If you are looking for a way to boost your fitness levels and infuse some strength and stamina into your leg muscles, then try exercising on the stairs! It's not particularly hard to do, although you will need to build up the amount of times you can do it each day.
In this article, I want to look at the importance of exercise for promoting good health, vitality and fitness and using a regular flight of stairs as the equipment for achieving it.
If the idea of climbing stairs to lose weight brings forth some skepticism in you, stop and think about it for a moment before consigning it to the trash. The act of running up a flight of stairs takes a lot of energy, believe it of not!
That's because the muscles in your legs and torso which are doing most of the work are having to work very hard to not only propel your body forward but also raise it on each step. The heavier or more overweight you are when you do this, the harder those muscles have to work and consequently the more energy they will use.
Exercising for Fitness and Health
When we sit down and ponder over the importance of our levels of fitness and health, we will naturally bring up an image of the combined effort of exercise and diet to create the results that we desire to bring about in ourselves. We see the combination of diet and exercise as the way forward, certainly, but each discipline can be taken individually and looked at to see where they lie in the grand scheme of things.
The major benefits that can be had from exercise are the obvious ones of better muscle strength, tone and stamina which all lead to a higher metabolic rate. This is the rate at which we burn the energy that we derive from our food through the work rate of the various muscle groups in our body. It is important that we exercise regularly and often to get the maximum benefits from this action.
What Results Are You Aiming For?
Depending upon what results we ultimately desire from our chosen exercise routines and plans, we will be building muscle mass and strength regardless. I'll explain that a little further here.
There are two main ways of exercising and two results that are most often desired. They are a slim, lithe and supple body shape favored by athletes, or they are a built, muscle-bound body shape favored by bodybuilders.
The Slim Look
If we desire a slimmer, well toned and fitter looking body, then we will exercise with increased repetitions of our chosen routine but using less resistance. Athletes will run, swim, skip and use light weights or resistance apparatus in a gym with high reps to achieve this body shape.
This is the most desired result for dieters and those simply looking to lose weight. While they believe that weight loss is the ultimate aim, the actual aim is the slim, well toned body that dieting alone will not produce. Only exercise will do this because body tone comes from toned and strong muscles.
The Bodybuilder Look
The other side of the coin are the bodybuilders who will workout with very heavy weights or high resistance apparatus with low reps while working with a high protein diet to add massive amounts of muscle bulk to attain the desired body shape which is well muscled and larger than normal.
Each has its own merits as to the process and results. However, the bodybuilder will have to work a lot harder to build the kind of body that will fare well in competitions, whereas the average person who just wants to lose some weight and get a slimmer body will not need to exercise so hard, just regularly and often.
You Need to Build Up Strength
It takes a lot of regular stair climbing before your leg muscles become strong enough and have enough stamina to keep you going for long enough to make a difference in your actual body weight by burning off fat, but you can get to that stage eventually. You only need a flight of maybe ten steps to do this and then simply run up and down the, one step at a time as many times as you can.
The first few times you do this, you will soon get out of breath and as soon as that happens, you must stop. Remember that if you are out of shape, overdoing a very strenuous exercise like stair climbing can potentially lead to a heart attack if your blood pressure is high or your cholesterol level is high. So start slowly and each day try and increase the number of times you climb up and down the flight of stairs.
This is an excellent way to boost metabolism with exercise that also works your leg muscles hard. It will force those muscles to gain strength and mass over time, which is highly desirable in improving your overall physical fitness levels.
Included here are two comments left by readers of this article:
Ooh, I liked the idea of using my stairs to get some fitness exercise while I was at home. I gave it a try and at first I was getting out of breath after just running up the whole flight just once! But I persevered and after a week I was able to run up and down ten times before I had to quit! I already feel a lot better and aim to increase that number to 20 soon.
Hey that's a great idea about using the stairs to get some free exercise without ever having to set foot in a gym! I tried it myself and was amazed that in just a few days I was running up and down many times before I got out of breath. I already feel tons better, thank you for that amazing advice!