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Exercise Awareness Behavior Cardio-Vascular

Climb Stairs To Extend Both Health And Lifespan

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Posted on Apr 26, 2024, 5 p.m.

Modern advances in technology, specifically those for convenience, have brought about the creation of elevators and escalators, but these inventions aren’t necessarily doing any favors for your health and longevity. Taking the elevator or escalator may be shortening your life, according to this study. Meanwhile walking and climbing stairs has been associated with better health and a longer life. This study presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s Preventive Cardiology Sessions 2024 adds to that evidence, finding that climbing stairs is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and a reduced risk of all-cause mortality.

“If you have the choice of taking the stairs or the lift, go for the stairs as it will help your heart,” said study author Dr. Sophie Paddock of the University of East Anglia and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Foundation Trust, Norwich, UK. “Even brief bursts of physical activity have beneficial health impacts, and short bouts of stair climbing should be an achievable target to integrate into daily routines.”

Over 1 in 4 adults around the world are not getting the recommended levels of physical activity, which is more than apparent if you take into account the prevalence of obesity.  The excessive accumulation of adipose tissue (fat) in the myocardium leads to structural and functional alteration, the numerous hormones secreted by adipose tissue create proinflammatory and prothrombotic states, predisposing one to coronary heart disease, heart failure, and sudden death. Obesity has been associated with hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, or insulin resistance, and elevated levels of fibrinogen and C-reactive protein, all of which increase the risk of CVD events. In addition to CVD, obesity has been shown to increase the risk of high blood pressure (HBP).

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in America, despite the fact that it is largely preventable via lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise/physical activity. Walking is perhaps the most accessible and easy form of exercise. Climbing stairs is another practical and easily accessible form of exercise that is most often overlooked in lieu of easier alternatives such as elevators and escalators. This study investigated whether climbing the stairs could help to reduce the risks of premature death and CVD.

The CDC recommends that most adults should be getting 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week, this could translate into about 30 minutes of brisk walking for 5 days a week. Additionally, the CDC also recommends including two days of muscle-strengthening exercises that engage all the major muscle groups, this could translate to swimming, lifting weights, working with resistance bands, cycling, rollerskating, dancing, push-ups, sit-ups, squats, burpees, heavy gardening, such as digging and shoveling, yoga, Tai Chi, and climbing stairs. 

For this study, the researchers conducted a meta-analysis of the best available evidence including studies regardless of the number of flights of stairs or the speed of stair climbing. The final analysis involved nine studies totaling 480,479 participants between the ages of 35 to 84 years old who were healthy or had a previous history of heart attack or peripheral arterial disease. 

The analysis revealed that compared with not climbing the stairs, electing to take the stairs was associated with a 24% reduced risk of dying from any cause and a 39% lower likelihood of dying from cardiovascular disease. Additionally, taking the stairs was linked with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, including stroke, heart failure, and heart attack. 

“Based on these results, we would encourage people to incorporate stair climbing into their day-to-day lives. Our study suggested that the more stairs climbed, the greater the benefits – but this needs to be confirmed. So, whether at work, home, or elsewhere, take the stairs,” said Paddock. 

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. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

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References/Sources/Materials provided by:

T.W. at WHN

The abstract ‘Evaluating the cardiovascular benefits of stair climbing: a systematic review and meta-analysis’ will be presented during the session ‘Optimal exercise modalities for primary and secondary prevention’ which took place on 26 April 2024 at 15:15 EEST at Moderated ePosters 

Timmis A, Vardas P, Townsend N, et al. European Society of Cardiology: cardiovascular disease statistics 2021. Eur Heart J. 2022;43:716–799.

World Health Organization: Physical activity.

Relative risk 0.76, 95% confidence interval 0.62-0.94, p=0.01.

Relative risk 0.61, 95% confidence interval 0.48–0.79, p=0.0002.,heart%20failure%2C%20and%20sudden%20death.,the%20risk%20of%20CVD%20events.&text=In%20addition%20to%20CVD%2C%20obesity,high%20blood%20pressure%20(HBP).

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