Taking the stairs is often a daily habit associated with keeping one's body healthy. It is a low-cost, no-equipment, and accessible way to include exercise in the daily routine. Now, a new study shows that it can also reduce the risk of heart disease.
The study, led by researchers from Tulane University, found that climbing more than five flights of stairs daily could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 20%. Currently, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), along with coronary artery disease and stroke, are the leading causes of death globally, according to Tulane University’s press statement.
For the study, published in Atherosclerosis, the researchers used data collected from more than 450,000 adults in the UK Biobank, to calculate their susceptibility to cardiovascular disease. The findings showed that climbing more stairs daily decreased the risk of cardiovascular disease in those who were less susceptible. The researchers also added increased risk of heart disease in more susceptible people could be “effectively offset” by climbing stairs daily, the statement explains.
Furthermore, the researchers also found that people who stopped climbing stairs daily during the study showed a 32% higher risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those who never reported climbing stairs. “Short bursts of high-intensity stair climbing are a time-efficient way to improve cardiorespiratory fitness and lipid profile, especially among those unable to achieve the current physical activity recommendations,” the study’s corresponding author Lu Qi said in the statement. The findings highlight how stair climbing can be a primary preventive measure for ASCVD, Qi added.
Previous studies have also found health benefits in climbing stairs daily. A 2021 study by McMaster University found that stair-climbing routines, whether vigorous or moderate, can result in significant cardiovascular and muscular benefits, as reported by Science Daily. Another study, led by The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), showed that stair climbing lowers blood pressure but also builds leg strength, especially in postmenopausal women with oestrogen deficiencies who are more susceptible to vascular and muscle problems.
These studies show how simple lifestyle interventions such as stair climbing can be effective in preventing health risks and maintaining overall well-being.