utilizing stairs as a workout method would be to climb the stairs instead of riding the elevator or escalator during your everyday activities, such as work, school or shopping. Climb the stairs to your classroom or office and when you must run errands during the day, take the stairs. Commit to climbing the stairs for half of your lunch break, if time permits. While it may seem like a waste of time to climb a few stairs here and there, you will be surprised at how quickly a small change will add up. Approximately 10 calories are burned for every minute that you climb stairs, based off of an individual that weighs 150 pounds.
While it is a good decision to take stairs rather than the elevator when you’re going somewhere, you can use this same method as an actual workout. To utilize the stairs as a form of exercise, no special clothing, shoes or equipment is necessary. To prevent slippage, resulting in a fall, it is important to wear shoes with non-skid soles. Starting at the bottom of the stairs, climb to the top. Turn around and walk down. Turn around and repeat the exercise. For maximum results, climb stairs for at least 30 minutes. Approximately 300 calories will be burned during this 30 minute time frame.
Once you’re comfortable with the basics of climbing stairs as a form of exercise, challenge yourself to a more advanced exercise: stair sprinting. Ideally, a stairwell with multiple flights, such as those found in schools or high rises, will be the most beneficial for this exercise. However, please note that a simple flight of stairs will work, too. Starting on the lowest level, at the bottom of the stairs, run up the flight of stairs. If more than one flight of stairs is present, run up as many flights as you can. Keep in mind that what goes up must come down, so don’t push yourself too hard. Walk back down the stairs, to arrive at your starting point. To prevent knee or leg injury, never run down a flight of stairs. Repeat this exercise for at least 30 minutes, working your way up to one hour.
Two to three times a week, incorporate resistance training into your workout. This can easily be achieved by wearing a weighted vest or strapping angle weights to your ankles. If neither of these are available and you’re comfortable and stable while climbing, use hand dumbbells as you run the stairs.
Continue to challenge yourself as your stamina increases. Decrease the amount of time you rest between sets, do more repetitions, climb more flights and increase the amount of resistance you’re able to carry.