Something as simple as going up and down the stairs every day for three months instead of taking the elevator can lower your body fat, trimmer your waistline, and drop your blood pressure numbers. According to the researchers at the University of Geneva, this cuts about 15 percent the risk of premature death from any cause.
Past surveys suggest that many people view exercise as the key to better health and good looks. However, this doesn’t mean they exercise. Are you surprised? The truth of the matter is that despite most of us knowing that physical activity reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, not too many of us engage in adequate physical activity.
Cut your risk of premature death
According Dr. Philippe Meyer, the lead researcher of the study at the University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland, the challenge is to find successful ways to promote physical activities that people can easily integrate into their everyday life. Since most adults spend half their waking hours at work, Meyer felt that this setting offered the greatest potential for encouraging physical activity.
The study was carried out with 69 volunteer employees from the University of Geneva who had a sedentary lifestyle (defined as less than two hours of exercise each week and less than 10 flights of stair-climbing a day). Over 12 weeks, the subjects were asked to exclusively use stairs at work instead of taking the elevator.
On average, the participants increased the number of flight of stairs climbed from 5 per day to 23. After 12 weeks, it was found that the health of the participants had improved across all factors. It is worth noting that the average lung capacity increased 3.2 ml/kg/min, which according to the study, translates into a 15 percent decrease in all-mortality risk.
“This suggests that stair climbing at work may have major public health implications” said Meyer. And although this is a small study and larger ones need to be conducted, it opens new expectations about lung capacity and cardiovascular health, Meyer added.
Additional benefits of climbing stairs
In addition to the benefits mentioned, results showed a statistically significant decline in:
Diastolic blood pressure (the lower reading) and
LDL cholesterol, the “bad” one.
June Davison, a cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Taking the stairs regularly is an excellent way to increase your physical activity and it can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. Carrying out regular physical activity can halve the risk of dying from coronary heart disease”
If you have stairs at work or at home, don’t miss this opportunity to improve your health and your appearance since no matter how healthy you are, there is always room for improvement. Go up and down those floors and after 12 weeks, measure your waist circumference; you may be due for a pleasant surprise.