Health Professional? Refer a Patient

Take the stairs or take the escalator? Here is one choice often faced and this lifestyle choice can greatly affect your health in the long-term.

The benefits that one can see by simply taking the stairs up to the office or up to the apartment are outstanding. Bone health, muscle strength, balance, energy use and heart and blood vessel health are all health related factors which benefit from ‘taking the stairs.’

The repetitive impact and forces placed on the body stimulate the bones in the legs, hips and spine to have a higher turnover of bone which can increase bone mineral density or at least help maintain what is there. Lifting the body up on one leg, again in a repetitive fashion, causes muscle activity through the lower limbs and hips which improves strength. There is a technique to help you step up stairs which optimises the benefits; push down through the heel and squeeze the bottom of the working leg. Taking a period of time on only one foot challenges your body’s awareness of itself in space and improves balance.

All of these factors together cause an increased blood flow and, depending on fitness level and the amount of stairs taken, will raise the heart rate. This improves the health of the blood vessels as well as the most important muscle in the body – the heart. Ultimately, the use of stairs as opposed to an elevator causes increased energy expenditure. There is a drastic difference between standing still in the elevator versus taking the stairs and often this simple lifestyle change is enough to tip the scales and promote weight loss.