The Healthy Truth: 30 day stair challenge

Dear Friends,

Because fall has arrived and the weather has cooled down, it’s harder to stay motivated to hit the gym or work out. Even as a trainer myself, I recognize this challenge. That is why it’s important to find motivation and inspiration from unlikely places. This led me—and my coworker—to develop the 30-day stair challenge!


I work in a nine-story office building, and conveniently, I work on the first floor. One day, I had to make a trip to the eighth floor, so as I normally would, I pushed the button for the elevator. There was another people waiting for the elevator as well. I waited. He waited. We waited and waited. The gentleman then turned to me and informed me that he’s been waiting for a while—ugh. Another woman approached and we explained to her that we were waiting for a long time. She then suggested we simply take the stairs. The stairs?! I have eight floors to go! But because the other two opted for the stairs, I didn’t want to be the only person still waiting for the elevator.

So, we all entered the stairwell together. The women got off on the second floor—clearly not much of a walk. The first gentleman stepped off on the fifth floor—getting higher now. Here I was with three more floors left, but I knew I had to push through.

Needless to say, I got to the top and felt like dying! My legs were on fire, I couldn’t breathe, and boy was I sweating. There’s something about stairs that are just the worst! I can run kilometers, I can teach hour-long Zumba classes, but I CANNOT do stairs! Because I was “dying,” I opted to take the elevator back down.

When I came back down I immediately told my co-workers about the ordeal I just went through. A triumph none the less, but such a painful struggle. My legs were shaking and throbbing. They had never experienced such pain.

But the re-telling of my horrific experience prompted my co-worker to suggest always climbing the stairs, every day, for 30 days. At first, I thought that was a horrible idea because I still felt like death, but I soon realized that it was probably one of the best ideas out there. Why not utilize something at work to get fit? We both sit for long hours every day, so it was a great way to get moving and bring up our heart rates. If you haven’t heard, prolonged sitting is the new smoking, so trying to be as active as possible throughout the day is highly necessary.

At that very moment, we made a pact to climb the stairs, but not only to the eighth floor, all the way to the ninth!
We started this challenge on October 20, and set a calendar reminder daily for 11:45 am.

That Friday at 11:45, we entered the stairwell and began our timer. It took us 4 minutes and 41 seconds to complete. Not too bad considering that it was our first day, and frankly, we didn’t know what to expect.

Because it was the weekend, we had a two-day break, and boy did that make Monday rough. Our time was 4 minutes and 43 seconds, but I swear it hurt so much more!

Here is the rest of our progress so far:

10/24/2017: 3:34

10/25/2017: 4:00

10/26/2017: 3:27

10/27/2017: 3:27

As you can see, there was some definite progress! Even though the times have improved, I’m not sure if I can say the challenge itself is getting any easier. Our legs still burn, and we still end up short of breath once we reach the top. But we still have three weeks left, and I’ll be sure to keep you all updated.

My coworker suggested that maybe we keep this habit up even after the 30 days, and that actually sounds like a great idea. Not because I love climbing stairs because believe me. I don’t, but because we can keep each other motivated and it’s an easy and great way to stay fit throughout the winter and the upcoming holiday season.

In two weeks, I will have more stats for you, and I’ll be sure to let you know if there are any noticeable differences.


In the meantime, why not start your own challenge? Maybe it’s squatting every day, or even planking. Just pick an activity and complete it every day! It’s such an amazing feeling to track your progression and spot any changes that may occur. Whether you lose weight, become stronger, or improve your cardiovascular health, these are all great benefits to experience.

Until next time,

Emily Lunardo


Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.