Up and down stairs. How true is it that this counts as training?
Perfect for people who don’t have time to go to the gym or do sports every day. According to the experts climbing and descending stairs is the optimal physical activity to avoid a sedentary lifestyle and it’s a healthy practice for those who don’t have a hole in their schedule for higher intensity workouts.
Although it helps the body and is considered exercise, it is advisable to incorporate a more vigorous activity at some point during the week. “Adults should perform 150 minutes of physical activity per week, of which three times per week should be strength-related exercise,” declared the pediatrician, sports specialist and director of the Diploma in Pediatric Sports Medicine at Favaloro University, Santiago Quitel (MN 93789). And he emphasizes that children and adolescents They should do 60 minutes of moderate activity every day, seven days a week and two or three times a week strength exercises to improve muscle quality”.
For him, going up and down stairs is good exercise for someone who doesn’t do physical exercise on a daily basis. In short, going up and down stairs It is an exercise that favors and improves the physical condition of a sedentary person and is more intense and energetic than ordinary walking.
The iconic image of Rocky Balboa climbing the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, popularly known as the Rocky Steps, to the beat of ‘Gonna fly now’ is one of the most famous scenes in cinema history. This movie serves as a clear example that sports or physical activity has a lot to do with motivation and self-improvement and is not just about moving the body.
As if that wasn’t enough, former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, issued during his tenure an executive order promoting the use of stairs in said city and introduced two bills so that they gain more exposure with simple ideas such as placing posters on the walls near the elevators recommending the use of stairs.
“It’s a very effective exercise because when you go up, you’re working concentric contractions -muscle tension with muscle shortening- and when going down eccentric contractions, which require the opposite effort: muscle tension with muscle lengthening. This places different physiological demands on the body,” says Dr. Kweitel.
Likewise, the professional assures that performing this exercise repeatedly develops strength levels and cardiovascular function and ultimately contributes to the improvement of the cardiorespiratory system in a person who does not exercise daily.
A key recommendation to consider when going up and down stairs is that you should wear athletic shoes with good sole cushioning to reduce the impact on the joints.
Other suggestions are: avoid intensity when doing this activity if you are not used to moving your body too much. “You have to start gradually, if you never climb stairs, you can’t climb ten floors from nothing, you have to increase little by little until you realize that the body doesn’t have such a hard time,” explains Julieta Alfonso (MN 139849 ) , medical specialist in sports medicine.
Regarding contraindications, Dr. Alfonso assures that They depend on the limitations that each particular person has. This refers to whether you have had injuries, operations or any other impediment that prevents you from going up and down stairs. “If you are an adult who has difficulty walking, it would not be advisable, although you can do other exercises according to your condition. The important thing is that every movement counts and the more active you are during the day, the healthier your life will be,” he explains.
On the other hand, according to Duke University in North Carolina, United States, doing this activity daily provides the following benefits:
However, it should be noted that Doing physical activity and playing sports are not the same. “The physical activity By definition, it is any movement generated by skeletal muscle that generates energy expenditure, such as: going up and down stairs, sweeping, dancing or walking to work. This happens exercise when prescribed to improve physical fitness, strength and endurance. Finally, it is talked about sport when we apply rules and theory to the above,” emphasizes Dr. Alfonso.
Going up and down the stairs can be compared to a healthy breakfast: “You take advantage of certain times to do some type of exercise that improves cardiovascular health and strength. And even those who are trained and not sedentary can also use the stairs as a training method where they increase the speed at which they go up and down; You can also add some kind of load to increase the demand for strength,” explains the sports doctor. “It can be done both to avoid a sedentary life and to improve physical fitness“, he concludes.