If you are going to lose weight, you need to either burn more calories, consume fewer calories, or a combination of both. Both walking and climbing stairs are forms of aerobic exercise that are effective at burning calories. They also can be performed at different intensity, depending on your fitness level and the amount of calories you wish to burn. Consult with your health care provider before beginning an exercise program.
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A safe weight loss is between 1 and 2 lbs. each week. Keep a record of the amount of calories you consume over a two-week period. Be sure to include all beverages. After the two weeks, determine the average amount of calories you consume daily. There are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat. By maintaining your average daily intake of calories -- and burning an additional 750 calories each day -- you should lose approximately 1.5 lbs. each week. Keep in mind, that walking and climbing stairs can help you lose weight as long as they put your body into a caloric deficit.
Walking is a good form of exercise if you are a beginner. It requires very little in the way of equipment or technique. Generally, it is best to gradually increase your speed and the distance that you walk. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that if you are a healthy adult under 65, you should perform at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week. However, if you are trying to lose weight you may need to do more. The amount of calories you burn walking depends on the terrain, how much you weigh, and how fast you walk. For example, a 155 pound individual burns approximately 334 calories an hour walking at 4 mph. The same individual would burn approximately 596 calories an hour while race walking at approximately 5 mph.
Climbing stairs is an aerobic exercise that also strengthens the muscles of your lower body. When you climb stairs, you are working against gravity, which causes the muscles of your thighs, buttocks and calves to work harder than they would on level ground. You will burn more calories climbing stairs than you will walking because it is a more vigorous aerobic activity. For example, a 155 pound individual burns approximately 446 calories in an hour walking up stairs. If you have a history of knee injuries, consult with your health care provider before beginning a stair climbing program.
To add variety to your workouts, you can combine walking with climbing stairs. The combination of walking and climbing stairs will also burn more calories than walking alone. The form of exercise that alternates between high intensity exercise and lower intensity exercise is called interval training. The amount of time you spend climbing stairs versus walking could be set in advance, or it could depend on how you feel on a given day. Consult with your health care provider first, before transitioning from a walking program to interval training.