Fit Chic NYC’s Blog

Budget workout: Stair climbing

Bouncing off my last post – this year fitness is going primal (use what’s around you) and budget-friendly – and here’s a perfect example: STAIRS.

Yeah you’ve heard it before, take the stairs instead of the elevator and park your car further away from the front door so you have to walk that extra bit. It all seems minuscule but it really does add up! And in their recent revisions of exercise recommendations, the American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association recommend these short bursts of exercise to help in maintaining/losing weight and staying physically fit.

But why stairs? Well first of all they are everywhere – do you live in a two story home, walk up apartment (or one that’s below the 10th floor)? Great, consider this a free workout. If you live in NYC there are not only events such as the annual Empire State Building run up, but I hear some of the subway station entrances can be pretty brutal climbs as well (such as the Lexington and 59th Street stop). If you live on the coast, climb the lighthouses, I’ve climbed two in Florida so far! Using natural stairs not only budget-friendly, but environmentally-friendly as well! But if the climate and/or terrain doesn’t allow, incorporate the stair climber at your local gym into your weekly cardio routine.

Incorporating stair climbing into your daily routine will help whip you into shape. As opposed to other types of cardio, stair climbing not only gets your heart rate up but it’s great for toning the quads. WORKOUT TIP: When I stair climb I work in intervals. I’ll alternate between one minute at a faster pace taking one stair at a time, and one minute at a slower pace, taking the stairs two at a time and adding a kickback with the opposite leg to target my glutes.

In a great article written by The New York Times, chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise Cedric Bryant was quoted saying that “Stair climbing will give you a little more bang for your buck because of the vertical component,” and that it  “will be a bit more challenging and therefore allow you to burn more calories for that same amount of time” (as opposed to running or the elliptical).

Tips for the perfect climb:

  • Use proper posture – a comfortable upright position with minimal upper body involvement. Arm support should be used for stability and balance purposes only, not to  support your trunk. Basically, don’t slouch.
  • Place your entire foot on the stair with each step, unless you’re trying to tip-toe up. 
  • If you’re using stairs outside of the gym be smart and safe about your location. Don’t climb the stairs of an empty garage late at night.

3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

i have two questions
1. how long of a stair workout should i incorporate into my workouts
2. is the stepper just as good or does the stairmaster offer something extra


Comment by Stacy

I would aim to make each stair climbing session last for 30 minutes, and rotate it amongst other types of cardio throughout the week. For example, 30 minutes on the treadmill on Monday and Wednesday, 30 minutes on the elliptical on Tuesday and Friday and 30 minutes on the stair climber on Thursday. Mix it up to keep your body guessing! And stepper vs. stair master is your personal preference – just be sure to you’re able to keep good posture!
FYI: Here are the cardiovascular exercise recommendations from ACSM:
Do moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week OR Do vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week
*Moderate-intensity physical activity means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still being able to carry on a conversation.

Hope this helps!

Comment by fitchicnyc

Great article! Keep up the excellent work!

Comment by Adria

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