When we think of an exercise that is simple and needs no equipment, walking or jogging immediately pop up in our mind. We tend to forget that climbing stairs is also beneficial for our health. Right from increasing muscle strength, building endurance and reducing weight, climbing stairs can offer many health benefits. Now, a new study has revealed that it may help to boost heart health as well. All you have to do is take five flights of stairs every single day to lower your chances of getting a heart attack and other heart-related diseases.
Climbing over five flights of stairs, which is about 50 steps, every day could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 20 percent, as per a study published in the journal Atherosclerosis in September 2023.
For 12-and-a-half years, the health of 458,860 people living in the UK, were monitored by Tulane University scientists. At the beginning of the study, they were asked how often they climbed the stairs. The participants were quizzed about it again five years later.
During the research, it was noticed that 39,043 ended up with atherosclerosis, which is where the arteries get narrowed. This makes it hard for blood to flow through them, and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, according to the National Health Service (NHS), atherosclerosis.
Some may not show any signs of atherosclerosis, but here are a few symptoms.
• Pain in the arms, legs and chest
• Feeling short of breath
• Easily getting tired
• Feeling very weak
According to the NHS, making lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, eating a balanced diet and working out regularly can help to stop atherosclerosis from getting worse.
Climbing stairs can be helpful, as the September 2023 study showed that volunteers who climbed one to five flights of stairs every day were three percent less likely to have atherosclerosis, compared with those who didn’t take the stairs. It was also noted that people who climbed at least six flights in a day had a 16 percent lower risk of the illness, which can lead to strokes and heart attacks. It was concluded that climbing more than five flights of stairs was an effective way to improve heart health.
The study author Dr Lu Qi says short bursts of “high-intensity stair climbing are a time-efficient way to improve cardiorespiratory fitness.”
The author shares that an increased risk of cardiovascular disease among those who were more susceptible, such as people who had high blood pressure or a family history of the disease, could “effectively offset” their risk by climbing stairs every day.
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He adds the findings of the study highlight the potential benefits of climbing stairs, and a “primary preventive measure for Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in the general population.”
As per the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the world. It takes lives of about 17.9 million people in a year. More than four out of five deaths are due to strokes and heart attacks. About one third of these deaths happen prematurely in people under the age of 70, according to WHO. You can keep heart diseases by not smoking, eating well and drinking less alcohol. Try taking the stairs too, as much as you can. This simple healthy habit may help to keep your heart strong and pumping.