The Surprising Benefits of Climbing Stairs for Heart Health: Study Shows Risk Reduction
The Benefits of Climbing Stairs for Heart Health
When it comes to maintaining overall health, experts recommend walking 10,000 steps a day, a practice that can provide a number of physical and mental health benefits.
But some researchers believe there is another way to exercise that may be more effective when it comes to improving heart health.
A new study shows that climbing just five flights of stairs a day (one flight of stairs equals 10 steps) can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
According to a ten-year study of 400,000 Britons, the benefits were greater for people who completed ten or more rounds.
Climbing stairs provides a short period of high-intensity exercise, similar to jumping or aerobics.
Other examples of activities that the NHS recommends doing 75 minutes a week include running, swimming, and brisk cycling.
Researchers from Tulane University followed the health of 458,860 people in the UK for an average of 12 and a half years.
Participants were asked how many times they climbed the stairs at the start of the study and again five years later.
In the study, 39,043 people developed atherosclerosis, where arteries narrow, making it difficult for blood to flow through them.
The results, published in the journal Atherosclosis, showed that participants who climbed five flights of stairs a day had a 3% lower risk of developing atherosclerosis compared to those who did not climb stairs.
Meanwhile, volunteers who climbed at least six approaches a day had a 16% lower risk.
The researchers concluded that climbing more than five flights of stairs (about 50 steps) was associated with a lower risk of developing a disease that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
“Short, high-intensity stair climbing is a time-effective way to improve cardiorespiratory fitness… especially among those who cannot meet current physical activity recommendations,” said Dr. Lu Qi, study author.
He noted that the findings “highlight the potential benefits of stair climbing” as a measure to prevent atherosclerosis.
However, the study was observational and does not mean that climbing stairs reduced participants’ risk of cardiovascular disease.
But the findings add to a large body of evidence showing that even simple exercise can help improve health.
Experts say climbing stairs not only improves heart health but also burns twice as many calories as walking and strengthens your lungs and muscles.
Source: Daily Mail