Climb Stairs, Live Longer

June 10, 2024 by Jesse Zucker
Climb Stairs, Live Longer

WASHINGTON — Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death and one of the best ways to prevent it is by getting regular physical activity. The WHO estimates that 25% of adults worldwide do not reach the minimum amount of physical activity needed to stay healthy.

If you’re not ready to join the gym, start by skipping the elevator and climbing the stairs, if you’re physically able to do so. A new meta-analysis presented at the European Society of Cardiology found that people who take the stairs live longer. Here, we’ll explain the latest findings, why it works and some bonus information on stair exercises.

Study Finds Stair Climbers Live Longer

To prevent cardiovascular disease, the WHO recommends that adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercise, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise, or a combination of both per week, along with two days of strength training exercise. These guidelines can seem pretty steep if you are new to exercise or currently inactive. 

Since many people fail to reach these numbers, researchers in the United Kingdom investigated whether shorter bouts of physical activity, like taking the stairs, could improve heart health and provide longevity benefits. Dr. Sophie Paddock presented a meta-analysis to the European Society of Cardiology that compiled nine studies on 480,479 participants.

The participants were from 35 to 84 years old, and 53% were women. Some had a history of heart attacks or heart disease and some did not. 

Participants who regularly climb stairs, as compared to those who do not, had:

  • A 24% reduced risk of all-cause mortality.
  • A 39% reduced risk of dying of a cardiovascular disease.
  • An overall reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

How It Might Work

The recommended amount of physical activity refers to structured exercise in which you raise your heart rate and sustain it for some time. This type of exercise helps your heart get stronger and better at pumping blood, so it doesn’t have to work as hard when you’re at rest. Aside from your heart working, you also expend energy while exercising.

Taking the stairs might only chip a few extra minutes off of your weekly goal, but it goes into a different category that also matters — energy expenditure. The concept of NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis. NEAT includes all the energy you burn outside of sleeping, eating and structured exercise. NEAT includes walking, standing, gardening, housework, and, of course, taking the stairs. The more you get up and move throughout the day, the more energy you expend.

People taking the stairs may have a higher NEAT than those who don’t. It’s not an exact science, but it’s a great way to add more movement to your day when you don’t have time to go to the gym. Even if you go to the gym regularly, you could have a low NEAT if you are mainly sedentary.

Bonus Stair Exercises

Here is some extra information on how to improve your stair climbing. There is one strength training exercise and one cardio exercise you can do in or out of the gym to practice the movement pattern and strengthen your muscles so you can start reaping those heart health benefits.

Step-Ups

Step-ups are a strength training exercise that mimics the pattern of stepping up onto a stair. They’re great for your hamstrings and glutes. You can start with a low step. If you’re at a gym, you can find a low box. Stand tall in front of it. Step onto the box with your right foot then step up with your left foot. Then, step your left foot back down and step your right foot back down. 

It sounds simple, but you can make it more challenging by stepping up to a higher surface or holding weights. 

Stair Stepper

The stair stepper (or StairClimber) is a cardio machine that looks like a never-ending, revolving flight of stairs. It’s challenging but provides a great cardio workout that strengthens your legs and glutes at the same time. Try it for five to 10 minutes to start, and work up to staying on for 20 to 30 minutes.

Climbing For a Long Life

New research shows people who take the stairs are less likely to develop cardiovascular disease or die prematurely from it or any other cause. Practice stair climbing with the step-up exercise, and then start adding more movement to your day by taking the stairs instead of the elevator if you can.

Our website content, services and products are for informational purposes only. The Well News does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have medical concerns or questions, discuss with your health care professional.

You can reach us at [email protected] and follow us on Facebook and X (formerly known as Twitter)

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

Health

A US Veteran Died at a Nursing Home, Abandoned. Hundreds of Strangers Came to Say Goodbye

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Former U.S. Marine Gerry Brooks died alone at a nursing home in Maine, abandoned and all... Read More

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Former U.S. Marine Gerry Brooks died alone at a nursing home in Maine, abandoned and all but forgotten. Then the funeral home posted a notice asking if anyone would serve as a pallbearer or simply attend his burial. Within minutes, it was... Read More

Majority of Americans Favor Forgiving Medical Debt, AP-NORC Poll Finds

NEW YORK (AP) — Janille Williams wants to buy a house someday — but first, he has to pay down... Read More

NEW YORK (AP) — Janille Williams wants to buy a house someday — but first, he has to pay down tens of thousands of dollars in medical debt. “I was hospitalized for a blood infection for three months more than ten years ago, and the bill... Read More

Oversight Hearing on Illegal E-Cigarettes Highlights Dire Need for Reform of the FDA

The Senate deserves credit for holding a recent hearing that underscored the failure of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for... Read More

The Senate deserves credit for holding a recent hearing that underscored the failure of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products to provide clear and fair regulatory pathways for smoke-free tobacco products that provide Americans with less harmful alternatives to combustible cigarettes. This hearing follows... Read More

June 17, 2024
by Anna Claire Miller
Biden Campaign Redoubling Effort to Keep Abortion Rights Front of Mind for Voters

WASHINGTON — With the second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade fast approaching, the Biden-Harris... Read More

WASHINGTON — With the second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade fast approaching, the Biden-Harris campaign is organizing volunteers to share what they’ve experienced since that ruling went into effect. Decided on June 24, 2022, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization... Read More

Drug Shortages Keep on Growing. Older, Injectable Medicines Among the Most Vulnerable

Erin Fox has tracked drug shortages for more than 20 years, and she sees no easy solutions for what has... Read More

Erin Fox has tracked drug shortages for more than 20 years, and she sees no easy solutions for what has become a record run. Total active shortages hit an all-time high of 323 in this year’s first quarter, according to the University of Utah Drug Information... Read More

Surgeon General Asks Congress to Require Warning Labels for Social Media, Like Those on Cigarettes

The U.S. surgeon general has called on Congress to require warning labels on social media platforms similar to those now mandatory... Read More

The U.S. surgeon general has called on Congress to require warning labels on social media platforms similar to those now mandatory on cigarette boxes. In a Monday opinion piece in the The New York Times, Dr. Vivek Murthy said that social media is a contributing factor in... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top