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Stair Climbing – an Easy Way to Exercise?

stairs.jpgPhoto by twenty_questions

Anyone who has ever climbed to the top of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris or the Statue of Liberty in New York will tell you that stair climbing is not an easy exercise but you have to admit it’s something that you can easily fit into your everyday life.

Stairs are everywhere and you may as well make use of them.

In fact, keen exercisers in cities as far apart as Boston and San Francisco are starting to use skyscraper stair-climbs as their workout of choice – a 15 minute stair climb offers the same workout as 30 minutes running on flat ground and with less impact.

Even those of us without access to a nearby skyscraper can benefit from the stairs at the office, in the home or at the shopping mall. Every flight you climb counts – a Harvard University study found that men who climbed an average of at least 8 flights a day had a 33% lower mortality rate than men who were sedentary. And research in Northern Ireland has also shown that walking upstairs for just 6 minutes a day will make you 10 to 15 percent fitter.

Climbing stairs will firm your butt, your legs and your stomach – one reason why stair climbing machines at the gym are becoming more popular and why they are taking off as home exercise equipment. Just look at the range of stair climbers and steppers you can buy these days. They take up less room than a treadmill and don’t sound like a jet engine taking off in your basement or spare room – well worth considering if you are looking for home equipment.

But even if you don’t have a gym membership or space for a stair climber at home, you can integrate stair climbing into your day. Just remember when you see a sign for the elevator to look for the stairs instead and get firm and fit without taking up your precious free time.

And if you are looking for a new home don’t look at stairs as a disadvantage – that top floor appartment may be just what you need :)

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77 Responses to “Stair Climbing – an Easy Way to Exercise?”

  1. Sharon on January 8th, 2009

    What is the proper way to climb stairs? I find that my knees start to hurt if I do a lot of flights in one day. I love the exercise and strength benefits and climb the stairs at my office. I don’t wear high heels, but sometimes the stairs do a number on my knees.

  2. Jan on January 8th, 2009

    Hi Sharon

    I’m not sure there is a right way to do it – though there probably is – I just didn’t hear about it.

    If you have a weakness in one area it’s probably best to work on strengthening that area before doing exercises which make it worse.

    Here’s a series of videos on strengthening your knees:-

    http://www.ehow.com/video_2359475_information-knee-injuries-exercise.html

    Hope that helps

    Jan

  3. joel on July 22nd, 2009

    Will stair climbing stretches our knee ligaments and cause knee problems in the old age due to too much wear and tear? i climb 16 – 20 stories a day 4 stories each time and would like to know. any feedback would be appreciated.

  4. Jan on July 22nd, 2009

    It doesn’t sound excessive Joel (I am up and down 2 flights of stairs in my home at least that often just in the natural course of the day and never thought about it as damaging just getting the house clean and tidy etc) but every one reacts differently to exercise so it’s hard to say any long term effects. Hips wear out, knees wear out just with daily wear and tear anyway in many older people. It depends what your body is susceptible to. The best course of action I believe is to vary your activity as much as possible so that you don’t continually put the same stress on the same joints and ligaments all the time.

  5. andy on July 31st, 2009

    Hi, i only have 13 steps in my house, I was wondering if it would be “easier” to just go up say, 4 stairs and back down and up again..Rather than go all the way up and and turn around and so on. Any advice would be appreciated.

  6. Jan on August 2nd, 2009

    I think I would find 4 steps more difficult to keep track of and I think more dangerous because it’s easy to lose track of where you are when you can’t get any rhythm going. If you’re not keen on using a whole flight at a time them buy something like a Reebok step that you can just step on and off or use the bottom step of your stairs only.

    Anyway what’s with the “easier”? This is supposed to be work and effort so that you get fitter :)

  7. Louis Gorenflo on August 25th, 2009

    Question: Harvard University Men’s Health states that 8 flights of stairs is a very good exercise. I have tried to find out how many steps are in this flight of stairs? We have 28 stairs in 4 …..what I call flights of stairs…7 per flight….. and I am wondering if this qualifies if I do the 28 steps 8 times a day?

    Anyone got any ideas?

    Thanks, Louis

  8. Jan on August 26th, 2009

    I think of about 12 to 13 steps as being a flight – so if you have 4 flights of 7 steps that’s about 2 flights I would think. It’s really the distance between floors of a building but it varies because of how high your ceilings are! I live in an old house so there are about 20 steps between the ground and the first floor because of the high ceilings. There are about 13 steps in modern buildings however.

    Jan

  9. tom on November 30th, 2009

    Our flight of stairs to the basement at home has 11 risers, but there’s an I-beam that holds up the house that I have to duck under when using them. That wasn’t satisfactory so I decided to stay at the bottom at just step up one riser, then back down, repeating as many times as I wanted then switching feet and stepping up with the other foot.

    I realized that over time I’d wear out the carpet on that bottom step so I built myself a mock stair step – a sturdy stool 8″ tall and carpeted like the stairs.

    That’s what I’ve been using for the past six months and it works great. I break my exercise into five segments. The first is 3.5 minutes stepping up with the left foot followed by 3.5 min with the right. Next segment is 3 min each, then 2.5 min each, and the last two are two min each. That’s 26 min total. My pace is 26 steps per minute, so that comes to 676 steps, or the equivalent of 45 flights of stairs in a commercial building at 15 steps per flight.

    After starting out with this stair stepping program it didn’t take long before I found I couldn’t keep my heart rate up to my target anymore – was was getting in too good a shape, so I added a twist. I have a couple of 3 lb dumbells so now I pump them as I step. I do a one-arm curl with each step. That adds enough effort to bring my heart rate up to my target (134 bpm). It also gives me 676 curls with each arm everyday and I’ve ended up with some biceps I hadn’t planned on.

    BTW, I’m 62. I retired six years ago and am in better shape now than any time since basic training almost 45 years ago.

  10. Joe on December 8th, 2009

    Thanks for the stair climbing article. You’re absolutely right, it’s a great way to stay in shape.

    For those concerned about the knees, I live in a 30 story apartment and climb the building 4 to 5 times per workout, 3 times per week (roughly 5400 stairs weekly). I’m 46 years old and have maintained this routine for almost 3 years with absolutely no hint of knee problems.

    I have to admit I’m hooked. When I moved last January one of my primary criteria for a new place to live was to find a tall enough building!

  11. B.C. Cakes on December 14th, 2009

    By Jove! I work on the sixth floor of a building. I’m SO going to start taking the stairs from the parking garage.

  12. Jenny on January 6th, 2010

    I am looking for something that I can do during the winter (I do not want to walk outside in the cold and snow). I have a single step that I got from a yard sale…I do not have the extensions that you put under it to make it taller though. Will this be good enough for me to use? Also, how long do I need to exercise each day and how many times a week?

  13. Jan on January 7th, 2010

    A single step will be fine to start you off on a good footing in 2010. Your program should depend on your current level of fitness. I suggest that you start off at a level you feel comfortable with (even if that is just a few minutes at a time) and gradually increase it. A heart rate monitor is a good idea to assess how hard you are working.

  14. Jenny on January 8th, 2010

    Do you think 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week is a good workout? I have worked out at the gym before but its been about a year. I really need to lose about 50 pounds.

  15. Jan on January 9th, 2010

    Yes, that’s a good workout depending on the intensity. But it would also be good to vary the type of exercise you do if you can manage it.

    If you are exercising to help with weight loss then you need to look at your diet. It is much more difficult to lose weight if you only work on exercise and not on food intake.

    You have to run more than a marathon to lose a pound of fat, yet eating 500 calories less than you need each day for a week and you’ll lose that pound.

    I know which I would find easier – your results may vary :)

  16. Margaret on January 11th, 2010

    I would like to know how many calories do you burn doing stairs in a building of seven floors? I do the treadmill 30 to 45 min. each week day but would like to add more workouts by doing stairs. I have a bad knee so I take it slowly when I do the stairs.
    Your help will be deeply appreciated.
    I’m also on Spark People and track my workouts and food intake everyday but found none on stair climbing.

  17. Jan on January 11th, 2010

    Margaret, according to The Diet Bible stair climbing uses 9 calories per minute for a person weighing 147lb. If your weight is a lot different you can calculate it with 3.7 calories per pound per hour. If you are going slowly you would probably reduce this – so if an average person would walk up the stairs twice as fast as you, divide the number of calories burned in half.

  18. Lisa on January 12th, 2010

    Thanks for this great information – we are starting a stair climbing club at work and I want to know if it is best to only climb stairs? One of my co-workers suggested that it would really wear out your knees climbing 5 flights of stairs but she said we should take the elevator back down to prevent knee problems. Please let me know your thoughts?

  19. Jan on January 12th, 2010

    Unless you have knee problems I don’t think 5 flights is excessive (even daily) but I must admit I like to vary my exercise so that there is no strain on any one joint or muscle. I never heard of anyone having a problem going downstairs. I would have thought going up would be more of a strain if anything. But five flights is not that much anyway. You have to learn to watch out for signs of strain and stop an exercise if it is adversely affecting your body in any way. Never follow a program without thought or to excess. Do what is right for you personally no matter what the program says and rest if anything is starting to hurt.

  20. Sel├žuk Surucu on January 26th, 2010

    Climbing upstairs is a perfect exercise but I think going downstairs can be harmful (or at lease a waste of time).

    What I do is to use the elevator to go down and restart climbing as soon as possible. And I close my stopwatch in the elevator.

  21. Jenny on April 5th, 2010

    I am walking about 7-8 miles a week on the treadmill. For weight-loss would it make a difference if I walked 1 mile a day which takes about 20 minutes versus 1.5 – 1.75 miles which is about 30-35 minutes to equal my 7-8 miles?

  22. Jenny on April 5th, 2010

    OOPS i forgot to say that the 1.5-1.75 miles would be within a 4 day period of time…..

  23. Jan on April 5th, 2010

    Sorry Jenny, I’m not clear about what you’re asking me to calculate here even if math were my favorite subject (which it isn’t).

    So I’ll just say, as a general principle, don’t be mean with your exercise. Give it all you can (without going dangerously overboard) and tackle it with as much enthusiasm as you can rather than worrying about whether one regime is better than another.

    If you don’t like an exercise so much that you are doing the bare minimum, find another you do like – dancing or ice skating or something you can really get into.

    Walking on the other hand is great for weight loss but you need to walk for about 30 miles to lose a pound of fat. It’s up to you how much you lose from exercise and how much from eating less.

    Jan

  24. Jenny on April 5th, 2010

    OK, you answered my question. I was wondering if its better to walk for 30 mins at a time rather than 20 mins to lose weight. thanks

  25. Jan on April 5th, 2010

    Hi Jenny

    If you’d only made it nice and simple for me like that LOL

    If you can do 30 minutes a day, that is great and every calorie helps.

    One thing you can do is to alternate moderate walking and fast walking in one minute intervals after a 5 minute warm up period. That really gets things moving and means that you burn more calories in your 30 minutes if that is all the time you have.

  26. Jenny on April 13th, 2010

    Sorry…I guess I wasn’t thinking clearly when I wrote that..LOL. Thank you for the information. :)

  27. Brett McWilliams on June 7th, 2010

    What about people with back problems? Has anyone had pain from stairs due to back or spine problems?

  28. Jan on June 7th, 2010

    Stair climbing is probably not the best exercise if you have back problems. You can probably tell already which exercises make your back hurt more if you are self aware and watch the effect of any movement but always consult a professional before you take on any kind of exercise if there is any doubt about your health. Why risk making things worse?

    Jan

  29. Carl R. Hall on August 16th, 2010

    I’m a75 years of age male and had a pinched nerve in the spine last year which caused severe pain.

    However, I need to lose a lot of waist fat. If climbing stairs is not the ideal for persons with back problems, then what is the best exercise. I’m told running is also out.

    Carl

  30. Jan on August 17th, 2010

    Best consult a medical practitioner Carl about an fitness or exercise plan as I can’t prescribe one for you without knowing your exact condition

  31. Makhosi on September 1st, 2010

    Hey Im climbing steps from Lowerbasement to 16th floor x3 in the morning and at least 1 set of this in the evening after work. Is it effective for losing body weight including stomach fat.

    Please help

  32. Jan on September 1st, 2010

    Hey Makhosi – it should help but you will only lose weight by stair climbing if it means you are now using more energy than you are eating. Regulating food intake is the best way to lose weight. Exercise just helps – as well as keeping you healthy and feeling positive so it is worth it on that score anyway

    Jan

  33. Sue on September 6th, 2010

    Hi Jan
    I am in my mid twenties, 5 feet tall, weighing 62 kilograms. What is the ideal weight for me? I have just started a stair climbing workout on a step which is around twelve and a half inches high. I currently manage to climb up and down the step around sixty times per three minutes. I do the stair climbing for three minutes and then walk around leasurely for two minutes, and I repeat this five times. How many calories might I be burning approximately? Also, what is the best way to do it? Is it right foot up, left up, right down, left down? Or is it right foot up, left up, left down, right down? Is this enough for a workout?
    Regards

  34. Rich on September 21st, 2010

    Hello

    I am 24 and havent been into exercising but recently opted for stairs instead f the elevator or lift. the first two flights are alright but the next two make my knees hurt and am gasping for breath. Its normal, right??

    Do reply :)

    Thanks

  35. Jan on September 21st, 2010

    You should work up to exercise from whatever level you are starting. I don’t think anything that makes you hurt is a good idea. Try getting fit with walking first and build up your fitness gradually that way. Then try the stair exercise again. It may be that you have vulnerable knee joints and this is not the best exercise for you even if you are fit.

    Jan

  36. Jan on September 21st, 2010

    Oh Sue, too much math in all this. Trying to lose weight by counting the calories you use in exercise is not a good idea. For one thing you have to run more than a marathon to lose a pound of fat and for another it is demotivating to find you have worked out for 10 minutes and only worked up an appetite. Exercise for the sake of your health and because it will burn a few calories – and every little helps. But you need to change your eating habits to lose weight.

    In any case, your ideal weight is the weight where you feel and look your best and it depends on your body shape and frame so I can’t say what your ideal weight would be.

    Unless you are an athlete in training, don’t obsess with doing every exercise perfectly. Do what feels good and is fun and you’re much more likely to keep it up.

    Jan

  37. Sue on October 2nd, 2010

    thank you so much Jan for motivating me :)
    i was really getting too much into this “number of calories burnt” thing. but i guess ill go on now for my own sake and not the sake of the calories i need to burn
    thank you once again
    regards

  38. swasal on October 12th, 2010

    Hi Jan,
    Reading all these comments is motivating m to go for this exercise. I am really a lazy person regarding exercises, but now I am putting on weight around my belly. I think I need to have some exercise for my legs as they hurt. Does the exercise include going up & coming down the stairs…I read that climbing down stresses the knees. Please answer.
    Thanks

  39. Jan on October 12th, 2010

    Swasal,

    If your legs hurt get them checked out before you start any exercise. If you have any problems start with more gentle exercise first such as walking because stair climbing is quite strenuous and an be tough on knees.

    Jan

  40. Del on October 17th, 2010

    Question: When we say 8 flights, are we talking about doing it all at once or doing the 8 flights during the of course of a day.

  41. Jan on October 17th, 2010

    If you want to get fit you’ll have to get a little out of breath. If one flight is enough to do that, take one flight at a time – eight times during the day. It depends how fit you are now whether eight flights in one go is too much or not but you can certainly build up to doing them all at once. Get your health checked out first though.

    Jan

  42. Travis on October 27th, 2010

    You say in your article that stair climbing works the stomach muscles? Can you please explain how it does and to what affect? I started stair climbing in July and I’ve worked myself up to 15 repetitions of 93 stairs (about 5-6 flights of stairs). So I do one down, one up 15 times and for half of these reps I do pushups or triceps dips. It takes me about 32-35 minutes to complete and then I walk a cool down period of 10 minutes. I’ve been feeling like I have not been doing enough for my mid section since I step for the lower section and push or strength exercise the chest and arms. After reading this article I’m wondering if I am getting a mid section workout? Can you explain?

  43. Jan on October 27th, 2010

    Well, it does seem strange doesn’t it that you would use your stomach muscles when you climb the stairs? But you will find if you try and relax your stomach muscles and then climb the stairs, you can’t. You naturally contract them. Just try it next time you go upstairs. You’ll see how much you use your stomach core muscles then.

    Of course, it’s not a major workout for your stomach so you are better doing something which targets all the muscles in the stomach specifically but it still helps.

    Jan

  44. Ron Delaney on December 2nd, 2010

    I use the Stairmaster at the gym and generally do 115-125 flights in 30 minutes 5 times a week. My left heel is very sore and at first I thought it was from playing racquetball so layed off that for a month, but the pain is not going away. I’m begining to think it may be from the Stairmaster. Of course my feet are way bigger than the steps and so my heel never gets placed on the step. I had read somewhere that is not a recommended way to go up stairs. Do you think my heel pain is from the frequent use I have on the Stairmaster? I can always switch to the eliptical or the treadmill, but I really find I get the best workout on the Stairmaster. I’ve lost 50 pounds and am at a comfortable weight, although I think another 10 might be good. 6′ 4, 208 pounds now. Thanks for the article you wrote, as you can guess, I was thrilled to get confirmation on what I experience by this great exercise.

  45. Jan on December 2nd, 2010

    Hi Ron

    I can’t give a diagnosis without seeing you and even if I could I am not a doctor as so could not do that. Please see a professional about your injury as an unqualified opinion may make things worse. What I do know is that it is best to vary exercise so that you do not put overdue stress and strain on any one set of muscles – moderation and balance in all things is my motto.

    Jan

  46. Nita on January 6th, 2011

    Hello

    I read above that dong staris burn around 9 cals per minute. When I do stairs (in the comfort of my home and the flight is around 9-10 steps), I implement 2 pouds dumbells while going up in down to give my arms more of a workout. Doing so, does that allow me to burn even more calories? I normally do the elliptical machine and insanity dvd but wanted to switch it up Altogether I do the tairs for 30 minutes and in between I go run around the house for 1-2 minutes so my legs can stretch out. You think this is a good workout?

  47. Jan on January 6th, 2011

    Hi Nita

    Yes, you will get more of a workout carrying weights and burn more calories. The actual amount you burn depends on your body weight (a 200lb person would burn more than a 120lb person doing the same amount of exercise at the same intensity) so you could probably be adding that weight to your body weight when you do your calculation. It’s good to vary your exercise – whether your routine is right for you depends on your fitness levels and how intensely you do it. A heart rate monitor might help you see if you are in the training zone.

    Jan

  48. Vid on January 21st, 2011

    My office is on the 6th floor, and I have started taking the stairs a week back. I have never done any form of exercise in my life, this is my first attempt at being fit. I have heard that climbing 6 floors at one shot is not good for the heart. Is it true? My knees hurt while I am climbing but I am fine once I am through with it. Should I continue taking the stairs?

  49. Jan on January 21st, 2011

    Hi Vid

    I am not in favor of doing anything which hurts especially if it hurts your knees – they are easily damaged. If it is your first attempt at being fit you might be better to try walking first – 6 flights of stairs sounds excessive for a first attempt at exercise. Fine once you have a reasonable level of fitness though. A heart rate monitor would help you see if you are working hard enough/overdoing it.

    Jan

  50. Noel on January 24th, 2011

    Just started today. My latest physical exam showed that my blood sugar hovers at prediabetes level. And my doc thinks the culprit is the lack of exercise, in addition to my being too thin. The problem now is finding a way to squeeze in the exercise to my day. Until one day I noticed how much I am catching my breath as I climb up and down our house’s stairs. And the idea was born and off to Google to find out more )

    I only managed to do 200 steps one way continuously before I felt the numbness in my legs. Took me about 5 minutes to do that. And yep, I was already huffing a bit. Which just shows how much bad shape I am in. But the wonderful thing is the feeling! I’ve been putting this off for almost a week now, but now, I can’t wait to do it again tomorrow and beat my (currently pathetic) record.

    Just wanted to share. Thanks.

  51. Jan on January 25th, 2011

    Hi Noel

    Good for you getting started. Good luck with your efforts – just don’t overdo it until you are fighting fit :)

    Jan

  52. Martin Winter on March 21st, 2011

    I am 76 years old and live in a high-rise apartment building (21 floors).
    I have been cimbing 5 sets (105 floors) every day for the last 5 months.
    My pace varies but it’s mostly at a casual pace, a single round trip
    (I don’t use the elevator for going down) averages 8 minutes. Not looking
    for kudos but I do wonder just how unusual (if unusual at all) my workout is.
    We have a gym in the building which I have given up in favor of the stairs…
    not sure that was a good idea, but it works for me. I’ve also heard that
    walking down stairs was a good exercise as well.

  53. Jan on March 21st, 2011

    Hi Martin

    I’d say you were pretty unusual :) There are not many people of any age who could do that, never mind your age.

    I’m all in favor of finding an exercise that suits you (one you like and one that suits your body and makes you healthier) and you seem to have found just that.

    Keep doing it as long as it’s good for you – and only you and your doctor can decide on that

    Jan

  54. Jay T. Basinger on April 2nd, 2011

    I’m a retired coach and P.E. Teacher. I spent my life exercising every day.
    I have just completed a set of stair climbs equal to Mt. Everest. 30,000 ft. in 60 days climbing 540 ft./day in 17 minutes. That equates to 17 total hours climbing. (up and down)

    The condo unit here has three floors at 10 ft /floor. Each flight is 20 ft. I do 27 flights to get 540 ft. The building design has the stair well outside and it’s covered. This is an outdoor all weather arrangement… perfect! I’m still climbing after the initial 60 days and will probably add some hand weights for added arm exercise.

    No knee damage or strain so far. I have started to increase the intensity by skipping steps. I have not stumbled or tripped yet. I use a coffee cup and 27 pennies to keep tract of my flights. The stairs are 4 ft. wide with hand rails on each side. This helps in keeping balance and prevents potential accidents.

    There are four landings that could be utilized for different exercises to add variety and to focus on other muscle groups. I’m only going 17 minutes each day. I would rather increase my intensity than to add more time.

    Do you have any thoughts or suggestions for my routine? I do reach my target heart rate, but is 17 minutes too short on time for maximum benefits? I feel this time is equivalent to jogging about two miles for me.

    Thanks for this forum,

    JTB

  55. Jan on April 3rd, 2011

    Hi Jay

    thanks for sharing your inspirational routine. I am a great believer in doing exercise which makes you feel good and this routine obviously suits you. If you want to measure whether it is making you fitter then a heart rate monitor could help as this will help you make sure that you stay in the training range during your exercise and will help show your recovery rate getting faster (if it is).

    If you would like to do more then the main things I suggest are that you take care of other aspects of fitness – upper body strength and flexibility as these will not be helped by your stair climb. In fact, using the same muscles continually in the same way can reduce flexibility which is so important to maintain a youthful look as you get older. I would not try and incorporate these within your stair climb routine but focus on them in separate sessions so that you give them as much focus and attention. Even 10 minutes working on each of these aspects of your fitness every day will give you great benefit.

    Jan

  56. Char on April 4th, 2011

    I am looking for a good number of stairs to climb for a little toning of the butt. I am not heavy by any means, just want to tone a little. I have a stair climber and have started out doing 300/day but need to know what is a good number to be climbing for successful toning.

  57. Jan on April 5th, 2011

    Hi Char

    There are so many variables here that it would be impossible for anyone else to give you a number. It depends on how strong your muscles are, the resistance you are getting from the machine etc. Results are the best measure. If 300 gives you results then do 300. If you don’t perceive any effects after a week or two however then you need to work a bit harder – but just increase gradually within your capability. You can increase in 3 ways – duration of exercise, intensity of exercise (resistance), or speed. Experiment to find the best combination of all 3 for you with your particular stair climber. As you get stronger and fitter you will need to gradually increase anyway to keep getting stronger and fitter…

    Jan

  58. Maali on April 11th, 2011

    I heard that climbing stairs is not good exercise for body and spinal code. Is that true?

  59. Richa on April 12th, 2011

    My Height is 155cms and weight 52 kgs. From past few 2 months am putting on weight excessively at the lower part of the body and my tummy also not intact , it is growing like a sack. we have 2 flights stairs at home of 15 each. So planning to do stair exercise going up and down 3 flight around 3 times daily. Will it have any effect on reducing the lower boby weight and getting flat tummy in addition to following the right diet? Or do I need to increase the number of flights??

  60. Jan on April 12th, 2011

    Hi Richa

    I don’t actually see fitness and exercise as the best means of losing weight – of course you use up calories and it helps but you have to do too much of it to lose anything major. For instance you have to run more than a marathon to lose a pound of actual fat (3500 calories worth of running). You’ll lose water weight too potentially but the fat is not going to disappear easily with a bit of stair climbing. You need to change what you eat for that. Sorry about that. That is not to say that you should not do it. Exercise is great for keeping you alive, it WILL use up calories, which all helps, as I said and it can make you feel more positive about your body which helps you get motivated to eat less. If you want to see how much stair climbing you would have to do to lose 1lb you have to compute how much you would have to do to burn 3500 calories. It’s a lot. Using a stair climber machine (which is probably the equivalent of going upstairs all the time) you use 3.7 calories per hour per pound of your body weight or about 9 calories a minute for a 67kg person – you would burn less. So you can see how much work is involved in losing a pound. Just remember though that every ounce of fat you lose through activity counts when you trying to lose weight.

    Jan

  61. DONNA on April 22nd, 2011

    I would like to use my 12 stairs to excersise each day. I only want to strengthen and tone. and help my osteoporosis.How many reps do you think would help? thankyou!

  62. Jan on April 23rd, 2011

    Hi Maali

    like every exercise you can do it well or do it poorly so it depends how you hold your body, what your body is capable of etc. There is no right and wrong exercise just right and wrong ways to carry out a particular exercise and right and wrong exercises for your particular circumstances.

    Jan

  63. Jan on April 23rd, 2011

    Hi Donna

    How much exercise you do and how many stairs you climb is really a personal thing depending on what your body is capable of, so I can’t provide personal advice like that. If you have any medical condition, or even potential medical condition, it is worth asking your doctor for advice.

    Jan

  64. pranav on April 25th, 2011

    i climb the 15 floors in the building i live in, i weigh 85 kg’s do you think this workout is good enough for me?
    i’m 20 years old
    i climb the fifteen floors five times in an average every day…

  65. Jan on April 29th, 2011

    Hi Pranav

    As I said to Donna, this is something I can’t answer as everyone’s need and for exercise and ability is different. In any case, we all need a full range of exercise so stair climbing by itself is not enough as this has is mainly an aerobic exercise though it strengthens some of your muscles too. You definitely need exercises for upper body strength and flexibility too.

    Jan

  66. Noel on August 17th, 2011

    Just out of curiosity: how many stair steps would it take to equal the benefits of 1 mile of running? That would be a good number to use as a benchmark or goal.

  67. Jan on August 17th, 2011

    They are different exercises, so they have different benefits in terms of which muscles you are exercising. It also depends how fast you go and how much you task your heart to do in a given period for cardio-vascular benefit. Different calories per hour as well of course. Is that what you meant? Stair climbing is 9 calories a minute for a 147lb person. Running at 6.5 mph is 10.3 calories a minute for the same person.

  68. Rachel on September 3rd, 2011

    Hello,

    I was thinking about climbing up and down the stairs at my dorm for about 15 mins every morning (or every other morning since some days I have class very early). I’m looking to lose some weight, ya’ see. I’m also on a low carb diet.

    I was wondering, do you think doing this for exercise about 4 to 5 times a week will help me lose weight? How speedilly do you think it would happen? I’m 21, 5’4, and about 150 lbs, looking to lose 10 or more.

  69. Jan on September 3rd, 2011

    Hi Rachel

    Every type of exercise helps you lose weight. Though doing 15 minutes is not going to have much effect every little helps. A pound of fat is about 3500 calories worth of exercise so that’s quite a lot of stairs if you want to lose 10lbs. I think exercise does have indirect benefits on weight loss though because it gets you up and motivated and improves your mood all of which help you to stick to a healthy eating plan.

    Jan

  70. Surmeet Singh on July 18th, 2012

    hi there, i use step mill in gym for half an hour from last one month. i am felling tired & pain in both knees. i want to flaten my tummy through this ecercise & i have attained succes uptp considerable extent. but i am feeling pain in my both knees. will it damage my knees. i am 35 yrs of age. pls reply

  71. Jan on July 18th, 2012

    Hi

    I am not in favor of any exercise that causes pain. Pain is the body’s signal that you doing some kind of damage. An exercise might leave a bit of soreness if you have not used muscles for some time, and thats Ok but pain in the joints is something else and I would have a physiotherapist take a look at what you are doing to make sure you don’t do any lasting damage. In any case, it is a good idea to vary your exercise so you are not putting stress on any one area of the body and not focus only on stair climbing. If you want to flatten your abs you can do that without straining your knees at all. See http://simplyfitnessgear.com/flatterabs/ for a FREE course

    Jan

  72. dbo on August 6th, 2012

    I’ve been climbing 200 stairs to my office on the 10th floor twice a day (once in the morning, and once after lunch) since my company moved to a new building. I can definitely tell it’s having a positive effect on my stamina, as now, after about 4 months of climbing I can reach the top without even getting winded or breaking a sweat. No sign of knee issues, in fact I used to have knee problems (I’ve been doing Kung Fu for about 8 years and it’s put quite a lot of strain on my knees), but since beginning this excercise (and also taking a fish oil supplement- though I don’t know which is having the positive effect) my knee issues have completely vanished.

    I highly recommend this type of excercise. In his book The Tao of Jeet Kun Do, Bruce Lee also recommended his students to take the stairs, and to put their shoes and socks on standing up without leaning on anything. Adding a little bit of effort to your daily routine can make a big difference in your overall health.

  73. Jan on August 6th, 2012

    Great work on your stamina dbo!

    I love the shoe and sock idea – if you try it. just make sure you’re not anyway where you’re going to hurt yourself if you lose your balance – especially in the beginning

    Jan

  74. Michelle Brown on November 8th, 2012

    I work on the 18 floor I started walking up the steps yesterday I made it to the 5th floor I’m 173 pounds and I want to be 150 pounds by February which is my bday month so I was wondering how fast will I lose the weight by walking up the steps daily and adding on a flight every day?

  75. Jan on November 10th, 2012

    The math on that one is far too complicated for me Michelle. but I know that walking upstairs every day (even 18 flights) won’t be enough to lose 23lbs by February. For that you have to use up 80,500 calories more than you eat (as each pound is 3500 calories worth of fat) so even if you use up 500 calories a day climbing stairs (which you won’t) it will take you 161 days and that relies on you not eating too much to negate the effect. You really need to look at your diet as well as exercise if you want to lose weight. Sorry – but that’s the way it is. Don’t give up the stair climbing plan though – because that amount of exercise is going to help – it’s just not going to do all of the work.

  76. Robert C. Lang on April 30th, 2014

    According to survey records my home is 237 feet above sea level. 2 to 3 times a day I make the 2.1 mile roundtrip to sea level (San Francisco Bay). My Fitbit One has an altimeter that I have found to be extremely accurate that credits me with 23 floors climbed for round each trip. Between these round trips, other walks around my hilly neighborhood, and the normal stair climbs I normally do living in a multi-story home I average about 120 floors climbed a day. It has become so routine I don’t even think about it even though some walking partners, who are used to walks on flat terrain, *really* feel the difference.

  77. Jan on April 30th, 2014

    That’s great exercise! I lived in Holland for a few years where the terrain is extremely flat and really felt it when I returned home to Scotland where everything is hilly so I know what your friends mean LOL

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