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Step to It

Walk, climb and take the stairs toward fitness

By Micaela Whitworth

Unless you have a physical ailment that prevents you from stair climbing, you may want to step it up this summer and start the climb toward better health. According to a 2000 study published in Preventative Medicine, climbing stairs for as little as 10 minutes a day resulted in increased energy and stamina while decreasing body fat and blood pressure.

Stair climbing burns calories at a higher rate than other cardiovascular activities and since it helps strengthen and tone lower-body and abdominal muscles, it also helps improve the strength of your bones.

One Step at a Time

Always maintain correct posture in order to minimize your chance of injury. Lean slightly forward from your hips with your back straight and keep your eyes on the stairs in front of you. Watch your step as you come down the stairs. Don’t rush, and use the railing if necessary.

When training outdoors during summer months, it's advisable to train earlier in the day before it gets too hot. Be sure to bring a water bottle with you and stay hydrated. On rainy days when stairs can be slippery, find an indoor spot for your training. An apartment or office building are perfect spots.

Baby Steps

If you're new to stair climbing be sure to start off with three 10-minute sessions per week. Slowly add more time as your endurance improves. The goal is to complete your workout at a comfortable, steady pace. Gradually increase your time over an eight-week period and try to work your way up to 30-minute sessions.

Step It Up

If you've been doing stairs for some time and are looking for a new way to challenge your body, try climbing two stairs at a time for a more muscular workout. Once you feel comfortable with this technique, try jogging up one flight of stairs and then practice your two-step climb on your alternating round. Do this for 20 to 45 minutes.

Stair Master

This workout is for the seasoned stair climber who is ready for a high-intensity interval challenge. The goal is to run up as quickly as you can to the first landing, jog back down to the bottom, run up to the second landing, jog back down to the bottom again, and so forth. Continue with this pattern until you reach the top. You can also try alternating between the one-step and two-step method with each interval. Don't forget to time yourself each workout so that you can compare your results from week to week.

Stepping Out

Looking for a premium spot to stretch your legs and your workout? The stairs leading up to the lookout in Mount Royal Park really are the perfect place for a stair-climbing workout. Not only will you be rewarded with a primo workout, you get one of the best views of downtown Montreal. Happy climbing!

Summer 2013, Vol 5 N°3

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