Stair Climbing Exercise is a Great Way to Maintain Your Weight and Stay Fit!
Maybe you can’t afford to join a gym, or you hate fighting the crowds lining up for the cardio equipment. Yet you still want a good workout that burns calories and helps you lose or maintain weight. Stair climbing exercise will give you all the benefits of running and other cardio workouts and more, in less time!
All you need to make stair climbing into a great cardio workout is a well-ventilated flight of stairs and a good pair of cross trainers, and you’re ready to go. Depending on where you live, you can do your stair-climbing workout indoors in any tall building, or outside; some cities such as San Francisco have wonderful outdoor staircases in lovely garden settings. Others prefer to climb the stadium steps at high school or college tracks.
WHY STAIR CLIMBING IS SUCH A GREAT WORKOUT
Stair climbing is a low-impact alternative to running that will work out your buttocks and thighs as well as getting your heart and lungs pumping. Cedric Bryant, chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise, says “Stair climbing will give you a little more bang for your buck because of the vertical component.” Compared to jogging or cycling at a moderate pace, stair climbing is more challenging, allowing you to burn more calories in the same amount of time, up to 300 in just 30 minutes, or you can accumulate 30 minutes of climbing by breaking it up into two or three 10-15 minute sessions.
Hint: If you run the stairs rather than walk, it intensifies both the caloric burn and the cardiovascular benefits. And the impact on your knees and feet is relatively low, with pressure of two times your body weight as opposed to three or four times when running.
STAIR CLIMBING TIPS
As with starting any new fitness program, start with just ten minutes or so of stair climbing each workout, and add time as you grow stronger. Here are some other tips to make stair climbing safer and more enjoyable:
STAIR CLIMBING TIP #1
Wear the right shoes. Wear shoes with good support, such as crossing training shoes, not running shoes that don’t provide lateral support.
STAIR CLIMBING TIP #2
Be picky. Pick a staircase or stairwell that is well ventilated with plenty of light in a building or park where you feel safe.
STAIR CLIMBING TIP #3
Drink up. Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water before and after your workout.
STAIR CLIMBING TIP #4
Take it easy. Climbing stairs is actually harder on your knees coming down than it is climbing up, so if you’re working out indoors you may opt to take the elevator on the way down, especially when you’re just beginning. Or slow down when descending, particularly if you are running the stairs.
STAIR CLIMBING TIP #5
Switch it up. Don’t climb stairs every day as you could cause an overuse injury. Alternate with other forms of cardio, practice yoga or lift weights on alternate days.
STAIR CLIMBING TIP #6
Commit to it. Always lean forward a bit from the hips and keep your back straight when climbing stairs, and don’t climb with your heels hanging off the edge of the step as this can stress your Achilles tendon. Place your whole foot on each step.
STAIR CLIMBING TIP #7
Buddy up. Don’t climb by yourself in a totally isolated building. Climbing with a buddy is much safer and makes the time pass more quickly. Spouses who may not otherwise exercise together find stair climbing to be an enjoyable workout for both parties
Article Written By: Julie Mitchell; Julie is an accomplished writer from San Francisco who loves ballet, yoga, walking, cooking and reading. Her experience as a wife and mother of two lend to her articles and blogs for DivaVillage.com and VillageMAMA.com in the areas of wellness, fitness, beauty, parenting and food.