REGULAR readers of my blog will know how strongly I feel about regular exercise and the importance it plays in both mental as well as physical health. In fact my very first blog talked about my daily visits to the gym to stay in shape.
I had a meeting this week where I was updated on obesity in the borough and easy ways to tackle it. An obvious change most people can make is to use stairs instead of lifts.
Let’s face it, a majority of us would easily choose to take a lift over the stairs any day. Lifts are obviously more convenient and faster, but taking the stairs can have a significant impact on your overall health. What may seem like menial exercise can deliver benefits that can last years. Plus, it’s an easy exercise to build into our daily lives.
Here are a few statistics which should help convince you to take the stairs and ditch the lift if you are able to:
- Climbing just 8 flights of stairs a day lowers average early mortality risk by 33%.
- 7 minutes stair climbing a day can halve the risk of heart attack over 10 years.
- Just 2 minutes extra stair climbing a day is enough to stop average middle age weight gain.
- Stair climbing delivers these benefits by improving our cardiovascular fitness. It's officially classed as a 'vigorous' form exercise and burns more calories per minute than jogging.
- By raising your heart rate, stair climbing helps protect against high blood pressure, weight gain and clogged arteries. This lowers the risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, vascular dementia and even some cancers.
- Incidental physical activities like stair climbing are also associated with improved mental health. They cause our bodies to release endorphins, the so-called 'feel-good hormones'. They also provide time to think and reflect - key factors in managing everyday stress and tensions.
While most of us think of exercise as 'sport', the scientific evidence shows it is everyday activities like walking and stair climbing that are most closely associated with improved health. This is why stair climbing is recommended by doctors and health authorities worldwide.
But don’t take my word for it, challenge yourself to take the stairs for a week and notice the difference in the way your body feels!!