Becoming more active is typically a good thing but you can do this in many ways. Find out what benefits climbing stairs offers.
You can get these positive effects by doing separate stair climbing workouts or just choosing the stairs instead of the elevator at work or in your apartment.
1. Climbing stairs can improve cardiovascular health
Your cardiovascular system includes your heart, lungs, and blood vessels.
These body parts are responsible for moving a variety of substances to the places where they are necessary (and away from where they are not necessary).
Additionally, your lungs extract oxygen from the air which is used to fuel many of your movements.
When you move more intensely while doing something like climbing stairs, these processes need to happen at a higher rate.
In turn, your cardiovascular system will have to work harder.
If you do this intensely enough (but not too much), climbing stairs can challenge your cardiovascular system to a point where it becomes stronger.
2. Climbing stairs is a low-impact workout
A workout like running is the go-to choice for many people who want to get fitter.
One downside of exercises like this is that the jumps involved can be relatively challenging for body parts like your ankles, knees, and lower back.
In turn, this could lead to injuries which drastically reduces the number of workouts you can do.
That being said, climbing stairs mostly helps you avoid this because as a low-impact workout, there are not really any jumps involved.
This benefit is especially useful for people who are new to exercise, have a few pounds to lose, and are injury-sensitive.
At the same time, you do still want to keep in mind that climbing stairs can be somewhat challenging for your knees. Especially when going downstairs.
3. Climbing stairs works a variety of muscles
Climbing stairs is mainly a cardiovascular workout that will leave you out of breath before your skeletal muscles fatigue.
That being said, you do still work a variety of muscles to push your body up the stairs.
Climbing stairs will likely not build muscle for you but working these muscles can still improve endurance, slow down degradation, and improve muscle health.
That aside, some of the main muscles you work by climbing stairs are your:
- Quadriceps (front thighs)
- Glutes (butt)
- Hamstrings (back thighs)
- Hip abductors (outer thighs)
- Hip adductors (inner thighs)
- Hip flexors
- To some extent core muscles like your abs, obliques, and erector spinae
To get the benefits of engaging your muscles to a larger extent you can wear a heavy backpack or a heavy weighted vest while climbing the stairs.
At the same time, people who are serious about these muscle-related benefits likely want to do resistance training exercises instead.
4. Climbing stairs can benefit weight loss
Losing weight requires you to get to a point where your body uses more energy than is coming in from the things you eat.
There are many ways to get to the situation above. One of these is doing workouts like climbing stairs that require more energy from your body than typical daily activities.
To help you better understand how this compares to other options, there are even ways to estimate how many calories climbing stairs burns.
The average person will burn around 59 to 102+ calories while climbing stairs at a slow pace for 15 minutes. The same duration at a fast pace would burn more around 130 to 223+ calories.
Keep in mind that these are rough estimations. In reality, your results will likely be at least slightly different.
It is also worth mentioning that there are more effective workouts for this purpose than climbing stairs.
Lastly, if you want stair climbing to help you lose weight and reduce belly fat, you will also likely need to make positive changes in areas like your diet.
5. Climbing stairs can regulate LDL positively
Having high levels of LDL aka low-density lipoproteins aka “bad” cholesterol seems to be related to a variety of negative side effects.
This is not good great since this is an issue for many people.
Luckily, there are also still ways to reduce the levels of LDL for people with high levels.
One specific study looked at the effect of using the stairs instead of the elevator at work for 3 months on LDL levels in 67 individuals.
Among other physical improvements, they observed that climbing stairs reduced LDL levels (7).
6. Climbing stairs can help control glucose response
Having elevated blood glucose levels for short amounts of time is not always bad for everyone.
That being said, having this for longer amounts of time seems to be related to a variety of negative consequences (8).
Having high blood sugar levels is another common occurrence in modern life so many people will want to take active action to reduce this.
On top of all the other valuable benefits, exercising more in the form of climbing stairs or other workouts can help you control your blood glucose levels (9).
One study observed that as little as one minute of light pace stair climbing could reduce blood glucose response after a meal to the point of statistically significant differences (10).
7. Climbing stairs can improve your mood
It can feel like your mood and thoughts are only the results of things going inside your head. However, your physical actions and habits can actually influence these in a few ways too.
If this sounds like something you want to achieve, it can be smart to implement more stair climbing in your routine.
By now it should also be clear that climbing stairs can help you reduce your risk of a variety of negative conditions. This can help you avoid long periods of feeling bad.