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When we think of fitness, we often only consider one thing: weight loss. But did you know being thin doesn’t mean that you’re fit! In fact, your respiratory health, heart health, and muscle strength dictate your physical state.
If this has made you wonder, just how fit—or unfit—you are, then here’s a test:
Climb four flights of stairs and time yourself. With this simple test you can assess the state of your heart health. And there’s legit research behind why this test works.
You see, a study presented by a team of Spanish researchers at a December 2020 scientific meeting of the European Society of Cardiology explains that climbing four flights of stairs within one minute indicates that the person’s heart is in a healthy state.
Study author Jesus Peteiro, MD, who is a cardiologist at University Hospital a Coruña in Spain also suggests that if you took more than one-and-half minutes to climb up four flights, then you should consult your physician.
While you’re at it, also pay attention to signs of shortness of breath, feeling lightheaded and dizzy—as these can be tell-tale signs of a heart problem as well.
How can climbing the stairs reduce your risk of heart disease?
You see, according to an article from Harvard Health Publishing, taking the stairs reduces the risk for heart disease by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and reducing stress. Not to mention, it can also help you maintain your weight—if not lose those extra kilos.
According to lifestyle coach and yoga expert Akshar, climbing the stairs makes for a great cardiovascular activity, making it a good way to include some physical exercise into your daily life—especially if you’re in a sedentary job.
Then there is also the fact that when you take the stairs, you build muscle, strengthen your heart as well as lungs.
Found yourself to be a slow climber?
If you took the four-flight test and found yourself to be a slow climber, or ended up panting for a long time afterwards, then here’s the deal: don’t panic. This is not the final assessment of your health.
Visit your doctor for a thorough checkup and then get on a daily exercise plan that helps you gain strength and feel fitter. Remember to take your doctor’s advice, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions.