If you’ve had heart troubles and are worried about things worsening, you might want to find your nearest set of stairs.
New research is showing that stair climbing is a good alternative to the gym for heart patients, offering a safe and efficient exercise option for people who don’t like the gym – pandemic or not.
One study found that heart patients are unlikely to stick to exercise regimens, for reasons like time and access to gyms, which could be putting their heart at greater risk. Brief, vigorous stair climbing exercise, however, was found to improve fitness at comparable levels.
Another study randomly assigned coronary artery disease patients who’d had a heart procedure to a traditional moderate-intensity exercise group or vigorous stair climbing.
The stair climbing involved three rounds of six flights of 12 stairs, separated by recovery periods of walking, where participants chose their own pace.
Both groups improved their heart and lung fitness and were able to rebuild muscle, as well.
Stairs climbing offers greater intensity than a leisurely walk, cycling, or other forms of cardiovascular exercise. Having to carry your body upwards, one step at a time, can be challenging even at a slow pace. The slightest increase in speed makes it even more challenging.
Although it’s not the best way to assess the benefits of stair climbing, one way to test its value is to check them out the next time you walk by your local gym. It’s almost a guarantee the fittest people will be on them!
Stair climbing is relatively accessible, too. If you’ve got multiple floors in your home, dedicate some time each day to follow the protocol above. Hold the handrail if needed.
If you don’t have stairs, then head over to a park, mall, school, or somewhere that’s got stairs. Be careful, though. Walk up and down first to observe any potential risks like cracked concrete, pebbles, etc.
Lastly, if you’re in a condo or apartment, you could consider the stairwell. However, only use it if it is air-conditioned and you feel safe.
Brief and vigorous bouts of stair climbing may help improve heart health and get the blood flowing a little easier. Give it a try to help improve fitness and muscle strength.