When you return home from work this evening, ditch the elevator and climb up the stairs to your apartment. Better still, put down your bag and go up and down a few times before finally entering your home.
Studies have established that stair-climbing helps burn more calories per minute than jogging. A 54-kg person walking upstairs for 30 minutes uses up 220 calories, compared to only 190 calories burned during 30 minutes of high-impact aerobics.
Researchers in Canada found that stair-climbing is twice as strenuous as brisk walking and weight-lifting. Moreover, one attains “peak exertion” much sooner while climbing stairs than walking, which is why most people huff and puff when climbing up.
Stair-climbing is particularly useful for those aiming for a slimmer bottom half as multiple muscles in the lower body – including quadriceps, calves, glutes, hips and hamstrings – are used with each step you take. The leg bones also become stronger and denser as they bear the body’s weight while going against gravity.
This is not all. Stair-climbing reduces blood sugar levels and improves lung capacity and heart health. Doctors say stair-climbing for just 10 minutes, thrice a day can make your heart much stronger, enabling it to deliver oxygen-enriched blood to your muscle fibers. This improves overall health and energy levels.
Here are few exercises that’ll make you take the stairs more seriously:
- Varied Pacing
To get the blood flowing in your legs, climb the stairs slowly while maintaining a correct posture; shoulders back and eyes looking straight. Climb up and down the stairs. Repeat this 2-3 times. Next, run up the stairs and then slowly walk down. On the descent, put most of your weight on the heels of your feet so that your glutes absorb most of the impact rather than your knees. Repeat this three times.
- Reverse Lunges
Position yourself by facing the stairs with your left foot on the second step and your right foot behind you on the floor.
a) Lift your right knee to your chest and return to the starting position.
b) Step down to the floor level with your left leg and position it behind your right, so that your right knee is directly above your ankle, as if you are doing a lunge. Now lift your left knee to the chest and return to the starting position. Do 2 sets of 12 reps each.
- Triceps Stair Dip
a) Start by sitting on the edge of the second or third step with your arms at your sides.Pressing down on your palms, lift your butt slightly above the step. Extend your legs while resting your heels on the floor.
b) Now slowly lower your butt by bending your arms at an angle of 90 degrees. Return to the starting position. Do 1 set of 10 reps each. Take a break by running up and walking down the stairs. Follow this by another set of 10 reps.
- Skater Steps
a) Stand on the floor facing the stairs. Place your left foot on the far left of the second step.
b) Follow this by bringing your right leg to the far right of the fourth step. Continue climbing by taking two steps at a time. To burn more calories, swing your arms and engage your ab muscles as you go. Once you reach the top, slowly walk down the stairs. Do 2 reps of going up and coming down.
- Mountain Climber
a) Facing the stairs, place your palms on the second step with your arms pressing into your sides. Maintain the inclined push up position with the legs extended behind you, and core engaged.
b) Raise your left knee to your left shoulder, then return your foot to the floor. Alternate legs, bringing your right knee to your right shoulder, then returning it back to the floor. This exercise needs to create a similar rhythm as if you are running. Do two sets of 6 reps each.
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