Some fitness experts will tell you that even the smallest of changes in your lifestyle can help make you fitter, but how true is that? If we start making little adaptations, will it actually have an impact on our health and wellbeing? One of the most popular ‘little changes’ is to take the stairs instead of the elevator – but can that actually make you fitter? Let’s take a look.
The health benefits of climbing stairs
The first thing to look at is whether there are actually any health benefits to climbing the stairs. Well, studies around the world have shown that there are plenty of benefits to be had just be taking the stairs. It’s believed that climbing just eight flights of stairs every day can reduce the average early mortality rate by a whopping 33%. That’s impressive, but it’s not all. If you climb the stairs for seven minutes every day, then this can half the risk of you having a heart attack over ten years. Finally, just two minutes extra of stairs each day can be all it takes to stop the dreaded middle age weight gain.
So, we know about the health benefits, but what about the fitness aspect of it? Well, studies show that you can burn more calories per minute by taking the stairs than you can by jogging. It can improve your overall cardiovascular fitness, promote weight loss, and even help build muscle. An improved fitness level can also reduce the risk of things like strokes, diabetes, and some forms of cancer. As the muscles used in your legs and backside work hard to get up and down the stairs, you can also expect muscle definition in those regions. It’s a win-win situation!
It’s easy to start
While it may not change your life in a day, week, or even a few months, there is one massive benefit to taking the stairs – it’s so easy to start. Instead of hopping in the elevator at work, you can simply make your way up the stairs. You don’t need any type of training or special equipment; most of us know how to walk up stairs! It fits well within our daily lives, without us having to get up at 5am to fit in a workout.
Little steps, big gains
Stairs enthusiasts Step Jockey have crunched some numbers to prove just how much of a difference those little steps can make. Based on an average 45-year-old woman, they added up the extra calories burned each year when she climbed up and down stairs in a 5-storey building twice a day, along with climbing the stairs in the underground once a day. Not a big change in her life, right? However, it added up to an extra 76.5 calories burned a day and 17,595 over the course of a year. This is equivalent to eight and a half days worth of food or around five pounds of fat.
So, it might seem like a small change but it’s one that can have a really big impact. The next time you’re waiting for that elevator, consider taking the stairs instead. Your body will thank you!