Something we all heard our whole lives (unless you were born before 1859 when the escalator was invented) (or 1845 when elevators for personal use became a thing) is to take the stairs.
Sometimes we live our lives in such a hurry that we use that as an excuse. “I don’t have time to take the stairs” or “I don’t want to get sweaty on my way to work!” Okay, if going up a flight of stairs makes you sweat THAT much, there is probably some other sort of underlying health issue you should have checked out.
There are clearly many health benefits to cardiovascular activity in general, but what is so important about stairs??
It pulls your weight against gravity!
Not only does taking the stairs raise your heart rate to a level above normal walking, but it also tones and tightens muscles that wouldn’t be activated just walking onto an elevator. Activating that heart and those muscles can aid sleep, fight stress, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, promote weight loss, and even strengthen your muscular system (tight buns 🙂 ). Physical Activity also releases endorphins which will make you feel good!
It takes 21 days to make a habit. So why not start with something as easy as taking the stairs a few flights a day!
I am not talking walking 40 flights of fire emergency stairs if you work at the top of a skyscraper. If that is your situation, consider what is available. Maybe there are employee stairs you can use going from meeting to meeting.
- It’s free! You don’t have to join or gym or drop $90 on a pair of Lycra leggings to take the stairs.
- It’s time efficient. Believe it or not, waiting in line for the elevator and having to stop every floor does take more time than just taking the stairs!
- It’s easy. You’ve been taking the stairs your whole life. Even when you were an infant and your body was the size of a single stair you still found a way to climb them.
- Taking the stairs burns three times as much energy as walking on the flat ground (even at a semi-brisk pace).
- A Harvard Study found that men who climbed 8+ flights of stairs a day had a third the mortality rate as those that sat around. That’s 22% lower than men who walked around 5000 steps per day!
It’s not really going to make a difference?
YES! Just check the numbers…
Say you’re a 165 lbs and around 5’6”-5’8” female. This puts you just above the healthy weight on a standard BMI chart. Let’s say you climb 5 flights of stairs at work when you arrive, and during your lunch break as well as one flight of stairs at the mall running errands. You would burn an extra 76.5 per day. In a year that’s 17,595 (just from workweek days). That’s equivalent to about 8.5 lbs of food (5 lbs of fat). Your BMI would fall from 25.4 to 24.6 JUST from taking a few flights of stairs a day.
Of course, this scenario has MANY assumptions, but you catch my drift.
But how do I get started?
I am all about Nike’s slogan JUST DO IT!
Whether you buy a Fitbit (not sponsored…although I wish 🙂 ) that counts stairs and you compete with your friends, or you just try to make it a healthy game competing against yourself. Either way, you win. You could even get your employer to put a sign near the elevator that has fun facts about heart health and taking the stairs. I’m sure they would save a few bucks not having to run the elevator so much anyways.
Most smartphones have a build in health app these days that can even track flights of stairs.
It’s that easy! So just do it!
If you have any questions, comments, concerns, compliments, please contact me on the contact page. Subscribe for more healthy living motivation, and go ahead and ‘Like’ away!
Look here for yesterday’s “Fitness as a Game” Post https://millennialsurvivalblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/how-to-make-fitness-a-game/
**Most of the cold hard facts in this post are courtesy of StepJockey.