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Can Taking the Stairs Really Prolong Your Life? You Bet!

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
9/10/2008 7:14 AM   :  53 comments

See More: fitness, in the news, health,
A study at the University of Geneva has shown how something as small as taking the stairs instead of the elevator can have a big impact on your health. The study started with 69 participants who had a sedentary lifestyle, meaning they did less than two hours of exercise each week and climbed fewer than 10 flights of stairs each day. Over the 12 weeks of the study, participants were asked to take the stairs instead of the elevator, increasing their average number of flights from five to 23.

After three months, tests showed they had better lung capacity, cholesterol and blood pressure levels, their fitness level improved and they also lost weight. Researchers say that these results reduced their risk of dying young by 15%!

Although larger-scale studies would need to validate these results, they are very promising. This is a good example of how small bits of activity can make a huge difference in your health. You donít need to spend hours at the gym each day to get some of the health benefits a little extra activity can provide.

Short on time? Find out how to squeeze exercise into your busy day!


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Comments

  • 53
    That's good news as the closest bathroom for me is 36 steps to the second floor. :o) - 2/12/2009   6:34:47 PM
  • 52
    I work in a hotel , and my office is on thel obby level, so to loose weight i decided to take the stairs to the upper floore and that is the 9th floor and get back down. I do this ounce a day and i saw a big diference . - 2/12/2009   12:01:05 PM
  • 51
    Wow! Who would have thought the stairs would provide such a great benefit! - 2/12/2009   7:52:36 AM
  • MRSPHANTOM
    50
    Who'd have thought something so simple could have such a great impact!! Thanks for posting this!! - 1/7/2009   10:52:28 PM
  • 49
    I am a stair diva everyday! With the laundry downstairs and then bedrooms up, I am constantly up and down! - 11/19/2008   9:55:34 AM
  • 48
    Funny how many here do the STAIRS! For me, a few simple things.... don't use the REMOTE!!! Park farther out and WALK into the store!!!

    Amazing how little it takes to follow this idea! - 10/10/2008   7:41:21 PM
  • 47
    My bedroom is on the 3rd floor and the laundry is in the basement. Climbing all those stairs to do wash. Phew!!!! - 9/12/2008   11:54:55 PM
  • 46
    I live on the 3rd floor of my apartment building and I have seen the results in my life from going up and down stairs all day. I love it and have noticed all the above is true. I feel so much better than when I moved in here almost 4 years ago.
    - 9/12/2008   1:14:36 AM
  • 45
    We have 2 sets of steps in the house. I usually make no less then 15 trips up and down them each day. My lung capacity has definitely improved and my butt haha is gone for the first time in my life. Steps are great for other things than breathing. - 9/11/2008   10:45:48 PM
  • FROGSTYR
    44
    Hmm...leads to increased lung capacity? I work on the second floor of a building that has no elevator and run the steps all day long. Since I started working there I have had to used less and less of my asthma medication. Never would have thought that the improvement in the asthma could be connected to running up and down the stairs...very interesting! - 9/11/2008   9:12:43 PM
  • 43
    I take the stairs every chance I get and park away from the entrance. Any and all steps count and work!! - 9/11/2008   5:48:06 PM
  • 42
    ooh i do the stairs 10-20 times a day to get to the computer and spark people in the two years i've been doing it i have gone from one step because one knee couldn't bear weight to having both knees work again YEEHAW!!!! and it all counts towards spark goodies to give my friends LOL mary - 9/11/2008   12:47:49 PM
  • 41
    If stairs are there I take them. I'm also the one who parks in the very back of the parking lot. Exercise of any kind is great. - 9/11/2008   8:55:00 AM
  • 40
    A year ago I would do everything possible to avoid stairs - bad knees - but now that I am working out over an hour a day, my knees don't bother me and neither do stairs! - 9/11/2008   5:17:21 AM
  • 39
    When I go anywhere there is stairs that are accessible I take those instead most of the time. The only time I do not take the stairs is when my osteoarthritis is really bothering me or if i am taking my grandmother somewhere because she is in a wheelchair. - 9/11/2008   12:04:00 AM
  • 38
    I had to give up walking up and down a lot of stairs because my knee gives out after a bit. When I could do it I loved it. It was great for beautiful looking legs. - 9/10/2008   7:47:45 PM
  • 37
    My laundry room is located very inconveniently in the basement.

    Terrific! I love that every load takes me up and down the stairs two or three times, what with running down to put the laundry in, running down to take the laundry out, carrying the laundry upstairs to fold, etc. - 9/10/2008   5:16:10 PM
  • 36
    Almost daily, I see teenagers in our three-story office building waiting for the elevator. Around town, I see almost eveyone pushing the handicap-assist buttons to open doors for them. All of these conveniences are really hurting people more than they help. Let's use our muscles instead! - 9/10/2008   4:33:14 PM
  • 35
    Now that I have 2 knee replacements, I decided to take the stairs yesterday. I was very slow but it was the first time in 12 years that I could do it without pain. The feeling was exhilarating!!! - 9/10/2008   4:05:05 PM
  • 34
    I don't work outside the home, but I do try to use the stairs whenever I am out and about, unless its too many floors, I am still working on building stamina. - 9/10/2008   4:04:43 PM
  • 33
    Any exercise is better than no exercise so if I could take the stairs and get some benefits out of it, I would definitely do it. - 9/10/2008   3:41:52 PM
  • JAZZERCISEGENIE
    32
    I've been doing that for years also parking along way from the store. I try and get as much activity into a day as possible. - 9/10/2008   3:14:53 PM
  • 25%GONE
    31
    Yippie - this is what I'm trying to add to my day. I go to the restroom on another floor at work and try to always take the stairs. - 9/10/2008   3:10:28 PM
  • 30
    Excellent news in deed!! - 9/10/2008   2:55:21 PM
  • 29
    I wish I had this option! - 9/10/2008   2:15:20 PM
  • 28
    I have used the stairs at work almost exclusively for years. At home I have no choice. I do like that there is a published study now that points out how this little change can make such a big difference. - 9/10/2008   1:24:05 PM
  • 27
    I have forced myself to take the stairs at work for the past three weeks. I'm on the third floor and have to climb 6 "flights" of 9 stairs. I'm still out of breath by the time I get to my floor, but my legs don't complain as much as they used to. - 9/10/2008   1:18:10 PM
  • 26
    same said for benefits of using a stair or eliptical trainer! I was recently told I had the lungs of a 24 yr. old- I'm over 40! - 9/10/2008   1:04:20 PM
  • 25
    I takes the stairs all the time. At first I didn't think it was a big deal because I am only on the second floor but I started marking down every time I went up and down the stairs and WOW. I average 10-12 round trip flights of stairs on a quiet day at work, but on crazy days I have done as many 26 round trip flights of stairs. - 9/10/2008   12:59:02 PM
  • 24
    There are 10 floors @ my place of employment. When I initially committed to taking stairs, I was only able to go 3 flights without stopping but felt most comfortable with 2. . I decided to make it fun. I would start on thee3rd floor (the one I mainly worked on @ the time), go up 2 flights (5th floor), walk around the floor for 60-90 seconds, go down 3 flights (2nd floor), walk around for 60-90 seconds, go up 2 flights (4th floor), walk around, go down 3 flights (1st floor), walk around, go up 2 flights to end on 3rd floor. I could accomplish this easily during my 15 minute break and felt invigorated. I changed up my game plan off and on to increase my endurance. On vacation I was taking 10-11 flights @ a time. A few times I beat my sister who was on the elevator. - 9/10/2008   11:48:39 AM
  • 23
    I try to take the stairs where I work, but usually I can only take them down! I work at a hospital, and have to take the elevator when I am walking patients to their rooms, but if I am by myself, I take the stairs everytime. Occasionally, I will spend my lunch break climbing the 6 flights up and down.... Whew! - 9/10/2008   11:46:31 AM
  • JERSEYPEARL
    22
    During a recent trip to Brazil... we were located on the 4th floor of our hotel. I am a bit claustrophobic and chose not to get into the old creepy elevator. By the third time in/out of the hotel, my husband was taking the stairs with me, then my teenagers started (their reasons were they didn't want me in the stairwell alone). I didn't have much time for work outs while on that vacation and of course indulged in every Brazilian food available... but when I got home, I hadn't gained one pound! I definately think taking the stairs all those times helped with that. - 9/10/2008   11:38:59 AM
  • 21
    I'm going to send this to our Deputy Director. We are moving into a five-story building at the end of the year and our Deputy Director is encouraging everyone to sign an no elevator pledge. The main reason, I believe, is that we will have a "green" building and she wants us to take it even further. The health benefits to the people taking the pledge is a bonus. - 9/10/2008   11:25:29 AM
  • 20
    I take the stairs all the time.........unfortunately I'm only on the second floor! - 9/10/2008   11:10:17 AM
  • 19
    I try to take the stairs whenever possible, but my office doesn't allow us to- the doors are alarmed and only for emergencies. I do make sure I walk up the escalator from the subway. :) - 9/10/2008   11:03:43 AM
  • 18
    When I worked in an office building and worked on the 11th floor. I would try to walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. At first it was hard but them got easier. - 9/10/2008   10:57:48 AM
  • 17
    OK I can do this. Our bedroom is on the second floor and I usually only make about 5 trips up and down a day. I will intentionally add more every day from now on.!! Maybe double it anyway. - 9/10/2008   10:56:19 AM
  • 16
    My husband & I used to run up & down the stadium steps (where the many rows of bleachers are) at the high school he attended in the 70's. This is also great exercise for those who don't have stairs available where they live.. - 9/10/2008   10:44:35 AM
  • STEPFANIER
    15
    Oh, and in the book "French Women Don't Get Fat," one of the reasons the author cites is that escalators and elevators are few and far between in Europe. The French, especially Parisians, are accustomed to walking up to a sixth-floor apartment. - 9/10/2008   10:34:41 AM
  • STEPFANIER
    14
    The newspaper where I used to work was in a 25-story building; we occupied six floors. I was constantly amazed by the number of people who, when we had meetings just one floor away, would take the elevator. I always take the stairs, and sometimes I would take the stairs from floors 1-10, then the elevator to 16 (floors 11-15 were closed to the public).
    I'm a really impatient person, and I don't like it when people stand on escalators if they're capable of walking, if they stand on the moving walkways in airports (that's free exercise!), and take the elevator one floor!
    When I lived in Korea, the elevator in my building often broke down. Once, in the middle of a hot Seoul summer, the water tower on top of the building burst, flooding the elevator shafts. We had no elevator for a week. I lived on the 15th floor. I skipped the gym many days that week. Walking up those stairs a few times a day -- often carrying groceries or a 6-pack of 1.5 liter bottles of water --was exercise enough! - 9/10/2008   10:32:21 AM
  • 13
    woohooo! glad i love the gym. :) - 9/10/2008   10:16:46 AM
  • 12
    This good news! Thx! - 9/10/2008   10:13:28 AM
  • SEVERNORIDE
    11
    alright! - 9/10/2008   10:02:40 AM
  • 10
    i'd be glad to take the stairs.....what another great reason to! - 9/10/2008   10:00:32 AM
  • 9
    I have KATHY SMITH Step-aerobics videos and DENISE AUSTIN and KAREN VOIGHT, so I'm sure they are as helpful as going somewhere to find 8 flights of stairs to climb. In Pensacola, that would be only the Navy Hospital and maybe one of the downtown Bank buildings. LOL - 9/10/2008   9:50:18 AM
  • 8
    I began taking the stairs when my Mom had chemo and man I felt like I needed an oxygen tank when I got there it was only 8 flights I actually got better at it. I don't mind using the stairs. - 9/10/2008   9:49:22 AM
  • LIBRARYLEADER
    7
    I do many flights of stairs each day and I have grumbled about it more than once. I knew that it was good for my heart but but I would sometimes mentally fight it. I will now look at the stairs in a better light. - 9/10/2008   9:08:19 AM
  • 6
    I take the stairs at work I'm on the 4 th floor. I can feel it in my legs everytime I take the stairs and also my breathing allows me to make it all the way without stopping in between floors. It works. - 9/10/2008   9:04:07 AM
  • 5
    This is so funny to see this article, because I have been doing this for years, when we go on vacation I always take the stairs, at resorts, on cruises everywhere, my travel partners think I'm crazy. Especially when at one resort in Cancun we stayed on the 6th floor. - 9/10/2008   8:45:21 AM
  • 4
    It amazes me that I can read these types of articles and tips and not put them in action on a regular basis. I think that I, lacking motivation mostly, give myself the excuse that 6 flights of stairs is too much before work when you are running late. But maybe I'll start small and take the elevator to the 4th floor and walk 2 and increase it over a few weeks. Its an exercise class right at my work and I should take advantage... its free! - 9/10/2008   8:39:57 AM

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