Posted on Sep 29, 2023, 5 p.m.
Pedometers are becoming popular as people are more interested in tracking their steps in their journey to improved health. Recent research from Tulane University suggests that using the stairs more should also be part of that journey. Findings published in Atherosclerosis revealed that taking at least 50 steps up the stairs every day could help significantly decrease your risk of heart disease.
Worldwide atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), coronary artery disease, and stroke are among the leading causes of death. According to the research, you could decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease by 20% by simply climbing five flights of stairs every day.
“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,” said study corresponding author Dr. Lu Qi, HCA Regents Distinguished Chair and professor at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. “These findings highlight the potential advantages of stair climbing as a primary preventive measure for ASCVD in the general population.”
For this study data from over 450,000 adults who were enrolled in the UK Biobank was analyzed to calculate susceptibility to cardiovascular disease (CVD) based on family history, genetic risk factors, and other established risk factors like smoking history and high blood pressure. Additionally, the participants surveyed about their lifestyle habits including the frequency of stair-climbing, and the median follow-up was 12.5 years.
The researchers report that climbing more stairs every day was found to especially lower the risk of CVD in those who were less susceptible, and the increased risk of heart disease in those more susceptible could be effectively offset by climbing stairs every day. Additionally, those who stopped climbing the stairs every day were found to have a 32% higher risk of CVD compared to those who never climbed stairs.
Based on their findings the researchers concluded that given the availability of public stairs, climbing the stairs is a low-cost accessible way to incorporate exercise into daily routines. They also said that this study provides novel evidence for the protective effects of stair climbing on the risk of ASCVD, in particular for those with multiple risk factors.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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