Why You Should Stop Overlooking Stair Workouts

Taking the elevator is quick and convenient. You step inside, press a button, and voila – within seconds you reach your destination. Taking the stairs, however, offers another experience depending on what floor you're headed to. Choosing the stairway to get you to those upper floors will take longer, might make you sweat, and can get your heart rate up. Although it may not be the perfect time for a sweat sesh, taking the stairs might make you consider making them a part of your regular workout routine. 

Incorporating a stair workout into your current fitness routine offers more benefits than you might be aware of. Medical director of the UCHealth Foot and Ankle Center of Denver, Dr. Kenneth Hunt, recalls the conditioning training his football coach would implement, making the players run up and down the stadium stairs to boost stamina, strengthen the leg muscles, and improve cardio levels (via U.S. News). Dr. Hunt states, "Climbing stairs can be an effective exercise for strengthening muscles, improving your balance and boosting your cardiovascular health."

Rev up your workout routine with stair climbing

Including a stair workout in your exercise routine can look like running the bleachers at a school, using the StairMaster machine at the gym, or even taking the steps two by two in your own home. Experts at Shape report that step climbing helps build muscle in the lower body, including the glutes, quads, calves, and hamstrings. Dr. Kenneth Hunt tells U.S. News, "Stair climbing requires a lot more muscular engagement and muscular force." So if "toning," AKA muscle building, is what you are looking for, stair workouts are a great option.

Stair climbing is also a good cardiovascular exercise, especially if you incorporate it into a HIIT workout, as Shape reveals that the increase in exercise intensity also increases the amount of calories your body continues to burn after your workout. This is an effective way to assist in weight loss efforts, as Healthline reports, you can burn 180 to 260 calories or more in a 30 minute StairMaster workout.

A good stair workout can also work the core, improve balance, and even decrease the risk of early death, as a study published in the journal of Preventative Medicine Reports found a correlation between stair climbing and lower mortality rates.