Get fit with a stair climbing exercises at home

Keeping fit and healthy at home doesn’t have to always involve expensive equipment. In fact, one of the easiest things you can do to get your blood pumping day to day is using stairs for exercise.

According to the NHS, simply walking or jogging up and down stairs is an ideal way to keep fit, and it’s even better for you than jogging!

Other benefits of a stairs workout include strengthening the bones and improving weight management, and if you don’t have access to a staircase, you can simply do repeated step ups onto a stable box or ledge. Why not get the whole family involved?

Stair climbing cardio around the world

We conducted research into the most famous landmarks in the world and analysed how many steps were needed to either reach the highest tourist viewing point, or the top of the building, in order to get an understanding of which would get your heart racing the most. Ideal if you love nothing more than a good walking tour and keeping fit on holiday.

Coming out on top was Dubai’s renowned Burj Khalifa, with a step count of 2,909, while the One World Trade Center in New York came in second place with a step count of 2,226 to reach the highest point.  Other monuments on the list included Toronto’s CN Tower (1,776 steps), Sydney Harbour Bridge (1,332), the Eiffel Tower in Paris (674) and London’s Big Ben (334).

But for those not planning on a holiday to one of these destinations anytime soon, as well as analysing the step counts from monuments around the world, we’ve calculated how many times you’d have to climb your stairs at home to reach the equivalent heights of the various monuments.

If you’re doing stair climbing exercise at home, you’d need to head up and down your staircase 224 times to reach the dizzy heights of the Burj Khalifa, while it’s 171 climbs to equal the top of the One World Trade Center, and 158 climbs to match that of the KL Tower Observation Deck.

The benefits of stair climbing exercises

If that much stair climbing seems a little much, or you’re a beginner, just add a few stair climbs to your usual workout, increasing repetitions when you feel stronger and more confident. For seniors, stair climbing exercise is also a great way to keep your body moving, while being fairly low-impact on the joints.

It’s also a fantastic activity for improving muscular endurance, and your overall mental health, helping you to release those feel-good endorphins.

After a bit of practice it could even become part of your daily routine, getting you fit and ready to take on the day.

Lois Spencer-Tracey, a blogger from Essex, has incorporated stair climbing into her home workouts over lockdown, saying: “I started to introduce stairs into my workout routine to improve my breathing, as since having long covid I always get breathless when going up stairs. I'm a runner and have done three marathons since 2018 but it's good to try climbing stairs as a workout because it’s a very different exercise. As a result, I have found my breathlessness has really improved.”

One of the best things about using stairs for exercise is that it’s free, and can be done for as short or long a period as you like. If you want to track your progress and see how you improve over time, you could invest in a fitness tracker, as they’re great for keeping you motivated.

Kriti Spinoff from London, explains how she incorporates stair climbing cardio into her day-to-day routine:

“I make at least 45 minutes for wellness time each day - it consists of some workouts at home and a brisk walk outdoors, with walking up and down stairs for exercise as part of it, since I was going to go down to take my walk anyway. There are a total of 210 steps in my building so that's how many I do each day. It has improved my stamina - I realised this just recently when we went on a long, uphill walk, I didn't get any sore muscles afterwards!” 

Tower running events

If you really want to challenge yourself, why not try a tower running event, where you can combine a stairs workout with raising money for charity in the process?

That’s exactly what Chiara Cristoni from London did, when she completed the Eiffel Tower run in March, 2018:“It was very hard as I had never climbed more than 1,037 steps before, and this was 1,665 in one go. It was also very cold and windy all the way to the top, which added to the physical effort.

“To prepare for the event I trained on stairs in a tall London building (with Total Motion Tower runners) once a week plus gym sessions (mainly strength and conditioning) 2-3 times a week. I would recommend training on stairs - where possible - in preparation for a tower running event as it really helps.

Racing up the steps of a fully lit up Iron Lady at night was the most amazing thing I have ever done! Even though you are completely out of breath and focused mainly on making your way up fast, you can still catch views of the Paris lights underneath you… breathtaking.

Galen Alden from Warwick took part in the Willis Tower climb, in Chicago in 2019 – a climb of approximately 2,150 steps or 105 floors. He said: “The event was incredible and inspirational.  I work for a US medical device company who are one of the event sponsors and enter a team every year, raising thousands of dollars in the process. While I wanted to achieve a good time, the inspirational part was seeing firefighters complete the climb in full gear (including breathing apparatus) and many disabled people taking part.

It goes to show that with a bit of practice and training, many can get fit climbing stairs, whether that’s at home, using a stair master in a gym, or in a competitive event.

Staying fit and healthy at home

Our latest research highlights the multitude of ways in which we can get fit or stay active in everyday situations at home. The NHS website lists numerous ways in which this can be done and includes stair climbing which is a safe, low-impact exercise that requires no equipment.

Other easy ways of working out according to the NHS include walking everywhere, doing the couch to 5k, cycling, park games, home exercises and skipping.

As our study shows, a stairs workout can be a fantastic way to keep fit and healthy, improve your stamina and boost your mood, so why not give it a go today? And if you want to get a picture of your overall health, along with tips and advice towards making improvements, try our free online health check now.