January 10th, or the second Wednesday in January, is known as National Take the Stairs Day. This wellness initiative is promoted by many organizations like LiveStrong, The American Lung Association, and other public health groups to raise awareness of the little things we can do daily to help lead healthier, more active lives. If you are like me and finding time to go to the gym seems like a chore, making more of an effort to take stairs on a regular basis could provide a daily cardio workout without sacrificing any of the time it takes to go to a gym.
Cardiovascular exercise has many benefits, however, I discovered that there are benefits to stairclimbing as opposed to other forms of cardio that can provide better results than exercises like running. Since one is working against gravity with their natural body weight, stairclimbing is as much a cardio exercise as it is a weightlifting routine. This results in improved muscle tones, a stronger musculoskeletal system, increases in good cholesterol, promoted weight loss, and tighter buns. The cardio will reduce the risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and will even help lower your stress levels.
Stairclimbing has even entered the same public sphere as marathons and January 20th is the 35th Annual Bop to the Top in Indianapolis which is a stair climbing race up 36 flights of stairs in OneAmerica tower. That is roughly 780 steps compared the 70 steps it takes to climb the stairs of the D building entrance on Senate Avenue to the netlogx corporate office. You would need to make that climb eleven times to get 780 steps. The great thing, though, is just making the regular climb twice a day is going to provide serious long-term benefits.
Smart phone applications are a great way to track your personal health and fitness accomplishments, so naturally there is an app that is designed to track your steps climbed. Stepjockey is a great way to see how you are getting the most out of your steps, I downloaded it to see if climbing stairs really made any kind of difference and I was surprised with the results. Maybe you will be too!