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Take the Stairs to Boost Your Cardio Regimen

Take the Stairs to Boost Your Cardio Regimen

Getting in a few flights of stairs throughout your day improves heart health.

In what some consider the ultimate test of endurance, the Empire State Building Run-Up (ESBRU) covers, from bottom to top, 86 flights of stairs—for a total of 1,576 steps. Winners do it in about 10 minutes! In the sport of tower running, it’s considered the most prestigious victory. And for the last 40 years, it’s been sponsored by Turkish Airlines—which puts a smile on Dr. Oz’s face.

Now, we don’t advocate running up and down the stairs in your 20-story office building without careful training, but a recent study from McMasters University has shown that those who work in buildings or live in apartment buildings and “vigorously climb a few flights of stairs in the morning, at lunch, and in the evening . . . are getting an effective workout."

The researchers call these short runs up and down stairs fitness “snacks.” They’re a variation of interval training (regular pace, fast pace, regular pace—which you can incorporate into almost any exercise routine) that improves your cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength. And it’s so handy; if you have a set of stairs around, you can use them to improve your health any time you like.

If you’re going to take the hike, we suggest getting some good running shoes, because going up and down stairs can be tough on ankle, knee and hip joints. Well-cushioned, supportive shoes can greatly reduce impact, and when you exercise without injury it ensures that you’ll do it more often. See you at the ESBRU?

Be sure to track your stair-climbing steps on the Sharecare app for iOS and Android.

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