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Stair climbing, the simplest physical activity truly beneficial for the heart, muscles and brain

May 25, 2021
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Stair climbing, the simplest physical activity truly beneficial for the heart, muscles and brain

Sometimes you really cannot go to the gym, or it is also possible that you don't like it. What to do in this case to keep fit and protect the heart and muscles? Climbing the stairs ... says a very recent scientific research published in the journal Frontiers in Sports and Active Living by a Canadian team.

Climbing the stairs and the well-being of the heart, the experiment

Climbing the stairs is a very simple type of physical exercise, close at hand and safe. To evaluate the effects of this type of activity, the researchers performed a study that involved about twenty volunteers, average age 61 years and with a diagnosed coronary heart disease. People with heart problems were chosen precisely because in these cases moderate physical activity is important to prevent complications and further heart disease. The volunteers were divided into two groups. The first group was asked to undergo sessions of moderate physical activity in the gym lasting 30 minutes each, twice a week for the first month and then three times a week for the next two months. The second group was asked to perform a different type of physical activity. Specifically, the sessions consisted of climbing six flights of twelve steps, repeating three times. Between one climb and the next, the volunteers had a minute and a half of rest to spend walking. The pace had to be fast but each participant was able to choose the intensity.

As for the first group, also for this second group the physical activity sessions were twice a week for the first month and then three times a week for the next two months. Both at the beginning, during and at the end of the experiment, the study participants underwent medical examinations in order to evaluate the cardiorespiratory capacity, which is the ability of the cardiac and respiratory systems to supply oxygen to the muscles. This value is important both for establishing the well-being of the heart but also for the brain and the body in general, as the higher this capacity, the greater the oxygen that reaches the tissues and that will be converted into energy.

Stair climbing improves cardiorespiratory capacity

What emerged is that both groups, already after 4 weeks of training, showed an improvement in cardiorespiratory capacity. Not only that, even the muscles had benefited, strengthening. And this is particularly important since the study was performed on people with heart problems, who therefore already had compromised muscles. Hence, even climbing stairs can counter if not reverse the process of muscle loss.

Sometimes it is good to give up the elevator ...

Maybe not all of us have six flights of stairs or have time to climb them three times, but it can certainly be a help for the heart, brain, muscles and general well-being of the whole organism to choose to climb the stairs, perhaps with a brisk step, to go to the office or at home rather than using the elevator.

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