# How does a stair machine help me to burn calories?

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Imagine you're standing on the ground floor of the Empire State Building and you start climbing the stairs. If you weigh 150 pounds, if every step raises you one foot and if you walk up one step every second, then you are performing 150 foot-pounds of work each second (or slightly more than a quarter of one horsepower). If you were to work harder - by running up four steps every second - you would be performing 600 foot-pounds of work each second - or 1.09 horsepower.

One horsepower exerted over an hour is the same as 641 calories. If you were to run the stairs at a rate of 550 foot-pounds of work each second over an hour, you would burn off 641 calories. Of course, it is hard for humans to maintain that level of effort for a whole hour. A normal person might be able to maintain a rate burning 200 or 300 calories per hour. That sounds a bit unfair. Consider that you can gain all that back by eating a single candy bar!

When you are on a stair machine, it doesn't appear you are going anywhere. Really, you are. Imagine you're climbing a long ladder but the ladder sinks into the mud as fast as you can climb. If you stopped climbing, you would sink into the mud too. So you must keep climbing. It seems you're going nowhere but in fact you're climbing at the same rate the ladder is sinking. You are doing work. The lack of movement is only an illusion. A stair machine creates that same illusion - as anyone who has used one will attest, you are doing work!