Taking the stairs is something that is more easily said than done. Sure, we could all opt to scale the seven or eight flights of stairs to our office building every morning. But why do that when we can take that time to stare at an elevator door? The fact remains that making small adjustments like taking the stairs over an escalator or drinking your coffee sans the creamer add up over time. Here are six (6) reasons why you should consider taking the stairs.
1. Stairs are convenient and they are available
When it comes to making healthy choices, convenience and availability are massive pluses. Many of us have easy access to stairs at the office, in our apartment building, or in a nearby public place. Taking the stairs is also a convenient choice because it requires no special shoes, clothing, or other equipment. Last but not least, many stair options are indoors. This means that you can take that five-minute break or 30-minute lunch workout regardless of the weather. This offers a huge advantage over most cheap and easy methods of exercise like running and biking.
2. Climbing stairs is a legitimate workout
Climbing multiple flights of stairs is no joke whether you are a 20-something or well into your golden years. Taking all of those steps works your cardiovascular system and your muscles alike. The other key advantage of using stairs for exercise is that the intensity is highly adjustable. Want to push yourself? Try taking two steps at a time and kick it into high gear. Nursing and injury or just want to get off your rear-end for a few minutes? Take it slow and steady. Stairs are an efficient workout that is appropriate for almost all bodies.
3. Sitting all day can be harmful to your health
It goes without saying that taking the stairs is not your only option when it comes to taking a break from sitting in an office chair. Yet taking the stairs remains a highly convenient option to get your blood pumping and your brain working in between long work, study, or leisure sessions. Sitting for too long has been linked to a number of health concerns including:
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar
- Higher BMI
- Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
- Increased risk of cancer
4. Steps are a different movement pattern
In our modern world, there simply aren’t all that many opportunities to move vertically. We walk on flat surfaces, jog on flat surfaces, bike on flat surfaces, etc. Taking the stairs involves less commonly used movement patterns that help us climb or descend. This is great for muscular health and overall flexibility as our muscles and joints work in different ways. For any fans of lifting weights at the gym, this could be compared to feeling particularly sore the day after you tried a new exercise. Your muscles might be strong, but they may be taxed harder by new movement patterns.
5. Stair climbing builds and strengthens your muscles
As an extension of that last point, stair climbing is an effective way to strengthen muscles from multiple muscle groups. While the legs are the primary movers, taking the stairs involves your legs, abs, arms, back, shoulders, and just about everything in between. For those of us who are new to exercising (or have been out of the game for a while), there are few alternatives that combine the efficacy, convenience, and accessibility of climbing the stairs. As an added bonus, the more lean muscle mass you put on, the more calories you will burn, even while resting.
6. Taking the stairs is a low-impact exercise option
Many of us have experienced a reduction in overall exercise selection as we age. The jog or even the hike you used to take for granted might no longer be a viable option. Using steps for exercise is a perfect way to enjoy all of the benefits we listed above without being too hard on your knees, ankles, and feet. Stair climbing is a more convenient option for many people than other low-impact exercise options like swimming or water aerobics. In fact, taking the stairs is even lower-impact than exercises like walking due to its higher efficiency.
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