Although not everyone enjoys a fit and healthy lifestyle, it is available for everyone who decides to make it a priority. There are many reasons to start or maintain an active lifestyle – weight loss, heart health, strength, and personal achievement, to name a few.
Believe it or not, there are several ways you can live an active lifestyle without forking out serious cash for a gym membership or begrudgingly walking long distances.
Running stairs is one of them. Yes, it can be that simple; running up and down the stairs of a building.
What You Didn’t Know About Running Stairs
Running stairs is categorized as a medium to high intensity cardiovascular exercise with numerous health benefits. Climbing and descending stairs leads to:
- Significant heart rate increases
- Muscle stretching and flexing
- Body burning more calories
- Boosted metabolism processes
- Tendon strengthening
- Weight loss
Running Stairs for Weight Loss
The truth is, it can be hard to find effective weight loss strategies that do not involve hitting the gym on a daily basis. Now, we aren’t bashing the gym, but we know it’s not for everyone.
Some people prefer to work out in solitude or don’t want to pay for a membership. No matter your reason for skipping the gym, we’re sure you can find some stairs to ramp up your workout routine.
Perhaps you live or work in a 5-story building - that’s a fitness gold mine. There is no reason to complain about those extra pounds if you haven’t tried climbing and descending those stairs for exercise.
As a moderate to high intensity activity, you’ll need to run in high intensity, short stints for the best results.
Your body uses more oxygen as you run up and down, meaning your heart rate gets boosted and the muscles are subjected to working extra harder, and in a good way.
The basis of weight loss is in the number of calories you can burn over a given period of time. Instead of complaining about the non-functional elevator, take the stairs regularly and find out how beneficial that can turn out to be.
Running Stairs For a Healthy Heart and a Disease-Free YOU
Running stairs sets the stage for a healthy, well-functioning heart and lungs, and has been proven to reduce the risks of high blood pressure and the lethal Type 2 diabetes.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of a moderate intensity workout 5 days a week to achieve full health and fitness benefit. With a good plan, all that can be achieved through running up and down stairs.
Running Stairs for Muscle Building
By running or walking up the stairs, you are building both your hamstring and calf muscles. When you take two or three stairs at a time, you’re increasing the intensity of your leg workout as well as engaging your abdominal muscles since you have to lift your legs higher than usual.
Similarly, going down the stairs helps your quadriceps and hip flexors, as you’re in control of your motion.
Stadium Stomp shares that running down the stairs has more significant impact than going up, therefore, it is suggested that you make your running intervals shorter.
Alternatively, you can transition from walking to running in-between breaths.
Running Stairs for Shaping your Thighs and Butts
Throughout the running process, your butt and thigh muscles will be actively engaged, thus making them highly active and strong. This includes hips, glutes, and quads, which make up for a more stable you.
Choosing stairs over the elevator after a long day in the office is a highly beneficial, healthy exercise that will engage muscles that are otherwise inactive for most of the day.
Other than the thighs, hips, and butt, your neck, spine, and lower back muscles become flexible as well, taking your overall fitness to the next level.
How to Get the Full Benefits of Running Stairs
According to one Dr. Cedric Bryant of the American Council of Exercise, running stairs helps burn more calories compared to jogging and moderate cycling.
However, to get the most out of your running, you’ll need to do it right by following these simple steps.
• Step 1
Take the stairs up and down for at least 20 minutes of moderate to high intensity exercise per interval, three times a day. The intensity of your exercise should be determined by how much weight you want to lose over a given period.
• Step 2
Using a stopwatch, calculate the number of stairs you can clear in a minute at the beginning, and aim to advance every other time you climb. The essence of progressive workout is to beat your previous record with more ease and comfort.
Repeat the steps for at least 20 minutes, but remember to take breaks in-between; this is not a death sentence.
• Step 3
Practice what we call interval training throughout your workout. For example, alternate between high intensity and moderate running, and sometimes walk down the stairs. To achieve the best results, try out different modes at different intervals every time you set out to exercise.
Always remember that the more vigorous you work out, the more calories you’re likely to lose.
• Step 4
Involve resistance training by wearing extra clothing, or holding extra weights to improve muscle toning.
Body muscles are known to burn calories as they strengthen and repair themselves, even during rest.
Doing it anywhere, anytime, at no cost.
Nowadays there are several machines that replicate stairs, such as the step mill. Truth be told, it is not a cheap machine that every Tom, Dick and Harry can afford.
Besides, while the actual benefits are meant to be the same, the intensity of these machines cannot beat running stairs.
Stairs are available everywhere you go, and you won’t be required to pay membership fees. As if that wasn’t enough, with stairs you can exercise whenever you want, provided there is adequate lighting and minimal traffic.
You are in full control of the opening and closing time.
Tips for Running Stairs
Running stairs is a simple cardio exercise that can be done by almost everyone of good health.
We all have specific goals whenever we engage in different workout plans, but to be on the safe side, it is imperative to talk to speak to a doctor before commencing such plans.
The video linked below highlights a number of essentials in running stairs, for example, intensity variation, distance, and of course, mood for workout.
It is also important to note that health and fitness is largely dependent on what we eat. For purposes of weight loss, ensure that you burn more calories than you take in.
We are all guilty of irresponsible eating, but if we truly want to attain our objectives, sacrifices need to be made.
Eat responsibly, exercise well, and you’re sure to find fitness, health, or weight loss success.