A new study suggests that a simple everyday activity can help reduce the risk of heart disease by 20%. The activity is stair-climbing, and it can be done anywhere, anytime, and by anyone who is physically able.
Stair-climbing and atherosclerosis
The study, published in the medical journal Atherosclerosis, found that climbing five flights of stairs per day could decrease the risk of atherosclerosis, or atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). Atherosclerosis is a common condition that develops when plaque builds up inside the arteries, narrowing them and reducing blood flow. This can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and other complications.
The researchers analyzed data from more than 458,000 adults who participated in the UK Biobank, a large-scale health and genetic study. They followed them for an average of 12 years and recorded their stair-climbing habits, as well as their medical history and lifestyle factors.
They found that those who climbed five flights of stairs, or approximately 50 steps, each day had a 20% lower risk of developing ASCVD than those who did not. This was true even after adjusting for other factors such as age, sex, smoking, diet, and physical activity.
Why stair-climbing is good for your heart
Stair-climbing is a form of high-intensity aerobic exercise that can improve your cardiovascular fitness and endurance. It can also strengthen your muscles, bones, and joints, as well as burn calories and fat.
According to Dr. Lu Qi, one of the authors of the study and a professor at Tulane University in Louisiana, stair-climbing can be a convenient and time-efficient way of exercising for busy people. “Stair-climbing can be easily incorporated into daily life, such as climbing stairs at home, at work, or in public places,” he said.
Dr. Laxmi Mehta, a non-invasive cardiologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, agreed that stair-climbing can be beneficial for heart health. She told Fox News Digital that “routine, short bursts of high-intensity exercise, such as climbing stairs, on a regular basis can improve heart disease risk factors with lower blood pressure and healthier weight.”
How to start stair-climbing safely
If you want to start stair-climbing as a way to lower your heart disease risk, you should consult your doctor first, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are not used to exercising. You should also start gradually and increase your intensity and duration over time.
Some tips to make stair-climbing more enjoyable and effective are:
- Warm up before you start by doing some light stretching or walking.
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothing that allow you to move freely.
- Choose a safe and well-lit staircase that has handrails and is not too steep or slippery.
- Maintain good posture and balance by keeping your back straight and your core engaged.
- Breathe deeply and evenly throughout the exercise.
- Pace yourself and take breaks if needed.
- Cool down after you finish by doing some more stretching or walking.
Stair-climbing is a simple everyday activity that could slash your heart disease risk by 20%, according to a new study. It is also a great way to improve your fitness, strength, and overall well-being. So why not give it a try today?