If you've pursued such workouts as jogging and cycling to burn fat and lose weight, you've likely seen some results. But you're not giving your body one of the best workouts out there until you try running up a set of stairs for several minutes at a time. People ranging from those looking to lose significant weight to professional athletes trying to tone up use this exercise for its many perks.
Running up a set of stairs is one of the best calorie-burning exercises you can find, which makes it help you burn fat quicker than most other types of cardio workouts. In an hour of running stairs, a 155-pound person will burn more than 1,000 calories, putting this workout on par with very few others. It's unlikely that you'll be able to run for an hour straight, but 500 calories burned in 30 minutes in an exceptional fat burner.
Many athletes favor stair running because of how convenient it is. It doesn't require any equipment, nor do you need to buy a gym membership. Find a set of stairs, lace up a pair of running shoes, and you'll be burning fat in minutes. Stair running can also be a low-impact exercise if you descend carefully, remembering to use your knees and glutes to cushion yourself.
In addition to helping you burn fat at a rate that few other workouts can match, running up stairs helps you build and tone your muscles. Expect to see significant developments in your calves, thighs, glutes and core. Remember to pump your arms as you climb to help provide a workout for your upper body. For more of a challenge, consider wearing wrist weights or a weighted vest to create more resistance during the workout.
When selecting a set of stairs to run, look for stairs that are long and straight; those in the bleachers at a football stadium are ideal. Straight stairs allow you to accelerate as you ascend, and at a football stadium, you can walk or jog between sets of stairs to give yourself a chance to catch your breath between climbs. If a stadium isn't accessible to you, look for stairs at a park, near an overpass or descending to a pier.
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.