When someone asks me which product targets cellulite, the first answer I give is to climb stairs. It is remarkable, effective and truly works. I can't breeze through a 5k run or an intense PT session but I have built myself up to climbing 40 flights of stairs a day because it doesn't feel like a workout. Running exhausts me, ages the face and hurts the knees. But I am really into stair climbing and I want more people to know about it - not only as the best remedy for cellulite, but also as an incredible way to workout that so many people are overlooking! It’s so powerful. So much so that research findings are suggesting that regularly climbing more than five flights of stairs at home each day is linked to a decreased risk of both all-cause mortality and cancer mortality. Stair climbing can literally help reduce your risk of dying!
When I'm in LA, I love working out with Rob Parr, who used to train Madonna. He's all about incorporating stair climbing into my fitness routine too. It's become a major game-changer for me and I’ve really noticed the change in my body. Today, I’m going to tell you how stair climbing can boost your health and your body, and I’m going to run you through some of the science and the studies too.
For me (and the science shows it too) stair climbing is an exercise that ticks all of the boxes. It torches fat, strengthens your lower body, tones your glutes, thighs and calves, helps shed inches off your waist and stomach and also helps sculpt your stomach and your abs. On top of that, it does wonders for your lungs and cardiovascular system as well as targeting those tough-to-reach cellulite spots too. And the best part? It’s totally free. Most of us can access a set of stairs somewhere - whether that’s out in public, in your apartment block or in your gym on the stepper. And if you're short on time, it's a practical way to boost fitness and a fantastic way to maximize calorie burn efficiently. Let’s chat about the benefits and how they go so much further than just focusing on building a peachy bum.
Cardiovascular Benefits and Keeping Your Heart Healthy
This one feels obvious because stairs are well known for taking the air out of you, but researchers from McMaster University and UBC Okanagan have discovered that incorporating short intervals of stair climbing into your daily routine can significantly enhance cardiovascular health. By improving heart health, you can ultimately experience an enhanced quality of life, and studies are backing this up too. A study involving 31 sedentary young women revealed that engaging in a stair interval workout, consisting of three sets of 20 sprints up the stairs, three times a week for six weeks, led to a remarkable 12 percent improvement in their Vo2 max. Vo2 max serves as an indicator of cardiorespiratory fitness. The researchers concluded that stair climbing is a time-efficient method to enhance overall fitness, even for individuals who are new to exercise. So, stair climbing can work for everyone. McMaster University and UBC Okanagan research also shows that climbing stairs lowers the risk of stroke too.
Strengthen Your Bones
Engaging in regular stair climbing has been found to have a positive impact on bone density and can significantly reduce the risk of osteoporosis, particularly in elderly women, as demonstrated by a study conducted at Duke University. By consistently taking the stairs, you can effectively strengthen your bones, enhance bone density, and lower your susceptibility to osteoporosis. It offers important benefits for the long-term health and well-being of elderly women. I’ve written before about the importance of bone health and how holi (mane) can help in the journey to strong, healthy and holi (bones). Read that article here.
Helps with Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions, including high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar levels, abnormal cholesterol levels, and excess abdominal fat. Having metabolic syndrome increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes but studies are showing that daily stair climbing can help with metabolic syndrome. In a study involving 782 women with an average age of 58, researchers explored the relationship between daily stair climbing and metabolic syndrome.The results showed that those who did not engage in daily stair climbing were 72 percent more likely to have metabolic syndrome compared to those who reported regular stair climbing.
Cellulite Reduction / Management
Recent studies have hinted at the significance of an overloaded lymphatic system in contributing to cellulite formation. When this system fails to eliminate waste substances effectively, toxins and byproducts can accumulate in the subcutaneous tissue, giving rise to cellulite. That's where stair climbing comes to the rescue! I love stair climbing because it’s a workout that focuses on those trouble areas prone to cellulite accumulation. By moving up and down the stairs, you engage your lymphatic system, preventing any stagnation and helping eliminate waste materials. Plus, it gets your heart rate pumping and improves circulation, giving a delightful boost to vasodilation and enhancing blood flow throughout your entire body. Studies have looked into the effects of descending and ascending exercise on body composition and confirmed that it increases body composition, as well as reducing pro-inflammatory factors within the body.
Mood-Boosting, Endorphin Highs
Stair climbing has been shown to provide an energizing endorphin high. In a study involving young adults, men who engaged in three one-minute stair climbing intervals reported feeling more energetic and less tense and tired compared to a control session without stair climbing. Another study conducted with sleep-deprived college-age women, showed stair walking to be more effective than low dose caffeine. More specifically, it showed that 10 minutes of low-to-moderate intensity stair walking was found to be more energizing than consuming 50 milligrams of caffeine (equivalent to half a cup of coffee according to USDA). This suggests that stair climbing can be an effective way to boost energy levels, especially for women.
The researchers hypothesize that the intense nature of stair climbing may enhance blood flow to the brain or activate specific brain regions associated with cognitive performance, contributing to the mood-enhancing effects observed too. These cognitive advantages are also documented in other studies. 2019 research suggests that engaging in short bouts of stair climbing in a real-life setting can lead to cognitive benefits, particularly for more demanding tasks. However, it should be noted that these effects appear to be specific to males.
Stair climbing has some fantastic benefits for cholesterol too. Not only does it lower LDL (the "bad") cholesterol and increase HDL (the "good") cholesterol, which protects your arteries and reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke, but it also helps burn calories and eliminate excess fat, although at a moderate rate.
So, if you're looking for a fun and effective way to stay in shape and improve your cholesterol levels, stair climbing is definitely worth a try! The science just backs up further why this is a daily ritual for me whenever I can find some stairs or a stair climber. Not only is it helping my body and pain management in the present moment, but it’s also helping my health in the ‘future’. And anything that helps me get through the day without grabbing too much coffee? It’s a winner. Let me know how you get on with stair climbing.
***THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED OR REGULATED BY THE FDA. WE ARE NOT DOCTORS, THEREFORE ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST***