Get Fit by Taking the Stairs
Do you work in a place that has both elevators and stairs? Do you live in an a multi-story apartment complex? Does your home have more than one floor? If you open your eyes, stairs are everywhere. This post explains the health benefits of ditching the elevator and taking the stairs!
Climbing a mountain, one stair at a time
About three years ago I decided to stop using the elevator at my work and take the stairs instead. I work on the 6th floor. I have included those flights of stairs in my daily workout log, and running a report this morning, I see that I have climbed 454 floors.
Doing a bit of math, that translates to about 5296 vertical feet. Looking at the list of mountain elevations, it looks like in my quest to ditch the elevator, I've climbed to the top of Mount Haramukh, 5300 feet tall, in the Mimalayas (and back down!) - see the attached photo.
I take the stairs two at a time at a decent pace (not running), so it gives me an extra little cardio workout each day, it definitely gets my heart pumping again for a few minutes.
Calories burnt from stair climbing
Looking up the calories it takes to climb stairs, I see that you burn an average of 0.17 calories per stair climbed and 0.05 per stair descended, for a total of 0.23 per stair. So for my 6 flights of stairs per day at work, I burn an extra 28 calories. That doesn't seem like much, but it's better than the 0 calories that taking the stairs uses. And my cumulative calorie count for the 454 floors is over 2000 calories. But I don't do it for the calories. I do it as a part of my commitment to being healthy.
Health benefits of taking the stairs
But wait, there's more! According to the web site StepJockey.com:
I don't know about you, but I find these benefits surprising. Especially the first one - decreases early mortality by 33%!
Take the stairs, avoid the germs
Another reason I personally don't like elevators is that they are germ incubation units. The number of bacteria present on an elevator button is almost 40 times higher than on a public toilet seat, according to new findings. Research carried out in hotels, restaurants, banks, offices and airports, showed that the level of bacteria on elevator buttons averaged 313 colony forming units (CFUs) per square centimeter, compared to 8 CFUs on the average public toilet seat. Among the common bacteria likely to be found are E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). (source: Infectioncontroltoday.com)
Well not really, but Livestrong.com cautions:
While stair climbing offers a variety of health benefits, the vigorous activity may be unsafe for people with heart conditions, as well as for those with knee, hip or ankle problems. Discuss stair climbing with your doctor in advance of any activity and lower your risk for injury by using the railing for balance. Use extreme caution when traveling downward, as your knees and ankles are subjected to stress that equals at least six times your normal body weight, according to the New York Times.com.
If I haven't convinced you yet, I offer you a little challenge. Just for one week, if presented a choice to take stairs, take them. If you're just at home, instead of asking someone else to fetch something upstairs or downstairs, get it yourself. Then ask yourself whether you feel better for doing it. Chances are you'll be like me and feel like you've done something good for yourself, which gives you a small rush. And like me, day after day, month after month, year after year you'll climb your own Mount Haramukh.