Climb Stairs And Stay Healthy

Everybody knows that walking from the TV to the fridge does not qualify as exercise, and those few steps to the mailbox don’t do the trick either, when it comes to staying fit. But by the same token it is also a fallacy to believe that only the work-out in the gym will reap benefits and improve aerobic capacity. According to Dr. Philippe Meyer and colleagues at Geneva University Hospital in Switzerland, the mundane task of taking the stairs can show statistically significant changes in aerobic capacity, decrease in body weight, decrease in fat mass, waist circumference, decrease in diastolic blood pressure and increase in heart healthy HDL cholesterol. Dr. Meyer asked 77 healthy hospital workers including 20 physicians to exclusively use the stairs at the 12-storey hospital. During this 12 week quest for more fitness promotional signs encouraged stair climbing. All of those 77 participants were a sedentary group of individuals. Nevertheless they had to walk…the cafeteria was on the twelfth floor! At the baseline the participants walked up and down an average of 4.5 storeys per day, and at the end of the twelve weeks they were walking about 20.6 storeys per day.

Climb Stairs and Stay Healthy

Climb stairs and stay healthy

The tangible results showed that aerobic capacity and fat mass remained significantly improved, even though the participants walked less storeys after 12 weeks. It seems that initial change of habits-walking instead of taking the elevator- had made the difference in the transformation from couch potato to more active individual.

Stair climbing is an excellent exercise for healthy individuals in the general population. This high intensity exercise cannot be recommended to heart patients that are not entirely stable or to a patient who has angina. In these cases caution and a supervised exercise program is needed.

More information about fitness:

The Medical Post, November 18, 2008, page 17

Last updated Nov. 6, 2014

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About Ray Schilling

Dr. Ray Schilling born in Tübingen, Germany and Graduated from Eberhard-Karls-University Medical School, Tuebingen in 1971. Once Post-doctoral cancer research position holder at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto, is now a member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M).


  1. Hello Dr. Ray,
    Bev Burnham, one of our Pilates teachers directed me to your site re: the new breast cancer treatment article. I like your site esp. the information about the recent medical convention in Las Vegas. I have been reading the Wheat Belly book with great interest and enjoyed your article on this topic.
    Re: climbing stairs for fitness, I’d like to share a tip with you & your readers.
    Many of my clients have knee trouble when climbing stairs. I have found there is increased knee pressure from the quads when “pulling” or hauling yourself up one step at a time.
    When you focus on pushing or driving yourself up the stairs you activate more of the gluts and hamstrings as you extend the hip and knee. I think of pressing my foot firmly into the step and pushing it away from me. My legs act like pistons and I actually look forward to climbing stairs now.
    Try it, you’ll like it too … No more strain on the knees!