You burn more calories running up and down stairs compared to jogging or cycling at a moderate pace without much of an incline, according to the American Council on Exercise.
Stair climbing can be a challenging activity, but tight and toned legs, improved cardiovascular fitness levels and weight loss are some of the benefits this exercise has to offer.
Choose times when there is low traffic on the stairs to avoid potential collisions while climbing.
1. Ready Set Go
Run up and down for at least 20 to 30 minutes daily. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends 150 to 300 minutes of moderately-intense cardio exercise every week. However, 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity may be necessary for weight loss.
Break your time down into smaller increments if necessary, such as 10 minutes three to six times a day. Warm up before you start to run by marching or jogging on the spot for five to 10 minutes. Warming up will elevate your heart rate and get your blood pumping so you don't start your stair routine "cold."
2. Track Your Pace
Count how many times you can run up and down the stairs in 60 seconds. Use a stopwatch to accurately time the 60 seconds. Try to keep beating your score.
For example, if you can run up the stairs 10 times in one minute, shoot for 11 times the next round. Do this for a total of 10 minutes, several times a day. It might be helpful to track your progress in a notebook or in an online or wearable fitness app.
3. Use Interval Training
Incorporate interval training into your run up and down the stairs, says the Mayo Clinic. Interval training involves alternating between low and high-intensities through the duration of the exercise.
For example, walk or run up and down at a normal pace for two minutes. Then sprint up and down for one minute. Alternately, sprint up the stairs. Then walk down. Run up every other step and walk down. The more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you will burn, even if you increase intensity for just a few minutes at a time.
4. Add Resistance to Your Workout
Add resistance by wearing a weighted vest, holding a medicine ball or dumbbells. Resistance training builds and strengthens muscle tone. Muscles burn calories as they strengthen and repair themselves, even while you rest. Because of this, calories are being burned both during and after your workout. Run up the stairs during resistance training, but always walk down to avoid injuries.
5. Wear the Right Shoes
Make sure the shoes you're wearing act as shock absorbers by having extra padding. In addition, the sole of the shoe should be compatible with the surface of the stair. If you're outside on concrete stairs you should have no problems. But if you are exercising on your own stairs at home and the risers are carpeted or bare wood, make sure that your footwear won't slip.
Talk to your doctor before starting a weight-loss program.