Is Running Up Stairs the Best Exercise?

Running up stairs is one of the fastest ways to burn calories.

Running up stairs is one of the fastest ways to burn calories.

Labeling any given exercise as "the best" is as difficult as picking your favorite child. As is the case with children, each exercise has a list of strengths and weaknesses and while you might prefer one on a given day, it's difficult to legitimately choose one over another. Regardless of how you wish to label it, running up stairs is a fat-shredding workout that will give you chiseled muscles.

Running Up Stairs

Whether you zip up the stairs instead of taking the elevator to get to your high-rise condo or routinely visit an empty sports stadium to repeatedly run up and down the bleacher stairs, this workout is one that will help you get results quickly. It's an intense aerobic workout that targets major muscle groups throughout your body, especially if you pump your arms vigorously as you run. It creates a significant burn in your lower body and drastically helps you build your quads and calves.

Calories Burned

When selecting an exercise that will help you burn as many calories as possible in a short period of time, running up stairs deserves consideration as one of the best such exercises. According to NutriStrategy, a 130-pound person who runs up a set of stairs for 60 minutes will burn 885 calories, which burns more calories than virtually every type of exercise except for running for an hour at more than 10 miles per hour.

High Intensity Interval Training

Many people include running up stairs in their high intensity interval training, or HIIT, which is a type of exercise that helps people burn calories and build their muscles in a relatively short period of time. Other HIIT benefits, according to "Shape" magazine, include improved heart health, no need for equipment, a boost to your metabolism and the ability to complete your daily workout in just 15 minutes. While picking the single best exercise is next to impossible, a 2011 "New York Times" article suggested that because of its ability to combine interval training with a power workout, running up stairs is one of the best workouts you can adopt.

Workout Tips

If you're short on time and don't have 30 to 60 minutes to devote to a jog, consider running up stairs. In just a few minutes, you'll feel the burn that a long jog creates. Look for outdoor stairs, such as those in a stadium or park, and after stretching your muscles, sprint up the stairs as fast as you're able. Instead of running back down, jog down in about twice the time it took you to ascend the stairs; doing so allows your body to recover for your next climb. If possible, try to spend 20 minutes performing this exercise.

 

About the Author

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.

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