Updated: Jan 16
Did you know there is an easy, quick way to build strength in your legs and to improve cardiovascular health?
Stairs are free and easy to use, and you may not even need to leave your home. Research shows that climbing stairs helps to strengthen and tone leg muscles and improves blood flow, resulting in a healthier heart and body. Climbing stairs also can help to improve your balance and boost your cardiovascular health.
Good balance is a must for any stair activity. Use a railing if your balance is off or if you feel unsteady. Ideally, you should be able to balance on one foot for 30 seconds without holding onto something to safely perform the following stair climbing exercises.
A simple stroll up and down the steps gives you a workout but there are many other ways to use the stairs to give yourself a health boost!
Other ways to use the stairs:
Repeated stair climbing: Go up and down the stairs for 3 minutes after a meal and this may help to control blood sugar! Too easy? Increase your time to 5 minutes each time.
Step ups: Stand in front of the bottom step and step up onto the bottom step with your right foot entirely on the step and then place your left foot completely on the bottom step. Then reverse the process by stepping back to the floor with your left and then your right. Continue doing that until you reach your goal number of repetitions such as 15. Then repeat on the other foot. Too easy? Hold a dumbbell or weighted object in the opposite hand of the stepping leg.
Side-step ups: Stand at the bottom of the stairs with your feet parallel or sideways to the stairs with the right side of your body closest to the stairs. Step the right foot completely up onto the first step and straighten your knee and then slowly bend your right knee and lower your left
foot back to the floor. Continue until you reach your goal repetitions and then repeat on the other side. Too easy? Hold a weighted object or dumbbell in the opposite hand as the stepping leg.
When to seek help
If you have trouble with your balance and are prone to falling or have weakness, stiffness or pain in your feet, ankles, knees or hips, any kind of stair climbing may not be right for you. The same holds true if you have an inflammatory condition like arthritis, bursitis or degenerative joint disease. If you have these issues, you should check with a physical therapist or your primary care physician before initiating a stair climbing regimen.
5 health benefits of using the stairs for exercise
It engages multiple muscles.
It improves balance.
It’s an efficient, low-impact cardio workout.
It boosts fitness.
It lowers mortality risk.