Ted hurt himself badly when he fell on the stairs so he went to the doctor and explained what happened. The doctor told him, “Here, take this cream and rub it where you fell.”
Later on that day another fellow came into the doctor’s office with the same complaint. The doctor asked him where he fell.
“I fell on the stairs. Some idiot put cream all over them!” he exclaimed.
STAIRS are a barrier between where you are and where you need to be, an intimidating obstacle you have to take with the next load of laundry or carrying a heavy child. They’re a reality, so the good news is – they’re great for you!
But not all stairs are the same and, although builders seem to think ours are odd, they’re actually perfect for our three floors – they are 12″ on the tread (the part you step on) , longer than the norm of about 9″ but better to land more of the foot on to protect the achilles tendon. The rise on our steps is only 6″ the average 5 – 8 inches, a more shallow rise makes it easier than in our previous home and I love it.
A Harvard Medical School publication writes that only 15 minutes of doing stairs provides 150 CME points, which is the equivalent of the 30 minutes moderate, 15 minutes intense exercise that doctors usually recommend for your health. CME is for “cardiometabolic,” improving the heart, metabolism and health. The key, they say is “to do enough and to do it often enough.”
More evidence that short bouts of exercise can have a huge impact on health was found after a two-month study of 12 women climbing a 200-step staircase starting at once day to six times a day. After only two months, their cholesterol levels were cut enough “to cut their risk of cardiovascular disease by 33 percent.” The study’s author was Colin Boreham, PhD, of the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland.
The second study, written about in Prevention Magazine, covered 13,5000 men who climbed 100 steps a day and as a result, “reduced their risk of death by nearly 20 percent.”
The intensity of the stairclimbing increases its benefits, if you can do it. So when you have those stairs in your house, do them with gusto and improve your health!
Doing Them Right
Hitting the stairs right, and avoiding injury, is extremely important if you live with your stairs or not. These are some suggestions:
- knee joint problems can be aggravated, going down the stairs places more stress on your knees working against gravity
- proper posture helps, so keep your back straight but lean forward
- place as much of your whole foot on the step – if your heels hangs off the edge, it might injure your Achilles Tendon
- if you’re serious about your stairs, especially if there are knee or hip issues, wear supportive, cross-training type shoes, because running shoes don’t give you enough lateral support
- drink enough water, because even if your stairs are in your home, you’re working on that cardiometabolic business.
If you’re using the stairs for an honest-to-goodness workout, stop if you are hyperventilating, i.e. your face is flushed, you’re dizzy, nauseated, disoriented or have heart palpitations, etc.
Love those low-tech stairs workouts, folks! No excuses, you can do it at home – it’s all about your attitude!