Not only can climbing stairs increase your metabolism, it can also add years to your life. Consistently climbing about 20 flights of steps a day can help you lose weight, decrease body fat, get a smaller waist, and improve your exercise capacity. Combined, these beneficial results can actually lead to a longer life. This means more time to spend with the ones you love, shop, go out to eat, and oh yes -- climb more stairs. Get the most out of your stair climbing workouts and push your metabolism into overdrive with just a few tweaks.
Basic Stair Climbing
You can climb stairs almost anywhere. Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work or instead of the escalator at the mall. Climb the steps at the movie theater and sit in the back row. Go to a local high school football stadium to climb stairs, or climb your own stair case and never leave home. Even basic stair climbing boosts your metabolism and helps you burn more calories throughout the day. Aim for a total of 30 minutes of stair climbing a day, three days a week. Break this up throughout the day at first until you are strong enough to ascend and descend for 30 consecutive minutes.
Interval Stair Climbing
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When basic stair climbing seems like a piece of cake, crank up your intensity and incorporate interval training on the stairs. Run up a flight of steps and then slowly walk back down before charging up again. Use a stair climbing machine at the gym and rev up the intensity every other minute. The key is to continually alternate between periods of intense stair climbing and rest to really increase your metabolism.
Rest for Your Rigor
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Basic stair climbing, intervals and exercise in general can be tough if you are not fully rested. Insufficient sleep causes you to perform less efficiently. It also increases your appetite and cravings. Because bedtime is crucial to a speedy metabolism, try to get eight hours of sleep each night. Because metabolism naturally decreases when you sleep, you may also want to consider about 20 to 30 minutes of light exercise before you tuck in at night. This will keep your metabolism moving while you're counting sheep.
Mix It Up
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A woman's metabolism is not as fast as a man's. In large part, this is because women naturally have more body fat that men. Speed up your metabolism by sprinkling a couple weightlifting sessions into your stair climbing training. Climb stairs three or more days each week and lift weights two or more days each. This will help you gain more muscle, burn more calories, and move your metabolism to new heights -- by way of stairs, of course.
Mary Marcia Brown has worked in the health and fitness industry for more than 15 years. A writer and runner with road race directorship experience, Brown has been published in "Running Journal," "Florida Running & Triathlon" and "Outreach NC."