Want to know a secret for staying fit? Running (or walking) the stairs. Living in the city has its advantages. It also has the ability to make you a little lazy. The escalators. The public transportation. The elevators. My building has two elevators and being the 15th floor, I use the "up" machine daily.
To counteract the potential to be lazy, I made a pact to take active forms of "transportation" whenever possible. I found that adding stairs to every day positively impacted my muscle tone ALL OVER. Not even kidding. I have been a runner for my entire life, and I love running, but I think I found a new love: stairs. Running stairs. Walking stairs. Dancing up the stairs. Incorporating stairs into my daily routine gave me muscle and leaned my "hiking" thighs...which I love/hate.
After seeing the results, I did what I do best, research the physiological benefits of running stairs. Guess what? Evidence shows that men and women who run at least four flights of stairs each day could lose nearly a dress size in one year. And that is without doing anything else. The workouts that I added below, incorporate more than four flights and add strength into the circuits. I didn't stop running or lifting, rather I added this to my daily routine to get the best results.
Stair Workout for the Workday:
Workdays can be hectic. Use this plan to squeeze in a few flights of stairs throughout the day! Aim for just 15 minutes a day of stairs to get the benefits.
At Home: If you have a second floor, go up and down the stairs 3-4 times ,while the coffee is brewing or the kids are eating their breakfasts.
At the Office: Skip the elevator. Aim to climb at least 2-3 flights of stairs each day at work. Take the stairs after you've eaten or down to the parking garage. If you work in a tall building, take the first few flights of stairs, and the use the elevator for the rest of the way up...unless
On the Streets: Walk up escalators or take the stairs, if available, at any location. Quick, light steps are best. Avoid ramps. Take stairs.
Stair Workout for the Weekend or Workout Days:
Rev up your metabolism, burn fat and increase your endurance by making this workout part of your weekly routine. I do it every evening after dinner. If you are new to stairs, then consider starting with 2-3 times per week. The key to this workout is to take the stairs one at a time to burn up to 14% more calories than taking stairs two at a time (some ridiculous study from the University of Roehampton).
Circuit One: Run up four flights of stairs and back down, making sure to run them quickly, just the balls of your feet hitting the steps. Run back down. Complete a stair dip (just like regular dips, but with the stairs...you've hit the decline point when your bum touches the stair). Perform 10-12 reps.
Circuit Two: Run the stairs this time with a widened stance. Remember to keep your arms moving! Descend the stairs and do 10-12 push ups followed by 20 squats.
Circuit Three: On the final run of stairs, repeat circuit one stairs. Descend and complete 30 calf raises, jumping jacks and sit ups.
If you add stairs into your workout routine, I guarantee that you will see a toned body in a few months. Make sure you are eating right and getting enough sleep too. Let me know how it goes!