Take the Stairs
We’ve all heard it: Skip the elevator and take the stairs. But does climbing up a few flights a day really make a difference?
8 FLIGHTS = LONGER LIFE
Average at least eight flights a day and you might reduce your death rate by 32 percent according to a Harvard study comparing stairclimbing men to sedentary men.
2 MINUTES = 2 POUNDS
Two minutes per day of stair climbing can keep off the one to two pounds of weight the average adult gains yearly.
10 CALORIES PER MINUTE
Stair climbing burns about 10 calories a minute, roughly twice that of fast walking—and seven times more than standing on an elevator. Sore knee joints? Try taking the stairs up and the elevator down.
11 MINUTES A DAY
Spend about 11 minutes a day climbing stairs at a “brisk but comfortable” pace to improve your cardiovascular fitness and decrease your LDL or “bad” cholesterol level, says a British study of college-age women.
To get the most out of walking up stairs, use proper posture. Keep your back straight, relax your neck and shoulders, and look forward. But glance down to check the stairs occasionally.
Place your entire foot on each step. Don’t let your heel hang off the edge of the step—this can strain your Achilles tendon.
A short time of stair climbing does more for your body than walking or running because it forces your body to work against gravity.
FIRM IT UP
Among the payoffs of stair climbing: firmer glutes (buttocks), stronger quadriceps (front of the thighs), and increased bone density.
Want to make more positive health changes? See Change 1 Thing.