Who says you need to belong to a fancy gym or health club to get into shape? All you need is a flight of stairs and the motivation to start climbing. You may already have a flight of stairs in your home to go up and down, but if you don’t, head to a local shopping center, hospital or other building that has stairs you can climb – or use the bleachers at a local school track or stadium.
The Benefits of Stair Climbing for Exercise
Stair climbing for exercise has multiple benefits. It’s a good cardiovascular workout and one that tones and tightens the thigh and buttocks muscles. It also helps with coordination and is a good fat-burner. You can burn 300 calories in 30 minutes of stair climbing without ever setting foot in a gym. Climbing stairs is a good way to add variety to a cardiovascular routine that’s grown stale, and it’s a convenient way to get a workout when you’re on vacation and your hotel doesn’t have an exercise club. Simply hit the stairwell and start climbing.
Start by going up and down the stairs for 10 minutes at a moderate pace, and gradually build up the intensity until you climb up and down for 30 minutes without resting. You’ll get a fat-burning, cardiovascular workout by going up and down the stairs for 30 minutes at a steady pace, but there are ways to add more challenge and variety to a stair climbing workout – and take it to a whole new level. Be forewarned, you only want to do these after several weeks of stair climbing, when you’re ready for more of a challenge.
Stair Climbing for Exercise: Adding New Challenges
Instead of climbing the stairs one at a time, take two stairs at a time. Going up the stairs two steps at a time burns more calories and forces your thighs to work harder. It’s challenging to do for long periods of time, so alternate it by climbing the stairs one at a time with taking double steps. Gradually increase the ratio of double steps you do. You’ll build lower body strength rapidly doing this.
Run up the stairs, and walk back down slowly. Start by doing this for only 30 seconds and gradually work your way up to longer intervals of running up the stairs. This is a brutal workout, but one that burns fat and chisels enviable thigh muscles.
Add a weight vest. Buy a weight vest at your local sporting goods store, and wear it when you climb stairs for exercise. These vests have pockets that you can use to hold small weights to make stair climbing more challenging. Start out with no weights, and gradually work your way up to heavier ones.
Stair Climbing is an Effective Workout
These additional challenges will really boost the calorie-burning and strengthening benefits of stair climbing for exercise. Don’t forget to start each stair climbing workout with a warm-up and a thorough stretch when you’ve finished. Your lower body gets quite a workout when you climb stairs because you’re lifting your body weight against gravity. Use stair climbing as a gym-free way to strengthen and burn fat or to add variety to your existing workout. It works!