Whether you’re going from top to bottom or jiggly to jacked, stairs can help take you to the next level. Inclines force the body to use muscles that standard floor exercises don’t, resulting in improved balance and strength and a tighter abs, butt and thighs. But that’s not all, studies have found people who climb more than 55 flights of stairs every week live longer and those who follow stair-climbing programs improve the amount of HDL - the good cholesterol - in the blood.
To become a true stair-master, try these exercises from Life Fitness:
- Step up to the stepper: While the line for the treadmill is around the corner, the stair stepper usually sits wide open. Rather than avoid the mystery machine, step up to the challenge by using a pyramid technique. Gradually move from low intensity for a longer time, to high intensity for a shorter time, and then back down again. Keep your heart rate up by increasing the difficulty level on the machine.
- Lunge and squat: Add variety to your lunges and squats by adding steps. When lunging, place your foot one or two steps up then bend at the knee so your thigh is parallel to ground; return to start. For squats, stand sideways on the staircase and place one foot on the second step, push off as you raise arms above your head, and straighten your leg on the ground.
- Be a two-timer: Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a great way to add exercise to your day. To get the maximum benefit, take the stairs two at a time, focusing on pushing up with the back of your legs, (hamstrings), and butt, (glutes), rather than pulling with your legs, (quads), as you climb.
- Come Down, Too: The benefit of stair climbing doesn’t stop when you’ve reached the top. Walking down stairs or even downhill has been proven to reduce blood sugar levels and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Just remember to watch where you’re going, it’s easier to trip on the way down.
Stair climbing workouts do add extra pressure to the knees and joints so be sure to pay attention to any hip, knee or ankle pain. And be sure to use the handrails for extra balance as you master the techniques.
Fit Tips are provided by Life Fitness, the leader in designing and manufacturing high-quality exercise equipment for fitness facilities and homes worldwide. For more information on FitTips and other fitness advice and expertise visitwww.lifefitness.com.