A sedentary lifestyle has been earmarked as one of the main contributors to poor health. Discover how something as simple as taking the stairs can result in you living a more active, fitter life.
Take the stairs, take the stairs. People are using the elevator and moving up standing in a stationary position and then going back to work and sitting at their desks all day becoming even more sedentary, but are you?
You’d be surprised by what taking the stairs does for you. How it can be a cure to nearly all sedentary behaviour. How it can rejuvenate your love of being active and doing things rather than sitting around all day and then going home, back to more laziness sat on the couch watching television until you’re finally ready to go sleep. Wake up, rinse and repeat.
Taking the stairs also positively impacts your mental health. Not only has regular exercise been linked to mental health, but while you’re walking up those flights and flights you can challenge yourself in small ways that keep your brain occupied. Whether you decide that today you’ll do two at a time or, depending on your fitness level and how many flights there are, you challenge yourself to only hold onto the rail once or twice, you’ll find that it will also become a game as well as a means to get “free cardio”.
Studies have shown that any and all physical activity is an integral component in the body's energy balance. The benefits of physical activity extend well beyond achievement and/or maintenance of a healthy weight. In fact, a thorough review of the scientific literature by the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee has shown that regular physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of many conditions that impact physical and mental well-being, including coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, colon cancer, breast cancer, and depression.
To reap the full benefits, you’ll need to up the intensity a little, even if that means going for a daily walk around the block for 20 minutes or taking up running and swimming, but the stairs are a good way to start getting into the rhythm of being active and refusing to be lazy and taking the easy way out.
Better Health explains how everyone should aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day and that people should see everyday activities as a good opportunity to be active. Namely, taking the stairs! With our lives how they are at the moment, there are so many more opportunities to be sedentary rather than active and although it may be more comfortable to do nothing, you aren’t doing your future self any good.
Making small changes, such as climbing stairs rather than walking up them, by The Harvard Alumni Study, one of the biggest scientific studies to date, found that men who climbed an average of eight or more flights of stairs a day had a 33% lower mortality rate than men who were sedentary. That’s considerably better than the 22% lower death rate observed in men who walked 1.3 miles a day.
You’ll soon find that making incremental changes will make you more active in general. You’ll feel happy to be up and active; sitting less at your desk and taking walks, relishing the opportunity to clean your house, dancing when you’re out (this is obviously setting-dependent) and taking your animals for a walk.
For many of us, it isn’t only about losing weight to look like cover models or getting big and muscular. If that’s you, then more power to you. What it’s truly about is creating a lifestyle where you are more active, comfortable in your skin, and feeling happier about yourself because you’re healthier.
Drop kick that sedentary lifestyle into oblivion and choose the stairs next time.