New research from McMaster University has shown that brief, intense bursts of stair climbing can boost your fitness and your heart health. The study examined whether interval training in the form of stair climbing could improve the cardiovascular health of healthy, but sedentary, women.
For the first experiment, researchers gathered 31 female participants who led mostly sedentary lives but were otherwise healthy and split them into two groups. Both groups committed to exercising for ten minutes—which included a warm up, exercise, and cool down—three times a week. The first group was made to run up a flight of stairs for 20 second high-intensity bursts that were repeated three times. Their results were then compared to the second group of participants who followed the same protocol, but completed 20-second sprints on a stationary bike rather than stairs.
The second experiment had participants run up and down stairs for 60-second bursts. The results of both experiments showed that these high-intensity bursts of stair climbing improved participants’ cardiorespiratory fitness, a factor linked to a longer life. Professor of kinesiology at McMaster University, Martin Gibala, commented on these results, stating “Interval training offers a convenient way to fit exercise into your life, rather than having to structure your life around exercise.” The short time commitment of just ten minutes, three times a week makes this form of interval training easily applied to everyday life, and the results show that it can effectively better your health.