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Running up stairs is a time-honored way to improve aerobic conditioning. Take them 2 at a time if you're athletic and consider them to be part of your interval training. Even if you're new to exercise, you can benefit from walking up stairs whenever you get a chance. The calories burned will add up, and your conditioning will improve. If you have trouble finding time to exercise, take 10 minutes once or twice a day and walk up and down stairs at work (or before or after). Hold on to the rail if you need to.
Is it really as benefical to go down the stairs as it is going up?
I have been running stairs at least 3 times a week for the last month.
I take two stairs at a time as fast as I can. So far I can go up 7 flights of stairs in our office building.
It has made a big difference in my breathing and my leg stability.
I take the stairs at work, also at home. It does build strength in your legs, and taking two at a time is great, I am 61 and keeping up my strength is paramount as you get older. You want to be able to get up on your own.
Going down the stairs is absolutely as beneficial as running up them. It's like walking, because we give a great workout to the muscles that move us forward, but what about the ones that move us backwards? Well, if your goal is total body fitness, try walking backwards either on a track/treadmill/elliptical and you'll see great results. Just don't run up or down stairs backwards please :)
Great tip! I love taking advantage of any stairs that i can find, even if i'm not going up the stairs, its hard to pass up a few flights of stairs just to get the heart pumping a bit in the middle of the day. After not being able to even think about walking up stairs for the first half of my life, I attack them now just to get back at those stairs for years of torment!
And use the time it takes to get back down the stairs as a break, like you were doing intervals.