How often do you step into a lift or onto an escalator? For some of us it’s every day. But next time you want to take the easy route, rather take the stairs. By making the one small change in your life to always use the stairs, you’re doing your health and fitness a big favour. You’re not only gradually improving your strength and cardiovascular fitness, but also changing your habits, mindset and transforming your fitness regime.
It improves your strength
When you walk up a flight of stairs, you’re using your core muscles, because your weight shifts from one leg to the other. This, in turn, improves your balance.
To give yourself an even better strength workout every time you take the stairs, stand up tall and concentrate on pulling in your abdominal muscles as you climb.
While walking on flat ground engages your leg muscles, the stairs work your glutes, quads and hamstrings. Got heavy grocery bags to carry? That’s a bonus. The added weight will tone your legs even faster.
Taking the stairs helps your heart
The Harvard Health Alumni Study suggests that climbing stairs regularly can also lower your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Even if you do it over a short period a few times a day, you’re actively working on your cardiovascular fitness.
To really raise your heart rate and increase your fitness benefits, take the stairs 2 at a time, holding onto the handrail for stability. For a challenge, walk up and down as many flights as you can manage in 15 minutes.
Going down stairs is good for you, too
As long as you don’t have any knee problems, going down stairs is as good for you as walking up stairs. Just don’t lock your knees. Walking down stairs involves what is called “eccentric exercise”, which means your muscles contract as you put weight on them. A 2017 study suggests that it may even be more beneficial for improving blood pressure and cholesterol, and especially bone density in women.
Making daily movement part of your routine
Choosing the stairs over a lift or escalator could improve your fitness and your attitude. This healthy habit of daily movement could transform your exercise regime.
Like all exercise, the changes don’t happen overnight. But climb stairs every day for a month and you’ll see the difference. Not to mention those feel-good hormones that get released during exercise. It’s a small change with minimal impact on your time. So don’t wait for Monday or the first of the month. Start today.
Simplify fitness. Live better.
Because life is busy, time is precious. Taking the stairs is a simple and easy way to improve your fitness and health, just like the new Capitec app is a straightforward platform to track where you’re spending your money and to improve your financial fitness. The app makes it easy to budget, save money and have a financially healthy mindset to manage your money responsibly.
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This post and content is sponsored, written and provided by Capitec.