Study: Climbing 5 flights of stairs a day may reduce heart disease risk
Climbing five flights of stairs can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 20% according to a recent study published in Atherosclerosis Journal. The study collected data from more than 400,000 adult participants in the United Kingdom.
"These findings highlight the potential advantages of stair climbing as a primary preventive measure for ASCVD (Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease) in the general population," study corresponding author Lu Qi, MD, Ph.D., HCA Regents Distinguished Chair and professor at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, said in a news release.
Experts say climbing stairs is more effective for cardiovascular health than walking 10,000 steps a day. They based this off the data collected from participants who are susceptible to cardiovascular disease based on their "family history, genetic risk factors and established risk factors such as high blood pressure and history of smoking," along with their lifestyle habits.
The researchers followed up with the participants after 12½ years.
"Short bursts of high-intensity stair climbing are a time-efficient way to improve cardiorespiratory fitness and lipid profile, especially among those unable to achieve the current physical activity recommendations," Qi stated in the press release.
The research also showed participants who stopped climbing stairs daily saw a 32% increase in cardiovascular disease.
According to Well and Good, climbing stairs daily can help lower the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, lower blood pressure, and improve balance and skeletal muscles.
While adding a few extra flights during your day is great, experts recommend taking it in stride, especially if you're not used to that kind of activity.
"If the shortness of breath becomes more significant or chest pain occurs, you may want to seek medical attention, just as you would with any exercise," Ronald G. Grifka, MD, FAAP, FACC, FSCAI, cardiologist and chief medical officer at the University of Michigan Health-West, told Well and Good.
More information: Zimin Song et al, Daily stair climbing, disease susceptibility, and risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease: A prospective cohort study, Atherosclerosis (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2023.117300
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