Weight Loss Tip: Take the Stairs

Weight Loss TipWeight Loss Tip

Climbing the Stairs Is a Great Exercise to Help You Burn More Calories

Taking The Stairs

Taking The Stairs

Stair climbing is a unique exercise that you can easily fit into your work day and can have a beneficial impact on your health over time.  The scientific evidence shows it is everyday activities like walking and stair climbing that are associated with improved health and adherence is higher because it is less strenuous than running and easier to fit into your workday.  

I work in a moderately large hospital that has 7 active floors and four mechanical floors.  From top to bottom, that is ten flights of stairs to get to the top floor.  It seems like such a waste to take advantage of their presence and use them for exercise.  I rarely take the elevator for this purpose and average 50 flights a day.  Steps provide a quick method to burn a few extra calories throughout the day using a simple activity that many of us avoid because of the level of exertion.  So no matter if you live or work in buildings that have stairs, my weight loss tip of the day is to simply take the stairs.

If your goal is weight loss, you must burn calories to attain it.  The stairs are a simple and quick method to boost this effort.  The purpose of this article is to assist you in making a simple change to your daily life that will improve your likelihood of success.   Although a small change like this will not make a huge impact on your weight, each little change that you make along the path will add up over time.  

Physical exercise, in any form, is good for your health but do not expect miracles.  If you can take the time to walk for fifteen or twenty minutes at lunch, consider walking the stairs? Here are three reasons why walking the stairs is superior to walking the halls.  

Benefits to walking the stairs:

  1. Resting on the Stairs

    Resting on the Stairs: Dress comfortably but maybe not this.  

    Taking the stairs burns more calories.  This statement is true as long as you go up and not just the stairs.  Walking up stairs burns more calories than a brisk walking or jog.  Each floor is about 3-4 calories per floor.  If you perform this exercise for 2-3 minutes per day, the exercise will prevent about 2-pounds of weight gain per year.  

  2. Climbing stairs requires no equipment.  You can do it between meetings and before and after work.  I do one set before work, at lunch, and after work.
  3. Stairs are a great workout for lower body.  Take them on or two steps at a time while going up and slowly go down one step at a time.  Your quadriceps, hamstrings, and buttock muscles will ache the first time you do this.  You will not need to lift weights in the gym after this little workout.  Plain and simple this is perfect for just about every part of your body, but take it slow because this is serious exercise.  Start walking just a few flights and then work your way up to 50 flights of stairs a day.  
  4. Stairs climbing is a good form of cardiovascular exercise.  Just like with running, you can develop endorphins to make you feel good.  It will get you heart pumping and you lungs breathing.  
  5. Taking the stairs works your core.  This exercise will work both the back and front core muscles so if you hate abdominal and low back workouts, avoiding the elevator is the right choice for you.  Because you have to move your body to accommodate your posture for the angle of the stairs when walking up and down, you will work your core a lot.  The first week I did this, I had a little back soreness, and my upper abdominals were a little sore, but now, I have less back pain overall.  
  6. The stairwell can be your gym.  Make it a circuit training event and place an exercise on each floor.  Crunches, push up, jumping jacks, bicep curls, squats, etc.  Mixing it up will keep you interested.  You will be shocked at a one uses the stairwell.  
  7. Stair climbing is like a cardio and resistance training rolled into one.  Because you are working against gravity and using your weight, it is a vigorous form of exercise that is also low impact.  It is an efficient workout that delivers a lot of benefits for the effort placed.   If you want to increase the intensity, take two stairs at a time.  
  8. Make up for the doughnut you ate.  Well, you can never compensate for a dietary sin with exercise, but a simple 30-minute workout on the stairs is about 350 calories burned which are about the calorie cost of a doughnut.
  9. Walking down the stairs is great for your calves.  You will burn about one calorie per floor.  Sure, walking down the steps burns fewer stair calories, but it is still worth not taking the elevator because you tone different muscles such as your calves.  Be careful on the way down and only take one step at a time.  
  10. Stairwell walking is good for your health.  It will give you time away from your desk for stress reduction, and because it is weight bearing, it is not only good for you heart and conditioning, it also will lead to stronger joints and muscles.


Weight Loss Tip

Weight Loss Tip: Just Take the Stairs

Warning: Walking and jogging up stairs is strenuous exercise.  Start slow and work up the pace slowly.  If you are tired or lightheaded, slow down and take a break.  Never run down the stairs.

Why are you waiting?  Most of us go out of our way to avoid stairs, but do you self a favor and avoid the Stairmaster and just you the stairs at work.  It is cheaper than a gym membership, and you can use the time after work for family and hobbies.  

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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