5 Reasons to Take the Stairs

March 4, 2013

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taking the stairsYou don’t need a fancy cardio machine to pump up your heart rate. In fact, you can squeeze small exercise sessions into your day simply by trading in the elevator for the stairs. Walking up three flights of stairs burns about 20 calories. Think about it: Walking just five flights of stairs can burn off that bag of pretzels you ate with your lunch. It may be one of the oldest tricks in the book, but new research confirms it can be an excellent weight loss tool when combined with a healthy diet.

It can be as good for you as a trip to the gym. New research at Oregon State University suggests small amounts of physical activity???as little as one-and two-minute increments that add up to 30 minutes a day???can be as beneficial as a longer trip to the gym. Our bodies are not built to be sitting all hours of the day, so incorporating small movements into your routine???like taking the stairs???can be extremely beneficial. The study also found that those who put in the effort to move regularly were more likely to get their 30 minutes of recommended exercise daily.

It can help you manage stress. Between presentations, deadlines, and endless emails, work can send your stress level through the roof. Think about how great you feel after an amazing workout???that feeling you can conquer anything thrown your way. Well, a walk up the stairs can produce similar feelings. A small amount of physical activity may be all you need to clear your head and tackle the remainder of your projects.

It can help you lose weight. Climbing just two flights of stairs every day could help you lose up to six pounds per year. No, taking the stairs won’t magically shed fat overnight, but it puts you in the right weight loss mindset. Long-term weight loss takes a combination of a healthy diet and behavioral changes. Stair climbing is part of the latter.

It can be faster than taking the elevator. During peak times, the elevator can be a hassle. And if you have to stop at every floor, you aren’t really saving yourself any time. When you???re in a rush the elevator can be tempting, but you may be surprised to find your legs are a more time-efficient option.

It tones your legs. When you take the stairs, you help more than just your heart. It also builds muscle by working your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. Building muscle increases your resting metabolic weight, which is how many calories you burn daily without additional physical activity. Adding definition to your legs is just the icing on the cake.

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